Marco Iansiti, Christine Snively
Technology & Operations
On January 18, 2015, the New England Patriots faced the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game. In the second quarter, a Colts player intercepted a pass from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Colts equipment personnel alerted NFL officials that the ball’s air pressure was below the required 12.5 PSI (pounds per square inch). Some argued that lower PSI provided a competitive advantage as it made the ball easier to grip and harder to fumble. At halftime, game officials found the air pressure in 11 of the 12 Patriots game balls to be under 12.5 PSI. The NFL launched an investigation into what became known in the media as “Deflategate,” and commissioned attorney Ted Wells to investigate whether or not the balls had been intentionally deflated. Wells’ team, with expert consultants, examined air pressure data recorded by referees, the temperature on game day, the behavior of Patriots players, and other evidence. Did the Deflategate investigation reveal any actual evidence of cheating? Were there flaws in Wells’ investigation?