"This is really important to be here," Lewan said. "I'm here to give back and help out my teammate."
The Washington Post just reviewed the widely reported study of a think tank (AEI), which dismantled the NFL's Wells report. AEI showed that the Pats balls were not abnormally deflated. That had already noted by many reputable scientists. What’s new about the Washington Post’s take, however, is that it comes out and says what many of us who've read the AEI report were too polite to say. The Post provides a scathing—almost directly accusatory-- rebuke of the Wells reports' analysts and of the NFL itself.
Why? When AEI reanalyzed the data, “The math in the Wells report didn’t add up….the results could not be replicated.... What’s worse, is the methods it used were not the ones it said it used. “The Wells report said it would use one equation, but then used a different (and weird) equation to arrive at its numbers (see my summary of the details below).*
It’s a standard principle in science: If you can’t replicate a set of results, then …a flaw or a fraud is at work. Either you made a mistake, or you made it up. Another plain English phrase possibly applies to all of this:
….”Lately the NFL has begun turning these special counsel investigations into manipulated campaigns calculated to enhance the commissioner’s profile and powers.
And they seem to be written to fit predetermined conclusions.”
(a not surprising fact given that the analysts it paid had previously written reports to help industries dispute links between cancer and 3 known causes of it: asbestos, toxic waste and cigarette smoke.)
According to the Washington Post, The AEI’s re-analysis of the Wells report supports the NFL Players Association’s charge that the Wells report “delivered exactly what the client wanted. It ….wasn’t an investigation; it was a frame job by the commissioner’s office desperate to reestablish its authority.”
“Twice now Goodell has ginned up false scandals that seriously and unfairly targeted individual players, and damaged franchises, on what turned out to be bogus or flawed evidence. Forget his bungled handling of Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice — at least those guys actually did something wrong. In the Deflategate and Bountygate affairs, Goodell hammered people who appear to have done nothing.” (even if they were apparently paid to do it in Bountygate)
Recall that the NFL also enabled Brady and the Pats to be convicted in the court of public opinion through daily leaks of false information about ball pressures, switched kicking balls, trips the john, and other incidents. Meanwhile, it withheld for over a month the true data, which could refute not only the data inaccuracies but also the faulty analyses)
The Post continues: “The AEI’s entry into Deflategate is important, because the institute was a major factor in righting the Goodell-driven injustice in Bountygate back in 2012. The Commissioner went all hanging judge on the New Orleans Saints, suspending several officials and players for a supposed bonuses system to injure opponents between 2009-2011. But then AEI analyzed injury data — something that surely the commissioner should have done. The AEI found that the Saints injured fewer opposing players than all but two teams in 2009 and all but one from 2009-11. After AEI’s report was presented at an NFL hearing, the suspensions were vacated……
Goodell is now in a truly interesting and awkward position. …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? Does he try to parse and sidestep the AEI analysis, by claiming that the scientific evidence is just a small part of the case against Brady? Trouble with that is, more than half of the Wells report’s 243 pages is taken up by pressure gauges and pounds-per-square-inch analysis – all of which must be thrown out according to AEI. If the balls weren’t deflated, then what’s left? One e-mail exchange, in which Brady complained that some game balls against the New York Jets were ludicrously overinflated. Is this evidence of ill intent? Hardly. Brady’s solution to the over-inflation was to suggest the refs check the rulebook. Not the act of a cheater.
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? There is trouble for Goodell in this option too, because it suggests that the league office under Goodell’s leadership is either incapable of executing a proper investigation, or unwilling to….Brady may or may not win his appeal. But there is one sure loser here, trapped in a box of his own making: the commissioner.”
*you can read the AEI report link below. Among the Wells reports’ questionable practices:
1. it claimed to include a mean term in the statistical model (ANOVA) as well as a second error term and other interaction effects, But it actually did not use this model to obtain the reported results.
2. The authors also give the impression of running a regression using all the data but instead used a series of individual regressions.
3. They falsely claim that substituting different pressure gauges’ results in the analysis yielded the same results.
4. The halftime measures suggest the two referees switched gauges between testing the Pats and Colts balls, and this is not noted in the report. (the two gauges different by as much a 0.7 PSI, about half the degree of deflation claimed).
5. In their statistical analysis, the Wells study only compared the pressure changes in the Pats balls with the Colts balls, not with the expected pressure changes based on atmospherics. This not only invalidated the statistical assumptions (since similar changes from pregame to halftime measures will occur due to atmospheric conditions, leading to correlated error terms in an incompletely specified model). Beyond merely changing confidence in the statistical significance of results, however, it also made the results completely misleading. To show this, AEI does a separate and study of atmospherics (the relation of the ball’s pressure to temperature and other factors). When the latter are analyzed, the Patriots balls do not significantly deviate from the prediction of the Ideal Gas Law in the direction that one would expect based on the Wells report’s conclusions. By contrast, the Colts halftime pressures were higher than predicted, implying less deflation occurred than actually should have been the case. That was because the balls were given more time to warm up and were not measured until just before the halftime ended.
The AEI’s analysis of this point is incredibly detailed--even to the point of analyzing sequential pressure changes in the measures of the Pats, then the Colts’ balls. It thereby shows how the pressure changes could be explained by the order of measurement of the Pats and Colts balls. It is not consistent with the NFL’s allegations that the Pats deflated the balls. .
ADDENDUM: Summary of the appeal letter sent to the NFL (with expected arguments)
1. Brady was not proven guilty.
The accusation disregards contrary evidence. It’s based on speculation piled upon speculation about Brady’s involvement with two Pats’ employees’ purported conduct. It grasps at dubious, contradictory and mischaracterized circumstantial evidence merely to conclude that it is “more probable than not” that Mr. Brady was “generally aware of” “inappropriate activities.”
(Also, the balls were not abnormally deflated in the first place).
2. Brady's punishment is unfair and inconsistent.
The NFL stipulates a $25,000 fine for a team, not for a player. Yet, Brady suspension would cost him nearly $2,000,000 in unpaid salary for an alleged “general awareness” of actions
(not to mention endorsements lost already from the NFL’s defamatory and inaccurate media leaks, a million dollar Pats’ fine, the loss of 2 draft picks worth more millions, and the consequent threat to the future success of Brady’s teams).
Even if there were one iota of definitive proof of deflation and guilt, no player in the NFL’s history has ever gotten anything approaching this level of investigation or discipline for similar behavior.
(Brady’s initial suspension far exceeds that of Adrian Peterson for child abuse or Ray Rice for knocking his wife unconscious and dragging her out of an elevator by her hair. Also, 2 teams escaped any punishment at all after definite proof that they overinflated kicking footballs).
Never before in history had the NFL even tested football pressure at half time, let alone conducted a sting operation on other players for similar behavior.
(A former Bears QB admitted deflating balls. Colts’ sideline employees were never investigated despite the suspicious actions they accuse the Pats of. Reportedly, they carried under their sleeves the pins that could be used to deflate balls illegally. Other Pats critics like Jerry Rice were never investigated or penalized despite admitting that he applied stickum to his gloves to make it easier to achieve a completion. That’s a clearer advantage for Joe Montana than Brady).
3. Goodel should not arbitrate this case and the Exec VP Vincent should not have determined discipline in the first place.
An independent arbiter is needed due to NFL bias Only Goodel—not Vincent—is supposed to determine discipline. (Such delegation is a ruse to let him control the investigation and avoid embarassment). In fact, a previous independent arbitrator said Troy Vincent was unfamiliar with proper disciplinary procedure and should have no role in it. Also, Vincent cannot be unbiased as he was directly involved in game day events. As such, he must testify about his own involvement in such events. Goodel must too.
(The implicit accusation is that the NFL and Indy set up a “sting operation” to implicate Brady and the Pats. Who was the driving force behind the investigation? Mike Kensil, whose father was the Jets president and who himself worked 20 years for this team—one that has had longstanding legal disputes with the Pats. Kensil reportedly walked up to the Pats equipment manager at halftime and said, “We weighed the balls. You are in big f—ing trouble.” The NFLPA believes this statement not only showed prejudgment but also that Kensil took joy in trying to catch the Pats in the act. To make matters worse, Kensil destroyed the alleged “evidence.” Kensil inspected the footballs at halftime and instead of preserving them as evidence had them reinflated. As such, it was not possible to judge the pressure of all Pats and Colts balls together under the same atmospheric conditions. Remember that the AEI report found that such conditions fully explained the pressure differences).
Also, both Goodel and Vincent must both testify about when they became aware of the Colts’ complaints about ball deflation and what decisions and steps were thereafter taken. Specifically, the NFL had claimed it did not suspect deflation until a ball was intercepted in the game’s 2nd quarter. But there is now written evidence that Indy informed the NFL of their concerns a day earlier. If the Colts had notified the league that the Patriots were breaking the rules, the league is supposed to notify the Patriots about the complaint.
Also, since we now know that league officials were alerted before the game, they must explain why the exact PSI of each ball wasn’t recorded by NFL officials before the game.
(Apparently, the refs were not told of the concern of league officials prior to the game so that an improper sting operation could proceed. The NFL officials’ sting operation proceeded even though refs could have prevented this crucial game from being played with presumably underinflated balls).
The NFL is biased and lacks credibility in this case. Goodel, Vincent, and other NFL officials are themselves suspected of improper behavior. So, Goodel must explain why a neutral party with no ties to the League should not be appointed for Brady to maintain the integrity of the investigation. Goodel previously concluded that one was needed to hear Ray Rice’s case for that
4. In a footnote, the NFLPA letter also says that Brady did not knowingly violate rules or fail to cooperate with the investigation.
(But would any celebrity hand over their cell phones and emails to a biased organization that previously defamed his character through unauthorized and inaccurate news leaks?).
5. If the NFL does not appoint an independent party, the Brady and the NFLPA will sue the NFL.
In-state recruiting doesn’t matter very much. Traverse City, Toledo, Tampa, or Timbuktu - it’s all (more or less) the same once they’re in Ann Arbor. A 4-star from Illinois is just as good as a 4-star from Michigan. John Beilein doesn't care about that imaginary line and neither should our football coach. But locals care about 'turf' and it’s an interesting topic for message boards, radio, etc.
The following numbers reflect Michigan’s historical success at landing elite in-state prospects. Here “Elite” is defined by being ranked in the top 5 in-state (according to 247 composite rankings) AND getting a Michigan offer (per Rivals). Not perfect methodology (it skips guys like Mike Martin, Danny O’Brien, Onewu, and Falcon whose offer lists merit a better rank) and inherently favors Michigan by excluding guys it doesn't bother to offer (e.g., Kyonta Stallworth), but it’s a consistent approach over many years.
- 88% for Lloyd Carr: Lloyd landed almost everyone he wanted from 2002-2006 (15/17). Some lean in-state talent years, so overall numbers are low.
- 77% under 'normal' circumstances: Put on your Maize-colored glasses and scrub away the Rodriguez years, along with the shoulder year on each side (Carr’s I’m-trying-to-retire-here 2007 class and Hoke’s I-just-walked-here-anyone-got-a-jacket? 2011 class). Outside of these dark years, Michigan has landed nearly 4 out of 5 elite in-state prospects.
- 64% for Brady Hoke - Hoke got 9/14 between 2012 and 2014, even as the storm clouds started looming in 2014.
- 57% overall - Michigan’s overall historical success rate between 2002 and 2014. By my count Michigan landed 31 of the top 54 elite prospects that it offered.
- 33% (projected) for Harbaugh* - Our hero's estimated success rate across the 2015 and 2016 classes presumes Michigan gets 1 out of Kareem, Corley, or (flips) Hill. If you're an optimist they can get to 7/9 if Michigan has a great year and flips Hill and Hayes, lands Corley and Kareem, and/or Falcon or Onwenu bump up ahead of Jordan. That'd get Michigan back up to the where we'd like to see things.
- 31% for Rich Rodriguez - While Rodriguez was distracted by pursuits in Florida (actually mostly Ohio, but details...) he only managed to land only 4/13 from 2008-2010.
Perhaps this small sample size snapshot is contributing to some of the overall consternation about recent recruiting and rankings. Michigan fans have been taught to EXPECT getting/keeping 3 out of every 5 elite in-state prospects. MSU, USC, OSU, ND will steal a few, but the majority should stay 'home'. When Michigan's done worse than that (Rodriguez), it's coincided with bad results.
|Year||Success Rate||Hit||Miss||Not offered|
|2002||75%||Gabe Watson, Will Cooper, Carl Tabb||3||Drew Stanton (MSU)||1||Kyle Brown (MSU)|
|2003||80%||Lamar Woodley, Jim Presley, Jake Long, Jerome Jackson||4||Doug Van Dyke (Purdue)||1||None|
|2004||100%||Will Johnson, Alex Mitchell, Morgan Trent, Roger Allison||4||None||0||Justin Hostkins (ND)|
|2005||100%||Kevin Grady, Antonio Bass, Terrance Taylor||3||None||0||Evan Sharpley (ND), Ryan Allison (MSU)|
|2006||100%||Brandon Graham||1||None||0||Jeff Lindsay (Purdue), John Maddox (WVU), Pat Rigan (MSU), Anthoney Bowman (Iowa)|
|2007||20%||Ryan Van Bergen||1||Ronald Johnson (USC), Dionte Allen (FSU), Joe Barksdale (LSU), Darris Sawtelle (Tenn)||4||None|
|2008||40%||Dann O'Neill, Boubacar Cissoko||2||Nick Perry (USC), Jonas Gray (ND), Fred Smith (MSU)||3||None|
|2009||25%||Will Campbell||1||Edwin Baker (MSU), Larry Caper (MSU), Chris Norman (MSU)||3||James Jackson (OSU)|
|2010||25%||Devin Gardner||1||Will Gholson (MSU), Dior Mathis (OR), CJ Olaniyan (PSU)||3||Robert Bolden (PSU)|
|2011||40%||Justice Hayes, Brennen Bayer||2||DeAnthony Arnett (Tenn), Lawrence Thomas (MSU), Anthony Zettel (PSU)||3||None|
|2012||80%||Richardson, Ross, RJS, Norfleet||4||Aaron Burbridge (MSU)||1||None|
|2013||60%||Morris, Dawson, Lewis||3||Steve Elmer (ND), Jon Reschke (MSU)||2||None|
|2014||50%||Harris, Marshall||2||Malik McDowell (MSU), Damon Webb (OSU)||2||Byron Bullough (MSU)|
|2015||50%||Cole, Malzone||2||Mike Weber (OSU), Tyriq Thompson (MSU)||2||Kyonta Stallworth (MSU)|
We've been talking about Coach Harbaugh's recruiting at Stanford of players who were not highly ranked (see Brian's recent post on the front page), and some of us have been worrying about his recent addition of non-four/five stars to the 2016 class. We know where Stanford ended up under Coach Harbaugh, but I thought it would be helpful to see where his players started and then ended their college careers as individuals.
Below is each player recruited by Coach Harbaugh in 2007 and 2008 (he inherited some kids in 2007 from the prior staff). I focused on those years because they were the years in which Stanford was still mostly mining two and three-star talent. In fact, Andrew Luck was the only consensus four-star player Stanford landed in those two years.
The star rankings you see below are from 247. The numerical rankings are from 247 as well.
You'll notice that I described each player's NFL career (where applicable), and I did that because I think it's a valuable bit of data, not because I think it tells the whole story of a player's college career. I also noted the player's highest honor as far as being all-conference or all-American. I did not note whether or not a player was all-conference for, say, two seasons or one. I also did not note personal awards such as the Maxwell Award.
For those who don't want to read about each player, the summary of what I found is this: Despite only having one consensus four-star, Stanford's 2007 and 2008 classes produced five first-team all-Americans, eight first-team all Pac Ten players, two second-team all Pac Ten players, and four honorable mention all Pac Ten players (note that I counted Owen Marecic as both a first-team all Pac Ten player, an award he won as a FB, and an honorable mention all Pac Ten player, an award he won as an LB). That strikes me as somewhere between "remarkable" and "probably the result of wizardry."
The individual players recruiting rankings and careers results are below (apologies for the spacing issues):
RB Chike Amajoyi *** (0.8294 ) Part-time starter at LB and first-team all-conference special teams player (non-returner/non-kicker).
FB Owen Marecic **(0.7745) First-team all-conference at FB/honorable mention all-conference at ILB. 4th round draft pick.
TE Coby Fleener *** (0.8333) First-Team All-American at TE. Caught 96 passes for 1,543 yards in four seasons. 2nd round draft pick.
SDE Matthew Masifilo *** (0.8889 Honorable mention all-conference. Undrafted free agent who spent time on Tampa Bay’s roster.
QB Kellen Kiilsgaard *** (0.8833)(inherited from prior staff) Gave up football for baseball.
ILB Jonathan Frink *** (0.8778) Lost his career to persistent injuries. Still interested in the glavin and the…hey lady!
K David Green *** (0.8715)(inherited from prior staff) Won, lost, and won again the starting punting role, averaging 41.7 yards per punt his senior year.
WR Corey Gatewood ***(0.8558) Played WR and DB. Was on the Vikings roster very briefly as an undrafted free agent.
WR Doug Baldwin ** (0.7778) Second-team all-conference. Caught 96 passes in four years for 1,360 yards. Undrafted free agent currently plays for the Seahawks.
OT Brad Hallick *** (0.8463) Switched from OL to DL after an injury. Played very little. Has his own website. http://bradleyhallick.net/
WR Sean Wiser *** (0.8451)(inherited from prior staff) Switched to safety and had 60 tackles in 2008. He seems to have not played football anymore after that, but I can’t confirm that.
OT Tyler Mabry *** (0.8368)(inherited from prior staff) Seems to have been a career back-up.
QB L.D. Crow *** (0.8333)(inherited from prior staff) Transferred to UCF after not seeing game action in two seasons at Stanford.
OT George Halamandaris ***(0.8211)(inherited from prior staff) Appears to have been a career back-up.
RB Jeremy Stewart *** (0.8000) Rushed for a total of 920 yards in four seasons. Has been an NFL journeyman.
OG Matt Bentler ** (0.7889)(inherited from prior staff) Appears to have been a career back-up.
S Taylor Skaufel ** (0.7852) Recorded a total of 119 tackles in four years. Was a part-time starter.
SDE Thomas Keiser ** (0.7444) Honorable mention all-conference. Recorded a total of 31.5 TFL and 19.5 sacks in three seasons before declaring for the draft after his junior season. Has been an NFL journeyman and is now on an Arena League roster.
ILB Max Bergen ** (.7444) Appears to have been a career back-up.
QB Andrew Luck **** (0.9768) You know the story.
OC David DeCastro *** (0.8847) Switched to guard. Unanimous All-American. First round draft pick.
WR Christopher Owusu *** (0.8708) First-team all-conference as kickoff returner. Caught 102 passes for 1,534 yards in four years. Returned three kickoffs for TDs. Briefly in the NFL.
OLB Chase Thomas *** (0.8641) All-American (first-team by default – The Sporting News didn’t name a second team). Recorded 50.5 TFLs and 27.5 sacks in four seasons. NFL journeyman.
OT Jonathan Martin *** (0.8620) First-Team All-American. Second round draft pick.
OLB Fred Craig *** (0.8620) Transferred to Penn after one season at Stanford.
ATH Michael Thomas *** (0.8484) Became an honorable mention all-conference DB. Currently a Dolphin after being signed as an undrafted free agent.
ATH Harold Bernard *** (0.8451) Apparently a career back-up at DB.
CB Quinn Evans *** (0.8315) Transferred to Northwestern after two seasons as a back-up at Stanford.
OG Sam Schwartzstein *** (0.8273) Second-team all-conference. Briefly in the NFL.
DT Padric Scott *** (0.8093) Transferred to Florida A&M. Briefly in the NFL. Now in the CFL.
CB Marcus Turner *** (0.8042) Transferred to the Univ. of San Diego.
OLB Alex Debniak ** (0.7556) Recorded 56 tackles in four seasons.
K Daniel Zychlinski ** (0.7333) Started at punter his senior season with a 43.1 yards per punt average.
CB Johnson Bademosi ** (0.7333) Started at CB his senior year. Recorded 122 tackles total and 16 total passes defensed in four seasons.
WR Griff Whalen - no stars and no numerical ranking (he was apparently preferred a walk-on ) – Caught 80 passes for 1,058 yards in four seasons.
RB Delano Howell *** (0.8877) Began his career at RB and played there a bit before becoming a first-team all-conference safety. Briefly in the NFL.
Three-star h.s. player and college All-American Jonathan Martin
The 2015 MLB Draft will be held Monday (rounds 1 & 2), Tuesday (3-10), and Wednesday (11-40). Here's a preview from a Michigan perspective, covering both current players and members of the 2015 recruiting class.
Three of Michigan's top juniors—Jacob Cronenworth, Evan Hill, and Travis Maezes—are expected to be drafted. On his appearance last week on WTKA, Wolverine head coach Erik Bakich said that it's looking like Cronenworth and Maezes will be drafted on day 2 and Hill on day 3, and he's anticipating that all three will sign. Baseball America's top 500 for the draft has Cronenworth at #194, Maezes at #376, and Hill at #381. The only senior that Bakich mentioned as a possible draftee was Jackson Glines. He might go late on day 2 or on day 3. (Note on Cronenworth, a two-way player at Michigan: he's likely to be drafted as a pitcher.)
With the first two recruiting classes he put together at Michigan, Bakich had the fortune to not lose any of his recruits to the draft. This year, two players in particular have been garnering draft buzz. First, here are the 11 Michigan signees or commits that I'm aware of.
Jack Bredeson — 6-6 RHP/3B, Arrowhead HS (Hartland, WI)
Andrew David — 5-10 SS/2B, Massillon Washington HS (OH)
Charlie Donovan — 5-11 SS/2B, Westmont HS (IL)
Jonathan Engelmann — 6-4 OF, Burlingame HS (CA)
George Hewitt — 6-3 3B/MIF, Salisbury School (CT); hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Ricky Karcher — 6-4 RHP, Saline HS (MI)
Ben Keizer — 6-2 LHP, Portage Northern HS (MI)
Troy Miller — 6-3 RHP, Soquel HS (CA)
Joe Pace — 6-0 OF/2B, Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA)
Ako Thomas — 5-9 2B/SS, Mount Carmel HS (Chicago, IL)
Will Tribucher — 6-2 LHP, San Clemente HS (CA)
Note that Bakich said last week on WTKA that the class actually includes 13 players—5 pitchers and 8 fielders—so there are 2 I'm unaware of. It's clear that the California pipeline continues to be tapped, and in fact Bakich said that 5 of the 13 are from that state. (It wouldn't be surprising if the missing California commit is a juco, following in the footsteps of Glines and Cody Bruder.)
Back to the draft: Jonathan Engelmann seems to be the member of the class most likely to be drafted and sign with an MLB club. Baseball America has him at #253. He also appears in MLB's Draft Tracker, with this comment:
A former infielder who outgrew the dirt and moved to a corner outfield spot, Engelmann is a strong athletic high school hitter with some tools you can dream on. The University of Michigan commit is still growing and getting stronger, learning to use his 6-foot-4 frame to its fullest potential. An aggressive hitter at the plate, there is still work to be done on Engelmann's mechanics and timing. But he is able to make loud contact and there is plenty of raw power for the right-handed hitter to tap into. Engelmann is an average runner with enough arm to be an athletic right fielder in the future, though he might play center field should he go on to play for the Wolverines. Engelmann is very much potential over performance right now, but his high upside is bound to draw interest.
Charlie Donovan is the other one with significant draft buzz, coming in at #405 on Perfect Game's draft ranking. Prep Baseball Report (see under "Comments"), which has him ranked #16 in the 2015 class in their overall rankings (covering about two dozen states), is more bullish on him, calling him (see under "Comments") a "top three–round talent" and that he's a "likely early round pick in next month’s MLB Draft, signability put aside." According to Big Ten blogger Chris Webb, Donovan recently worked out for the White Sox, but Webb thinks Donovan will end up at Michigan.
Troy Miller is another one to keep an eye on. He's listed in the MLB Draft Tracker, although less prominently than Engelmann and Donovan. Overall, it should be an interesting few days of draft watching.
Said this post was coming yesterday just put this season and this team into perspective.
Here are the records that were set this season-
Lauren Sweet was also the first Michigan player to ever hit a grand slam in a World Series game when she did so in the WCWS First Round against Alabama.
Earlier today, the team was greeted by fans at Alumni Field as they arrived home.