The Corner

Deflating ‘Deflategate’

I borrowed that headline from a New York Times op-ed written by my AEI colleagues Kevin A. Hassett and Stan A. Veuger. From their op-ed:

Deflategate is a dispute about whether the New England Patriots used deliberately underinflated footballs in their playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts in January. […]

The N.F.L. commissioned a study, known as the Wells report, that concluded that it was “more probable than not” that Patriots personnel deliberately violated the rules and that Tom Brady, the Patriots quarterback, was aware of it. Following the release of the Wells report last month, the N.F.L. penalized the Patriots organization and suspended Mr. Brady for four games.

Our study, written with our colleague Joseph Sullivan, examines the evidence and methodology of the Wells report and concludes that it is deeply flawed.

Their recommendation?

When the N.F.L. hears Mr. Brady’s appeal of his suspension later this month, it should proceed with the knowledge that the Wells report is unreliable.

(Bold mine.)

Read their entire op-ed here, and you can find their full study here.

— Michael R. Strain is deputy director of economic policy studies and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. You can follow him on Twitter at

Most Popular


The 24 Democrats

Every presidential primary ends with one winner and a lot of losers. Some might argue that one or two once-little-known candidates who overperform low expectations get to enjoy a form of moral victory. (Ben Carson and Rick Perry might be happy how the 2016 cycle ended, with both taking roles in Trump’s cabinet. ... Read More