Deflategate: Wells Report's stats are faulty...

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Keeping in mind that the only thing the American Enterprise Institute's report deals with is the statistical evidence, and not the evidence of texts and e-mails exchanged among the New England Patriot's employees, it does appear the best explanation for the difference in ball pressure between the footballs of the Pats and Colts as it was measured by the officials at halftime is not cheating, but the temperature of the room the balls were kept in and the timing differential between the measurements of the balls of each of the two teams. AEI's Hassett, Sullivan, and Veuger summarize their analysis...

The evidence we present points to a simple—and innocent—explanation for the change in pressure;in the Patriots footballs. The Patriots balls were measured at the start of halftime, whereas the Colts balls were measured at the end of halftime, after sufficient time had passed for the balls to warm up and return to their pregame pressure. There is no need to consider the alternative hypothesis—that the Colts illegally inflated their footballs—because a simple physical explanation is available.

The fact that the average pressure of the Colts balls was significantly above the prediction of the Ideal Gas Law, while that of the Patriots balls was not, is inconsistent with the findings of the Wells report. Our conclusion that the warming of the balls during halftime is the key factor overlooked in the Wells report is supported by the observation that the readings of the intercepted Patriots football, measured separately from the other Patriots balls, came in almost precisely at the prediction of the law. Under the hypothesis asserted by the Wells report, the odds of this Patriots ball matching the Ideal Gas Law prediction were between 1 out of 3 and 1 out of 300. It is therefore unlikely that the Patriots deflated the footballs.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

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