Sally Jenkins: AEI Analysis Suggests Deflategate Was A ‘Frame Job’
Don’t bother feeling bad for Roger Goodell, but the NFL commissioner is in an impossible situation as
Tom Brady’s four-game suspension appeal looms.
Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins, who has ripped the commissioner many times in the past,
detailed why any decision Goodell makes in the New England Patriots quarterback’s appeal will be the
This is especially apparent after the American Enterprise Institute analyzed the Wells Report and found it
“deeply flawed,” rejecting it’s findings that the Patriots’ footballs deflated at a higher rate than the
Goodell likely was hoping AEI’s report, which was released Friday afternoon, would be swept under the rug.
Unfortunately for Goodell, Jenkins read it and dug in.
“Does Goodell stand by the conclusions of the Wells Report, dig in and refuse to budge — thus establishing
that he’s incapable of fairly considering evidence and is a serial abuser of his powers?” Jenkins wrote
Wednesday. “… Or does Goodell do the right thing and rescind Brady’s suspension on the basis of the
new info in the AEI report — thus admitting that the league spent millions on a railroading farce?”
AEI found “The Wells Report’s statistical analysis cannot be replicated by performing the analysis as
described in the report.” Jenkins suggests Wells was “falsifying results” to “fit predetermined conclusions.”
Jenkins also believes AEI’s analysis “suggests that this wasn’t an investigation; it was a frame job by the
commissioner’s office desperate to reestablish its authority.” Goodell obviously could have avoided this mess
by not naming himself arbitrator in Brady’s appeal.
Then again, anyone else probably would have immediately seen the flaws in the Wells Report and decided
suspending Brady four games with lack of hard evidence of any wrongdoing was too harsh.
Former Jets QB Jeff Blake says he had footballs deflated every game
Is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a cheater? And if so, does he have a lot of company around the NFL?
Retired Pro Bowl quarterback Jeff Blake says that removing air from footballs was common when he played in the NFL
"I'm just going to let the cat of the bag, every team does it, every game, it has been since I played," the ex-Jets QB said
Wednesday in a radio interview on the "Midday 180" show on Nashville's 104.5 The Zone. "Cause when you take the balls
out of the bag, they are rock hard. And you can't feel the ball as well. It's too hard.
"Everybody puts the pin in and takes just enough air out of the ball that you can feel it a little better. But it's not the
point to where it's flat. So I don't know what the big deal is. It's not something that's not been done for 20 years."
Blake says that he'd order ball boys to let air out of his footballs just before the start of games during his entire NFL
career, which included time with the Jets (1992), Cincinnati Bengals (1994-99), New Orleans Saints (2000-01), Baltimore
Ravens (2002-03), Eagles (2004) and Chicago Bears (2005).
What was the process?
"Well, I would say (to a ball boy), 'Take a little bit of air out of it. It's a little bit hard,'" Blake said. "And then he'd take
a little bit out and I'd squeeze it and I'd be like, 'OK, it's perfect.' That's it."
Blake, who had his best seasons with the Bengals and represented them in the 1995 Pro Bowl, feels that this practice
was done by all quarterbacks when he plays, and he believes it never stopped.
"I guess it wasn't a big deal back then, but it is now," he said.