More probable than not you are as baffled as we are

NFL report: Tom Brady likely knew balls were deflated
NFL report: Tom Brady likely knew balls were deflated


    NFL: Brady likely 'aware of inappropriate activities'


NFL: Brady likely 'aware of inappropriate activities' 01:32

Story highlights

  • More probable than not sounds noncommittal to many fans
  • The explanation was actually included in the report, but in smaller type

(CNN)Is there a lawyer in the house?

There are some of us who'd like to know just what the heck "more probable than not" means.
Ted Wells, an attorney, used the phrase in his report on "Deflategate" to say that it's likely two New England Patriots employees messed with the footballs before the AFC championship game, and it's also likely that the NFL's biggest hero, Tom Brady, was in on it.
    The term "more probable than not" induced a flurry of reaction from the media and fans, many of whom were asking, "How probable? Is he guilty or not?"
    More probable than not sounds like someone wanted to say, "It could be a 51% probability, it could be 67%, it could be 99%. We're not tellin'. Actually we're not sure."
    There is an explanation, believe it or not, of the term on Page 1 of the Wells report, but it is the first footnote of the report, and as we all know, no one but lawyers and teachers read footnotes.
    Here's what the note in small type says, after it explains that Wells and his team were hired to conduct an investigation with regard to the NFL's Policy on Integrity of the Game & Enforcement of Competitive Rules.
    "Under the Policy, the 'standard of proof required to find that a violation of the competitive rules has occurred' is a 'preponderance of the evidence,' meaning that 'as a whole, the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not,' " the report says.
    Social media, naturally, had its say.
    Some folks wanted to comment on the report and the man who headed the investigation.
    Others applied the phrase to historical events and great sports memories.
    One guy reminded the Colts, who tipped off the league, that the two teams will see each other again soon. Another man pointed out what we were all thinking about sports commentators.
    And a few tweeters were just keeping it real.