#DFG: Canceling the Noise

Is there any level of suspension that you would advise Tom to accept?


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PayrodsFirstClutchHit

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You know the NFL had multiple Dewey, Cheatum and Howe legal teams review the ever-living shit out of the message before it was released.  If they could have used the term "measured" versus "inspected" they would have in a NY minute.
 

Van Everyman

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So this is a little weird:

John Harbaugh lauds Bill Belichick as greatest coach

Chris Wesseling
Around the NFL Writer
Amid speculation that the Ravens tipped off the Colts as to the Patriots' alleged deflated-ball practices, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh paid homage to New England legend Bill Belichick on Friday.

Harbaugh told NFL Media's Omar Ruiz at the Pro Bowl that he "thinks the world" of Belichick, who is the best coach of this century.

"He's been a great mentor, a great friend. I have the utmost respect for him," Harbaugh said. "Bill Belichick is the greatest coach of our generation, without question. I don't think anybody would doubt that. Nothing is going to change that.

"He's the toughest guy we have to go against every single year game plan-wise and trying to beat his team. They have a great team, they're where they deserve to be, they're where they belong and I just consider him my friend."

Harbaugh's praise is similar to that he lavished upon Belichick in the lead-up to the AFC Championship Game three years ago.

The two coaches have been in the news lately because Harbaugh publicly complained about Belichick's "deceptive" substitutions with a four-man offensive line in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

This is a friendship with strong roots, though. Belichick called Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to recommend Harbaugh for the head-coaching job seven years ago.

Would Harbaugh put that relationship in jeopardy? It certainly doesn't sound like it.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast reacts to the Patriots' deflated footballs controversy and tells you whom to trust in Super Bowl XLIX. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.
 

Peak Oil Can Boyd

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pappymojo said:
This has been explained. 'Prior to the game...' actually means 'prior to any game...' in lawyer language. They are not saying they tested to the 12.5-13.5 standard before the Pats game. They are saying that they tested to the same standard that they test to for any game.
 
But this "this standard" is clearly a reference to the PSI condition, is it not?  I don't disagree the wording is vague and could be made crystal clear.  But if they were going this route, wouldn't they have just said, "The officials inspected the balls and were satisfied with their condition."
 

Carlos Cowart

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Interesting that the Pats volunteered all communications from all devices. I suspect they may be asking for the same from the Colts because this was a bag job from the beginning, due to Belichick and Brady's cavalier attitude about unwritten rules against the Ravens. They knew the Pats would break the letter of the law and planned to protest at half before the first snap.
 
The press conferences by B & B and the letter by Kraft show their strategy. That is, we're tired of taking public spankings because the NFL's money-making strategists have decided to permanently put the black hat on the Patriots to the delight of 31 other teams. Fuck you, we're not taking even a nominal fine for something many teams do. You want to fuck with us? Fine - then you're also going to have to fuck with America's sweetheart, Aaron Rodgers
 

staz

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As long as we're digging deep... anyone write press releases for a living? I'm about 10 years out of practice, but from what I remember, statements like this are always a lot tighter and written with great care. This is just rife with errors: poor structure, poor organization, undefined purpose.
 
(Second shortest paragraph: Facts to date) Our office has been conducting an investigation as to whether the footballs used in last Sunday’s AFC Championship Game complied with the specifications that are set forth in the playing rules. The investigation began based on (non-specific) information that suggested (weak word) that the game balls used by the New England Patriots were not properly inflated to levels required by the playing rules, specifically Playing Rule 2, Section 1, which requires that the ball be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch. Prior to the game, the game officials inspect the footballs to be used by each team and confirm that this standard is satisfied, which was done before last Sunday’s game. (footballs were inspected, but no mention of inspection result)
 
(Second longest paragraph: Credibility) The investigation is being led jointly by NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash (not Goodell) and Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss. Mr. Wells and his firm bring additional expertise and a valuable independent perspective. The investigation began promptly on Sunday night. (we took this serious from the beginning) Over the past several days, nearly 40 (not quite 40, but 40 sounds more impressive) interviews have been conducted, including of Patriots personnel, game officials, and third parties with relevant information and expertise. (players, coaches, not mentioned specifically) We have obtained and are continuing to obtain additional information, including video and other electronic information (headset comms?) and physical evidence (footballs, pumps and what else?). We have retained Renaissance Associates (more credibility), an investigatory firm with sophisticated forensic expertise (expertise!) to assist in reviewing electronic and video information.
 
(Longest paragraph: Placation) The playing rules are intended to protect the fairness and integrity of our games. We take seriously claims that those rules have been violated and will fully investigate this matter without compromise or delay. The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued expeditiously. In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence. (Bonus! A poorly-worded and haphazardly placed factoid...) While the evidence thus far (thus far: no judgement... door remains open for other evidence to support other conclusions) supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first half, the footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed at the conclusion (but not confirmed at the beginning of the game?) of the game to have remained properly inflated. (so at most, the game was only half tainted) The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance (now judging that balls were not in compliance) with the playing rules (now running with the 'evidence thus far,' the door to evidence supporting other conclusions seems shut) and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action. We have not made any judgments (except that the balls were not in compliance?) on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence.
 
(Path forward/ye shall cooperate paragraph) Upon being advised of the investigation, the Patriots promptly pledged their full cooperation and have made their personnel and other information available to us upon request. Our investigation will seek information from any and all relevant sources and we expect full cooperation from other clubs as well. As we develop more information and are in a position to reach conclusions, we will share them publicly.
 
--
 
So, in order of weighting, this statement was meant to (1) placate and (2) enhance credibility. Facts are secondary. Path forward is undefined. Summary: We need to put something out there now to calm everyone down and make it seem like we are in control, while providing as little fact as possible.
 
Edits: formatting
 

Harry Hooper

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Van Everyman said:
One of the other odd obfuscations in the NFL statement is:
 
The investigation began based on information that suggested that the game balls used by the New England Patriots were not properly inflated to levels required by the playing rules
 
Was this some anonymous tip? A member of the Colts? Why can't they actually say what triggered the investigation?
 
That could simply be a reference to the Colts in-game complaint on Sunday after the interception. The NFL is not interested is specifying beyond "officials were made/became aware"* why the balls were pulled from the game and subsequently re-inflated.
 
Edit: *not a direct quotation, but a flavor of it
 

fiskful of dollars

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So balls were presented a bit light and stayed light until halftime. Then they were tested, found to be under inflated, re-inflated to specs and stayed within specs throughout game.
 
Sound reasonable? Same scenario as Rodgers.
 

Kull

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Ed Hillel said:
Volin: @BenVolin: NFL clarifies that the officials re-inflated the original footballs at halftime, and that they didn’t use the backup balls

Should be easy enough to measure the backup balls now, one would think. If the backups are also under, that would answer it. Unless they were stupid enough not to confiscate those.
 
This becomes very interesting:
 
1) There IS a control group of footballs. Footballs supplied by the Patriots, and not subjected to game wear and tear.
 
2) Can we tell if they were tested? According to the Peter King video, the balls arrive in a sealed bag. You can see the seal being cut at the 5 second mark. If the seal is present, they haven't been tested yet.
 
3)So were the extra balls tested before the game? The NFL statement is a little vague on this: "Prior to the game, the game officials inspect the footballs to be used by each team and confirm that this standard is satisfied, which was done before last Sunday’s game."
 
4) So let's look at this another way. Do the refs test the extra balls or just leave them in the sealed bag until needed. The fact that they were NOT used in the game strongly suggests that they sit back in the ref area until/unless needed, so perhaps testing of the "backup balls is not routine. Why open a sealed bag containing balls you don't expect to use and then leave it unattended? 
 
5) Are the footballs within the PSI spec? The million dollar question. Even if the bag was opened and they were tested, the NFL statement implies they were acceptable. But since the balls exist, they are available for further testing and one can determine the PSI exactly, and that could easily bring "environmental change" into the picture as a likely explanation. Unless all are under by a small amount meaning the NFL was misleading in their statement, and now the Pats are guilty of exactly what Rodgers has already confessed to.
 
But no matter what, there isn't going to be any hard evidence about the initial 12 balls, since all were re-inflated and thus any comments about how much they are over/under is likely to be anecdotal data, which isn't data at all.
 

E5 Yaz

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fiskful of dollars said:
So balls were presented a bit light and stayed light until halftime. Then they were tested, found to be under inflated, re-inflated to specs and stayed within specs throughout game.
 
And if the NFL had come out Monday and said the Pats had been fined $50,000 or so for this breach of security, that any further instance of this being found to happen would result in harsher penalties and that the second half was played with balls that were within specs, this would all be over.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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staz said:
As long as we're digging deep... anyone write press releases for a living? I'm about 10 years out of practice, but from what I remember, statements like this are always a lot tighter and written with great care. This is just rife with errors: poor structure, poor organization, undefined purpose.
 
This is why I love SoSH. 
 

Harry Hooper

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If it turns out there were no pre-game PSI testing, was King deliberately fed info to generate the mistaken impression it had been done in the hope that someone in Foxboro would talk?
 

DJnVa

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wiffleballhero said:
"The NFL is having a difficult time pinning this on a particular person, implicating somebody, finding a fall person." -@AdamSchefter
 
meaning: the NFL can't find anyone who did anything that shows cheating.
 
Shorter: the video review turned up nada.
 
 
Also, a "fall person"--doesn't that mean someone blamed that didn't do it?
 

pappymojo

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DrewDawg said:
 
Shorter: the video review turned up nada.
 
 
Also, a "fall person"--doesn't that mean someone blamed that didn't do it?
at least it is gender neutral.
 

wiffleballhero

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So the NYTimes article has this little moment:
 
"Wilson, he said, goes to great lengths to ensure the N.F.L. balls do not leak, even in extreme heat or cold. Every ball has a special three-ply urethane bladder inside, and during production, the balls are filled with 100 pounds of air pressure and then deflated to 13 pounds, the amount required for game balls."
 
Do the NFL teams get new balls sent directly from Wilson?
 
If so, is there any reason to think the Patriots even bother to add air unless they want them stiffer? If the balls arrive at 13 PSI then how long is it between production and gametime? Every ball I've ever owned has air loss over a week or two. It is just the deal. I would love to know the inflation history of that batch of balls.
 

riboflav

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Harry Hooper said:
If it turns out there were no pre-game PSI testing, was King deliberately fed info to generate the mistaken impression it had been done in the hope that someone in Foxboro would talk?
 
One of my first thoughts. 
 

jasail

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staz said:
 
As long as we're digging deep... anyone write press releases for a living? I'm about 10 years out of practice, but from what I remember, statements like this are always a lot tighter and written with great care. This is just rife with errors: poor structure, poor organization, undefined purpose.
 
(Second shortest paragraph: Facts to date) Our office has been conducting an investigation as to whether the footballs used in last Sunday’s AFC Championship Game complied with the specifications that are set forth in the playing rules. The investigation began based on (non-specific) information that suggested (weak word) that the game balls used by the New England Patriots were not properly inflated to levels required by the playing rules, specifically Playing Rule 2, Section 1, which requires that the ball be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch. Prior to the game, the game officials inspect the footballs to be used by each team and confirm that this standard is satisfied, which was done before last Sunday’s game. (footballs were inspected, but no mention of inspection result)
 
(Second longest paragraph: Credibility) The investigation is being led jointly by NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash (not Goodell) and Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss. Mr. Wells and his firm bring additional expertise and a valuable independent perspective. The investigation began promptly on Sunday night. (we took this serious from the beginning) Over the past several days, nearly 40 (not quite 40, but 40 sounds more impressive) interviews have been conducted, including of Patriots personnel, game officials, and third parties with relevant information and expertise. (players, coaches, not mentioned specifically) We have obtained and are continuing to obtain additional information, including video and other electronic information (headset comms?) and physical evidence (footballs, pumps and what else?). We have retained Renaissance Associates (more credibility), an investigatory firm with sophisticated forensic expertise (expertise!) to assist in reviewing electronic and video information.
 
(Longest paragraph: Placation) The playing rules are intended to protect the fairness and integrity of our games. We take seriously claims that those rules have been violated and will fully investigate this matter without compromise or delay. The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued expeditiously. In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence. (Bonus! A poorly-worded and haphazardly placed factoid...) While the evidence thus far (thus far: no judgement... door remains open for other evidence to support other conclusions) supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first half, the footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed at the conclusion (but not confirmed at the beginning of the game?) of the game to have remained properly inflated. (so at most, the game was only half tainted) The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance (now judging that balls were not in compliance) with the playing rules (now running with the 'evidence thus far,' the door to evidence supporting other conclusions seems shut) and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action. We have not made any judgments (except that the balls were not in compliance?) on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence.
 
(Path forward/ye shall cooperate paragraph) Upon being advised of the investigation, the Patriots promptly pledged their full cooperation and have made their personnel and other information available to us upon request. Our investigation will seek information from any and all relevant sources and we expect full cooperation from other clubs as well. As we develop more information and are in a position to reach conclusions, we will share them publicly.
 
--
 
So, in order of weighting, this statement was meant to (1) placate and (2) enhance credibility. Facts are secondary. Path forward is undefined. Summary: We need to put something out there now to calm everyone down and make it seem like we are in control, while providing as little fact as possible.
 
Edits: formatting
 
 
I do some press release work and I had a similar analysis of this release today.
 

jsinger121

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E5 Yaz said:
 
And if the NFL had come out Monday and said the Pats had been fined $50,000 or so for this breach of security, that any further instance of this being found to happen would result in harsher penalties and that the second half was played with balls that were within specs, this would all be over.
This is where I am at. The NFL has enabled this circus.
 

Kull

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Assuming the investigation fails to pin "this" on anyone outside the league offices (which seems more and more likely), you just know what happens next. The media will turn on Goodell and blame him for "destroying evidence" (reinflating the balls) just like he did in Spygate! Once again he helps those evil cheatriots escape justice! It's going to be lovely.
 

Peak Oil Can Boyd

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Harry Hooper said:
If it turns out there were no pre-game PSI testing, was King deliberately fed info to generate the mistaken impression it had been done in the hope that someone in Foxboro would talk?
 
How would that work?  The ball boy would suddenly come out with "that's impossible, I turned those balls in under the allowed pressure!"?
 

soxfan80000001

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Peak Oil Can Boyd said:
Since we're all hanging to the hope that the refs half-assed the pre-inspection, how is the following language not definitive that the PSI levels were measured accurately?  Because the words "pressure gauge" aren't present?
 
I don't think it's a matter of "hanging to the hope", rather it's a matter of not being a complete fucking moron and making a judgement in the absence of facts, of which there are few. (note: twitter tweets on secondhand information, unconfirmed for days, do not qualify as fact).
 
And yes, it's not definitive that the pressure levels were actually measured with a gauge before the game, because it doesn't state that the pressure levels were measured with a gauge.  You are absolutely correct.  
 
All that we know is that based on the below rule, the refs judged that the balls complied with the specifications.  Nothing is known about how they judged that, and there's nothing in the rulebook stating how they are to judge it.  Nowhere does it say they are obligated to use a pressure gauge.  Once you bring common sense into the equation, it's entirely conceivable that one could judge a ball to be acceptable by looking at the ball, poking at it, and reaching a determination that it exactly resembles a regular football.  It's also entirely conceivable that they stick a pressure gauge in each and every ball for every game, just as was seen in the video that was linked too many pages ago.  We don't know, both would be reasonable.
 
I don't think it would be fair to say the refs "half-assed" the inspection if they didn't measure pressure with a pressure gauge. A reasonable inspection could be done by looking at the ball, and poking at it.  Is my interaction with this physical object consistent with my previous interactions with objects that I have known to be properly inflated footballs?  Yes?  This, I certify, is also a properly inflated football.  
 
"The Ball must be a “Wilson,” hand selected, bearing the signature of the Commissioner of the League, Roger Goodell.
The ball shall be made up of an inflated (12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds) urethane bladder enclosed in a pebble grained, leather case
(natural tan color) without corrugations of any kind. It shall have the form of a prolate spheroid and the size and weight
shall be: long axis, 11 to 11 1/4 inches; long circumference, 28 to 28 1/2 inches; short circumference, 21 to 21 1/4 inches;
weight, 14 to 15 ounces.
 The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications. A pump is to be
furnished by the home club, and the balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the
ball attendant just prior to the start of the game. "
 

Harry Hooper

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Peak Oil Can Boyd said:
 
How would that work?  The ball boy would suddenly come out with "that's impossible, I turned those balls in under the allowed pressure!"?
 
No, the football equivalent of copping a plea since the NFL has the goods.
 

sonofgodcf

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Gary Bettman is probably a better commissioner than Roger Goodell.
 
Let that sink in for a minute.
 
Man, I don't know.  This is amazing theatre right now.  I love the Patriots and trust them unconditionally on this, but I still can't get enough.  It's dominating headlines in a typically quieter week for the NFL.  Isn't that what they want?
 

Section15Box113

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Harry Hooper said:
 
No, the football equivalent of copping a plea since the NFL has the goods.
Exactly. The other scenario, "I turned them in at 11 psi," would be awkward, but not illegal. After all, "The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications. A pump is to be furnished by the home club..." for precisely this circumstance - whether accidental or not.
 

TomTerrific

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Van Everyman said:
So this is a little weird:
 
Quote
John Harbaugh lauds Bill Belichick as greatest coach

Chris Wesseling
Around the NFL Writer
Amid speculation that the Ravens tipped off the Colts as to the Patriots' alleged deflated-ball practices, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh paid homage to New England legend Bill Belichick on Friday.

Harbaugh told NFL Media's Omar Ruiz at the Pro Bowl that he "thinks the world" of Belichick, who is the best coach of this century.

"He's been a great mentor, a great friend. I have the utmost respect for him," Harbaugh said. "Bill Belichick is the greatest coach of our generation, without question. I don't think anybody would doubt that. Nothing is going to change that.

"He's the toughest guy we have to go against every single year game plan-wise and trying to beat his team. They have a great team, they're where they deserve to be, they're where they belong and I just consider him my friend."

Harbaugh's praise is similar to that he lavished upon Belichick in the lead-up to the AFC Championship Game three years ago.

The two coaches have been in the news lately because Harbaugh publicly complained about Belichick's "deceptive" substitutions with a four-man offensive line in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

This is a friendship with strong roots, though. Belichick called Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to recommend Harbaugh for the head-coaching job seven years ago.

Would Harbaugh put that relationship in jeopardy? It certainly doesn't sound like it.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast reacts to the Patriots' deflated footballs controversy and tells you whom to trust in Super Bowl XLIX. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.
 
Wow, the Harbaugh version of the Judas Kiss. I think our spectacle here is nearly complete
 

Harry Hooper

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Section15Box113 said:
Exactly. The other scenario, "I turned them in at 11 psi," would be awkward, but not illegal. After all, "The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications. A pump is to be furnished by the home club..." for precisely this circumstance - whether accidental or not.
 
 
N.M.
 

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Section15Box113 said:
Exactly. The other scenario, "I turned them in at 11 psi," would be awkward, but not illegal. After all, "The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications. A pump is to be furnished by the home club..." for precisely this circumstance - whether accidental or not.
And not really all that awkward, given that MVP Aaron Rodgers stated unequivocally on national television that he ensures his footballs are submitted deliberately over-inflated.
 

nighthob

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If you think Peyton Manning is going to threaten the marketability of his Brand by chiming in on this, I've got a herd of unicorns you might be interested in purchasing.
 

Koufax

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Well he was quoted as saying that.  I don't believe he said that in front of a camera,
 

Matty005

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kartvelo said:
And not really all that awkward, given that MVP Aaron Rodgers stated unequivocally on national television that he ensures his footballs are submitted deliberately over-inflated.
 
Well, we don't have an exact quote from AR, it was told secondhand, but your point is still correct.  
 

Section15Box113

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kartvelo said:
And not really all that awkward, given that MVP Aaron Rodgers stated unequivocally on national television that he ensures his footballs are submitted deliberately over-inflated.
Only awkward in light of the Brady's 12.5 comments in his press conference.
 

kartvelo

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Section15Box113 said:
Only awkward in light of the Brady's 12.5 comments in his press conference.
Well, except that we can be pretty sure that Brady's not messing about with gauges himself, and for all he knows the "perfect 12.5" he thinks he's been getting has really been, say, 11.2 all along.
 
But now I understand the point, and point taken.