Bill Belichick comes out swinging against deflate gate

Belichick during Saturday's press conference. (Photo By: John Wilcox)

Belichick during Saturday’s press conference.
(Photo By: John Wilcox)

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talked to the media today about deflate gate and came out with the information he got from his own team’s investigation. He defended Brady and himself against the deflate gate scandal and gave reasons of what could have happened. He’s also moved past the scandal.

BB: I want to take this opportunity to share some information. I spent a significant amount of time this past week learning as much as I could learn, more than I could ever imagine to tell you the truth, about bladders, air gauges, stitching, pressure, game day football preparation, rubdowns and so forth. [I’m] trying to be as helpful as I can here and share with you what I’ve learned. Having coached for 40 years in the National Football League, played for several years, growing up in a football family, being around this game my entire life, it’s clear that I don’t know very much about this area. Over the last few days I’ve learned a lot more than I ever knew – like, exponentially more.

I feel like this is important because there have been questions raised and I believe now 100 percent that I have personally, and we as an organization, have absolutely followed every rule to the letter. I just feel that on behalf of everyone in the organization, everyone that’s involved in this organization, that we need to say something.

I’ve talked to and gathered a lot of information from members of our staff, I have talked to other people familiar with this subject in other organizations and we have performed an internal study of the process and I think there are certainly other things that I can do and there’s maybe other research that can be done, but I say at this time, I definitely have enough information to share with you. So, based on the events of today, I feel like now’s the time to do it, rather than wait. I know this is kind of an impromptu thing, but that’s just the way it worked out.

First of all, let me start with the process. As Tom [Brady] explained on Thursday, the most important part of the football for the quarterback is the feel of the football. I don’t think there’s any question about that. The exterior feel of the football is not only critical, but it’s also very easily identifiable. When I feel a football, I can feel a difference between slippery and tacky. I can feel the difference between the texture of the football to what degree it is broken in. If you put five footballs out there, which football is broken in the most, which football is broken in the least, that’s easy to identify. That’s the essence of the preparation. We prepare our footballs over time and we use them in practice. That preparation process continues right up until the footballs are given to the officials prior to the game. That’s when they are finalized, if I could use that word. I would say that in that process I’ve handled dozens of footballs over the past week. The texture of the footballs is very easy to identify. The pressure of the footballs is a whole different story. It’s much more difficult to feel or identify. So, the focus of our pregame preparation for the footballs is based on texture and feel. I think Tom went into that extensively on Thursday and he obviously could go through it a lot better than I can because he’s the one that touched them. But that’s the heart of the process.

We simulated a game day situation in terms of the preparation of the football and where the footballs were at various points in time during the day, or night, as the case was Sunday. I would say that our preparation process for the footballs is what we do. I can’t speak for anybody else. It’s what we do. That process, we have found raises the PSI [pounds per square inch] approximately one pound. That process of creating a tackiness, a texture – the right feel, whatever that feel is, it’s just a sensation for the quarterback, what’s the right feel. That process elevates the PSI approximately one pound based on what our study showed, which was multiple footballs, multiple examples in the process, as we would do for a game. It’s not one football.

When the footballs are delivered to the officials locker room, the officials were asked to inflate them to 12.5 PSI. What exactly they did, I don’t know. But for the purposes of our study, that’s what we did. We set them at 12.5. That’s at the discretion of the official, though. Regardless of what we ask for, it’s the official’s discretion to put them where he wants. Again, that’s done in a controlled climate. The footballs are prepared in our locker room, they’re delivered to the officials locker room, which is a controlled environment. Whatever we have here is what we have there. When the footballs go out on to the field into game conditions, whatever those conditions are, whether it’s hot and humid, whether it’s cold and damp, whether it’s cold and dry, whether it’s whatever it is, that’s where the footballs are played with, and that’s where the measurements would be different than what they are, possibly different, than what they are in a controlled environment. That’s what we found.

We found that once the footballs were on the field over an extended period of time, in other words, they were adjusted to the climatic conditions and also the fact that the footballs reached an equilibrium without the rubbing process, that after that had run its course and the footballs had reached an equilibrium, that they were down approximately one-and-a-half pounds per square inch. When we brought the footballs back in after that process and re-tested them in a controlled environment as we have here, then those measurements rose approximately one half pound per square inch. So the net of one and a half, back to a half, is approximately one pound per square inch, to one and a half.

Now, we all know that air pressure is a function of the atmospheric conditions. It’s a function of that. If there’s activity in the football relative to the rubbing process, I think that explains why when we gave them to the officials and the officials put it at, let’s say 12.5, if that’s in fact what they did, that once the football reached its equilibrium state, it probably was closer to 11.5. But again, that’s just our measurements. We can’t speak specifically to what happened because we have no way of touching the footballs other than once the officials have them we don’t touch them except for when we play with them in the game. But it’s similar to the concept of when you get into your car and the light comes on and it says, ‘Low tire pressure,’ because the car has been sitting in the driveway outside overnight and you start it up and you start driving it and the light goes off. It’s a similar concept to that.

The atmospheric conditions, as well as the true equilibrium of the football is critical to the measurement. At no time were any of our footballs prepared anywhere other than in the locker room or in an area very close to that – never in a heated room or heated condition. That has absolutely never taken place to anyone’s knowledge or anyone’s recollection. That just didn’t happen.

When you measure a football, there are a number of different issues that come up. Number one, gauges. There are multiple types of gauges. The accuracy of one gauge relative to another, there’s variance there. We’re talking about air pressure. There’s some variance there. Clearly all footballs are different. So, footballs that come out of a similar pack, a similar box, a similar preparation, each football has its own unique, individual characteristics because it’s not a man-made piece of equipment. It’s an animal skin, it’s a bladder, it’s stitching, it’s laces. Each one has its own unique characteristics. Whatever you do with that football, if you do the same thing with another one, it might be close, but there’s a variance between each individual football.

Footballs do not get measured during the game. We have no way of knowing until we went through this exercise, that this is really taking place. When we hand the footballs to the officials, the officials put them at whatever they put them at, but let’s just say it’s 12.5, that’s where they put them, then the air pressure at that point from then on until the end of the game, we have no knowledge of. Honestly, it’s never been a concern. What is a concern is the texture of the footballs and again, that’s the point that Tom hit on hard on Thursday.

We had our quarterbacks look at a number of footballs. They were unable to differentiate a one-pound per square inch difference in those footballs. They were unable to do it. On a two-pound differential, there was some degree of differentiation, but certainly not a consistent one. A couple ones they could pick out, but they were also wrong on some of the other ones that they had. You’re welcome to do that yourself. I can tell you from all the footballs that I’ve handled over the last week, I can’t tell a difference if there’s a one-pound difference or half a pound difference in any of the footballs.

Again, anyone who has seen us practice knows that we make it harder, not easier, to handle the football. Our players train in conditions that a lot of people would recommend that we not drive in. That’s what they do. They’re a physically and mentally tough team that works hard, that trains hard, that prepares hard and have met every challenge that I put in front of them. And I know that because I work them every day.

This team was the best team in the AFC in the regular season. We won two games in the playoffs against two good football teams. The best team in the postseason, that’s what this team is. I know that because I’ve been with them every day and I’m proud of this team.

I just want to share with you what I’ve learned over the past week. I’m embarrassed to talk about the amount of time that I put into this relative to the other important challenge in front of us. I’m not a scientist. I’m not an expert in footballs; I’m not an expert in football measurements. I’m just telling you what I know. I would not say that I’m Mona Lisa Vito of the football world, as she was in the car expertise area, alright?

At no time was there any intent whatsoever to try to compromise the integrity of the game or to gain an advantage. Quite the opposite, we feel like we followed the rules of the game to the letter in our preparations, in our procedures, alright, and in the way that we handled every game that we competitively played in as it relates to this matter. We try to do everything right. We err on the side of caution. It’s been that way now for many years. Anything that’s close, we stay as far away from the line as we can. In this case, I can say that we are, as far as I know and everything that I can do, we did everything as right as we could do it. We welcome the league’s investigation into this matter. I think there are a number of things that need to be looked into on a number of levels, but that’s not for this conversation. I’m sure it will be taken up at another point in time.

This is the end of this subject for me for a long time, OK? We have a huge game, a huge challenge for our football team and that’s where that focus is going to go. I’ve spent more than enough time on this and I’m happy to share this information with you to try to tell you some of the things that I have learned over the last week, which I’ve learned way more than I ever thought I would learn. The process, the whole thing is much more complex – there are a lot of variables that I was unaware of. It sounds simple, and I’m not trying to say that we’re trying to land a guy on the moon, but there are a lot of things here that are a little hard to get a handle on. Again, there’s a variance in so many of these things, alright? So, I’ll take a couple questions and then I’m moving on.
Q: Did the NFL share with you the pregame documented PSI?

BB: You would have to talk to the NFL about anything they did or didn’t do.

Q: You don’t know if they documented it?

BB: Look, we could sit here and talk about some of this stuff for two hours, alright? If you want to ask the league any questions about what they do or don’t do you should ask the league. I’m just telling you what I’ve learned and the study that we’ve done and the experience that I’ve had over the last few days in looking into this matter. That’s all I can tell you. I’m not a scientist and I’m not a league official.

Q: Do you feel like after the amount of work and research you’ve put into this this week you’ll be exonerated from all this?

BB: I just told you what I think. That’s what I think right there.

Q: Has your game preparation been compromised at all? I know you usually spend this week in game planning.

BB: Well, I’ve spent a lot of the week in game planning – a lot of this week, yeah.

Q: Do you feel like any of it has been compromised?

BB: Look, I told you: I thought this was an important issue and we addressed it, so we did.

Q: It sounds like according to your simulation, it’s a combination of atmospheric or weather conditions and then trusting that the officials did inflate the footballs to 12.5 PSI. Is that correct?

BB: Well, look, you can take the atmospheric conditions out of it because if the footballs are measured in the same atmospheric conditions then it’s a non-factor. But if you measure a football in a controlled condition like this and you measure a football on, let’s say, the night we played Baltimore, there’s no way they’re the same. You take that football and you set it outside and the football becomes accustomed to those climatic conditions and those temperatures, there’s no way it’s the same. Now if you take it out and bring it back in and let it sit for X amount of time, then it probably is the same. So no, that’s not the issue. But depending on where footballs were measured and how they were measured, that’s a whole other discussion. No, the situation is the preparation of the football caused the football to, I would say, be artificially high in PSI when it was set to the regulation, regulated level. And then it reached its equilibrium at some point later on, an hour, two hours into the game into the pregame, whatever it was – and that level was below what was set in this climatic condition. I think that’s exactly what happened. And I think that anybody who wants to do those experiments should go ahead and do them themselves. Don’t take my word for it. But I’m telling you, we’re trying to get an answer to this and that’s what we have.

Q: You said you always try to err on the side of caution and stay on the right side of the rules, but with the videotaping it was clear that you were pushing the envelope on that. Is that something that changed that?

BB: I mean, look, that’s a whole other discussion. The guy’s giving signals out in front of 80,000 people, OK? So we filmed him taking signals out in front of 80,000 people, like there were a lot of other teams doing at that time, too. Forget about that. If we were wrong then we’ve been disciplined for that.

Q: That’s clearly not doing everything you can to stay on the side –

BB: The guy’s in front of 80,000 people. 80,000 people saw it. Everybody [on the] sideline saw it. Everybody sees our guy in front of the 80,000 people. I mean, there he is. So, it was wrong, we were disciplined for it. That’s it. We never did it again. We’re never going to do it again and anything else that’s close, we’re not going to do either.

Q: So is that a change? I’m talking about what you said a few minutes ago about always trying to stay on the right side.

BB: We always do. We always have. I mean, anything that’s even remotely close, we’re on the side of caution.

Q: You talked a lot about science today. Did you have any science people help with your investigation?

BB: We talked to a lot of people.

Q: How much time did you spend on it?

BB: I don’t know; I didn’t log it.

Q: Are you relieved by what you’ve found in your investigation?

BB: I didn’t – look, I came in here Thursday and I told you that I didn’t have any answers. I just – and I’m very confident in the things that we’ve talked about, the study that we did, going through with a fine-tooth comb, everything. I’m 100 percent confident in everything I’ve told you. That’s what I believe. That’s what I know. That’s what it is. I’m as transparent as I can be on this one, period.

Q: Is that a yes that you feel relieved?

BB: Look, I did what I did. No, I’m not using those adjectives. I told you what I did. That’s what it is.

Q: Is there one thing that you did that caused it to raise 1.5 PSI? Did you put it in front of the heater? Did you put it in dryers? Do you know what it was?

BB: No, it was never put in front of a heater. I just said that.

Q: No, I’m talking about whatever you do to get the texture right that causes it to rise.

BB: You rub it. You try to get the texture the way the quarterback wants it.

Q: I’m just trying to establish what it was that made it rise.

BB: I just said that and I said that at no time was the football ever put in any type of heated environment.

Q: So you rub it vigorously?

BB: We rub it to get the football to the proper texture. Yes, it’s – I mean, I don’t know what’s vigorous or what isn’t not vigorous. We’re not polishing fine china here; we’re trying to get a football to the proper texture the quarterback wants it to grip it. Does that stimulate something inside the football to raise the PSI? I would say yes, it does.

Q: Based on all this research, then what do you do differently in the future to err on the side of caution?

BB: Well that’s another – you’re getting into another whole area here. You’re getting into another whole area as it relates to the next game. Yes, that’s exactly right. I couldn’t. That’s exactly why this whole process was done: for that very reason. I don’t know the answer to that question, but that’s a very important question.

(Transcript provided by Patriots.com)

 

NFL releases statement on “Deflate Gate”

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The National Football League has released a statement regarding the deflated football issue from last Sunday’s AFC Championship Game and still no answers. The NFL will continue to drag this on.

Below is the full statement from the NFL.

“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 information that suggested 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. The investigation is being led jointly by NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash 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. Over the past several days, nearly 40 interviews have been conducted, including of Patriots personnel, game officials, and third parties with relevant information and expertise. We have obtained and are continuing to obtain additional information, including video and other electronic information and physical evidence. We have retained Renaissance Associates, an investigatory firm with sophisticated forensic expertise to assist in reviewing electronic and video information. 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. While the evidence thus far 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 of the game to have remained properly inflated. The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action. We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence. 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.”

2015 Pro Bowl Roster and Predictions

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The Pro Bowl rosters for Team Michael Irvin and Team Chris Carter were completed Wednesday Night. The game will be played this Sunday at 8:00 pm ET in Arizona on ESPN.

The full roster is below:

TEAM IRVIN

Offense

Quarterbacks: Tony Romo, Dallas; Matt Ryan, Atlanta; Matthew Stafford, Detroit.

Running backs: C.J. Anderson, Denver; Mark Ingram, New Orleans, DeMarco Murray, Dallas (captain).

Wide receivers: Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants; Golden Tate, Detroit; Emmanuel Sanders, Denver; Randall Cobb, Green Bay.

Tight ends: Jimmy Graham, New Orleans; Jason Witten, Dallas.

Fullback: Marcel Reece, Oakland.

Tackles: Joe Thomas, Cleveland; Tyron Smith, Dallas; Trent Williams, Washington.

Guards: Kyle Long, Chicago; Zack Martin, Dallas; Marshal Yanda, Baltimore.

Centers: Travis Frederick, Dallas; Nick Mangold, New York Jets.

Defense

Defensive ends: Robert Quinn, St. Louis; Cameron Wake, Miami; DeMarcus Ware, Denver.

Defensive tackles: Geno Atkins, Cincinnati; Aaron Donald, St. Louis; Sheldon Richardson, New York Jets.

Outside linebackers: Elvis Dumervil, Baltimore; Clay Matthews, Green Bay; Von Miller, Denver.

Inside linebackers: Luke Kuechly, Carolina; D’Qwell Jackson, Indianapolis.

Cornerbacks: Vontae Davis, Indianapolis; Brent Grimes, Miami; Joe Haden, Cleveland; Chris Harris Jr., Denver.

Safeties: Eric Weddle, San Diego, Mike Adams, Indianapolis; T.J. Ward, Denver.

Special teams

Punter: Kevin Huber, Cincinnati.

Place-kicker: Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis.

Return specialist: Darren Sproles, Philadelphia.

Special-teamer: Darrell Stuckey, San Diego.

Long-snapper: L.P. Ladouceur, Dallas

Captain: Michael Irvin.

Coach: Jason Garrett, Dallas.

TEAM CARTER

Offense

Quarterbacks: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis; Drew Brees, New Orleans; Andy Dalton, Cincinnati.

Running backs: Jamaal Charles, Kansas City; Justin Forsett, Baltimore; Alfred Morris, Washington.

Wide receivers: A.J. Green, Cincinnati; T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis; Jordy Nelson, Green Bay;Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (captain).

Tight ends: Martellus Bennett, Chicago; Greg Olsen, Carolina.

Fullback: John Kuhn, Green Bay.

Tackles: Joe Staley, San Francisco; Duane Brown, Houston; Ryan Clady, Denver.

Guards: Evan Mathis, Philadelphia; Mike Pouncey, Miami; Josh Sitton, Green Bay.

Centers: Jason Kelce, Philadelphia; Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh.

Defense

Defensive ends: J.J. Watt, Houston (captain); Mario Williams, Buffalo; Calais Campbell, Arizona.

Interior defensive linemen: Marcell Dareus, Buffalo; Dontari Poe, Kansas City; Kyle Williams, Buffalo.

Outside linebackers: Justin Houston, Kansas City; Connor Barwin, Philadelphia; Tamba Hali, Kansas City.

Inside linebackers: C.J. Mosley, Baltimore; Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh.

Cornerbacks: Patrick Peterson, Arizona; Aqib Talib, Denver; Antonio Cromartie, Arizona;Sam Shields, Green Bay.

Safeties: Antoine Bethea, San Francisco; Glover Quin, Detroit; Donte Whitner, Cleveland.

Special teams

Punter: Pat McAfee, Indianapolis.

Place-kicker: Cody Parkey, Philadelphia.

Return specialist: Devin Hester, Atlanta.

Special-teamer: Justin Bethel, Arizona.

Long-snapper: Jon Dorenbos, Philadelphia.

Captain: Cris Carter.

Coach: John Harbaugh, Baltimore.

I pick Chris Carter’s team to win the game. I love that Luck will be throwing to the likes of Nelson, Green, and Brown. Their secondary is stacked too.

That’s my pick to win this year’s Pro Bowl!

Video: Super Bowl Sterotypes

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Dude Perfect, a popular group of guys who do trick shots and stereotypes on YouTube, has come out with a new video about Super Bowl stereotypes.

Which one are you?

 

Video: NFL 2015 Bad Lip Reading”

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Turn on ESPN, NFL Network, CNN, and any other news outlet and you will get all the negative vibes from them about the Patriots and deflate-gate 2015. It’s beyond annoying and while I’m biased, I see no way this affected the game, and no way it should be this overblown.

I’m going to take a little break from all of that and post a very funny video for us all to laugh at, the Bad Lip Reading guys are back at it, enjoy!

Patriots Vs Seahawks Thursday Injury Report

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

OUT
No players listed

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
No players listed.

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
CB Brandon Browner – Knee
LB Dont’a Hightower – Shoulder
DT Chris Jones – Elbow
WR Brandon LaFell – Shoulder / Toe
DL Sealver Siliga – Foot
C Bryan Stork – Knee

FULL PARTICIPATION
QB Tom Brady – Ankle

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

OUT
No players listed.

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
RB Marshawn Lynch – Not Injury Related
G JR Sweezy – Ankle
S Earl Thomas – Shoulder

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
No players listed.

FULL PARTICIPATION
DE Michael Bennett – Not Injury Related
T Justin Britt – Knee
LS Clint Gresham – Neck
CB Richard Sherman – Elbow

D’Qwell Jackson: “I didn’t know football had less pressure”

Photo Credit: AP / Julio Cortez

Photo Credit: AP / Julio Cortez

Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jacson said he wasn’t the reason the football was investigated by the NFL because he didn’t know it had less pressure, saying reports saying otherwise were false.

“I wanted that ball as a souvenir!” Jackson told NFL Media during a phone conversation Thursday.

Jackson said he didn’t know if it had less pressure and he doesn’t know how it could be an advantage.

“I wouldn’t know how that could even be an advantage or a disadvantage,” Jackson said. “I definitely wouldn’t be able to tell if one ball had less pressure than another.”

Jackson said if they did deflated the footballs it doesn’t matter because it wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

“It wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the game,” Jackson said. “They outplayed us. We didn’t match their intensity. I don’t feel slighted at all personally. They created turnovers, they ran the ball on us. They won that game because of their intensity — not the pressure of a football.”

Jackson said he has nothing to do with this, he just wanted a souvenir.

“I mean, Anderson Cooper asked my agent if I could come on his show,” Jackson said. “I’m honored that he wants to talk to me, I guess, but I really just wanted my souvenir from a special accomplishment in my career.”

He did say late in the first half the Pats were using the Colts football on offense because the officials couldn’t find a usable football.

NBC.com says the NFL was planning on investigating the Patriots deflated footballs before the interception ever happen, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports.

Glazer says the Colts had raised concerns before, but unclear from the Nov 16th game or sometime during the first half, or if the Ravens told them about it.

 

 

Tom Brady’s press conference transcript about deflate – gate

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Here’s Tom Brady’s transcript from today’s press conference regarding the deflated football issue.

TB: Obviously I’d much rather be up here talking about the Seahawks and preparing for the Super Bowl, which we’ve been trying to do for the last few days. I know Coach [Bill] Belichick addressed it with you guys this morning and I wanted to give you guys the opportunity to ask [the] questions that you want. I’ll do my best to provide the answers that I have, if any, and we’ll go from there.

Q: When and how did you supposedly alter the balls?

TB: I didn’t have any – I didn’t alter the ball in any way. I have a process that I go through before every game where I go in and I pick the footballs that I want to use for the game. Our equipment guys do a great job of breaking the balls in. they have a process that they go through. When I pick those balls out, at that point to me they’re perfect. I don’t want anyone touching the balls after that. I don’t want anyone rubbing them, putting any air in them, taking any air out. To me those balls are perfect and that’s what I expect when I show up on the field. That happened obviously on Sunday night. It was the same process that I always go through. I didn’t think anything of it. Obviously I woke up Monday morning and answered a question on the radio about it and that was the first I really hard about it.

Q: This has raised a lot of uncomfortable conversations for people around this country who view you as their idol. The question they’re asking themselves is, ‘What’s up with our hero?’ Can you answer right now, is Tom Brady a cheater?

TB: I don’t believe so. I feel like I’ve always played within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules. I believe in fair play and I respect the league and everything they’re doing to try to create a very competitive playing field for all the NFL teams. It’s a very competitive league. Every team is trying to do the best they can to win every week. I believe in fair play and I’ll always believe in that for as long as I’m playing.

Q: Some people think Coach Belichick threw you under the bus this morning, do you feel that way?

TB: No, I think everyone is obviously trying to figure out what happened. I think that’s the main thing over the last couple days. It’s trying to figure out what happened. Like I said, I was as surprised as anybody when I heard Monday morning what was happening. I think over the last few days people have been trying to figure out – as the NFL is trying to figure out – what part of the process and from when I saw the ball which was five hours before halftime, what exactly happened.

Q: Do all quarterbacks doctor the balls and have you done anything differently from anyone else in the league?

TB: I’m not sure. I can only speak for myself. I think that there’s a process that everybody goes through breaking in footballs. It’s probably a lot like a baseball mitt when you’re a kid. I try to explain that to my friends a lot. When you use it and that’s your equipment, the football is something that I handle on every play. I want to be very familiar with the equipment that I’m using, just like my cleats, just like my helmet, just like my pads. You go through that process of breaking the balls in and getting comfortable with them. Of course I choose the balls that I want to use for the game and that’s what I expect to go out on the playing field with.

Q: How important is it for you to get this out of the way and take this head-on so you can get focused on the Super Bowl?

TB: That’s where the importance is, as far as I’m concerned. I know this is a very important thing and that’s why I’m here addressing it. I know my teammates, we accomplished something really special getting to this point. I don’t like the fact that this is taking away from some of the accomplishment of what we’ve achieved as a team. I think hopefully our best is still to come. We’re going to work as hard as we can over the next 10 days to put ourselves in a great position to be prepared for the game.

Q: Do you know the difference between an under-inflated ball and an over-inflated ball? Did you notice a difference in the balls used in the first half and second half?

TB: From the first half to the second half, I didn’t think twice about it. I didn’t put one thought into the football at that point. Once I approve the ball, like I said, that’s the ball that I expect out there on the field. It wasn’t even a thought, inkling of a concern of mine that they were any different. I just assumed that they were exactly the same: first half, second half.

Q: What do you say to the skeptics that say, ‘The Patriots have had violations before. How can we possibly believe what Brady and the coach are saying now?’

TB: Everybody has an opinion. I think everybody has the right to believe whatever they want. I don’t ever cast judgment on someone’s belief system. If that’s what they feel like they want to do, then I don’t have a problem with that. I think part of being in this position and putting yourself under a spotlight like this and being open for criticism, I think that’s very much a part of being a professional athlete. We can only express to you what our side is and how we approach it. Then everyone is going to make their own [conclusion].

Q: Are you comfortable that nobody on the Patriots side did anything wrong?

TB: I have no knowledge of anything. I have no knowledge of any wrongdoing –

Q: Are you comfortable that nobody did anything?

TB: Yeah, I’m very comfortable saying that. I’m very comfortable saying that nobody did it, as far as I know. I don’t know everything. I also understand that I was in the locker room preparing for a game. I don’t know what happened over the course of the process with the footballs. I was preparing for my own job, doing what I needed to do.

Q: A few years ago you said you liked the ball deflated. You were quoted saying you like throwing a deflated ball. Explain that comment in the context of what you’re dealing with this week.

TB: I obviously read that I said that. I like them at the way that I like them, which is at 12.5. To me, that’s a perfect grip for the football. I think that particular term, deflated or inflated, whatever norm you’re using, you could probably use. I would never do anything outside of the rules of play. I would never have someone do something that I thought was outside the rules.

Q: So you never knowingly played with a football that was under 12.5-pounds?

TB: No.

Q: Have you tried to find out why the balls were under-inflated?

TB: That’s a great question. I think there are a lot of people that have more information than me. I only know what I’ve kind of gone through and the process I’ve taken as part of the game and the postgame, as well as trying to prepare for the Super Bowl. Yeah, I have questions, too. But there’s nobody that I know that can answer the questions that I have. I just have tried my best to focus on what I need to do, to be prepared for Seattle.

Q: If you know the look and feel of the football that you like, do you think there could have been other games where you played with an under-inflated football?

TB: I don’t know. Like I said, once I’m out on the field, I’m playing. I have no thought of the football at that point. I’m thinking about the defense, I’m thinking about the execution of the play and what I need to do. I’m not thinking about how the football feels. I grip the football –

Q: Are you wondering if you’ve played with an under-inflated ball before?

TB: I have no idea. I have no idea. This was the first that I’ve heard of it. Obviously on Monday morning, was the first that I heard of it.

Q: If it’s found that someone improperly tampered with the balls, is it important to you that someone is held accountable?

TB: I’m not the one that imposes [that] type of accountably. It’s discipline and all that, that’s not really my job. Obviously I’d like to know what happened, as you all would, too. In the meantime, I’m going to try to do the best I can to play against the Seahawks. Because I can’t do anything with what’s happened in the past. I have to just go forward with the most awareness I can going forward and trying to be the best I can be for our team.

Q: How does it make you feel that they’re calling your team cheaters?

TB: You know, I think a big part of playing here is trying to ignore the outside forces and influences and people that are maybe fans of our team or not fans of your team or fans of yourself or not fans of yourself. Like I said, everybody is entitled to an opinion. Those opinions rest with those people. I think you can just go out and try to be the best you can be, deal with people with respect, with honesty, with integrity, have a high moral standard. I’ve always really tried to exemplify that as an athlete. I’ll continue to try to do that.

Q: Does this motivate you guys?

TB: We’ve had a lot of motivation. I would say we’ve got a lot of motivation as a team. I think our team has overcome a lot of adversity this year. I think sometimes in life the biggest challenges end up being the best things that happen in your life. We’ve overcome a lot of those this year as a team. So, we can rally around one another and support one another. You can be the best teammate you can possibly be and you can go out and support each other and try to go win a very important game.

Q: Did you address your teammates today and if so, what did you say to them?

TB: Those are very personal things with my teammates. That was very personal comments.

Q: Did you see the footballs before they went to the referees?

 TB: Yeah. It’s always the same process. I get here – the playoffs I got here pretty early before the games. Then I go in there and I choose however many balls are necessary for the games. Sometimes it’s 12, 16, 18, 24. This last particular game was 24. I felt them. They were perfect. I wouldn’t want anyone touching those. I would zip those things up and lock them away until I got out on the field and an opportunity to play with them. That’s what I thought I was doing.

Q: We’re you surprised when you heard those footballs had been deflated by two pounds?

TB: Absolutely. That was very surprising to me.

Q: One of your teammates said this was a media thing. Is that your feeling? Is there a feeling behind closed doors that this is being blown out of proportion?

TB: No, it’s very serious. This is a very serious topic. Obviously the integrity of the sport is very important. I think there’s another focus that we have also as a team that guys are very focused on our opponent and the things that we need to do to try to be successful. Everyone is trying to figure out what happened. But at the same time, you have to prepare for the Seahawks also.

Q: You laughed this off on Monday on the radio. Now you’re more somber about it. What happened between Monday and today?

TB: Look, that was real early in the morning. I got home at 12, one o’clock and woke up to do the radio interview and I was very shocked to hear it. I almost laughed it off thinking it was more sour grapes than anything. Then it ends up being a very serious thing when you start learning the things that –

Q: When the start of the second half was delayed and the balls were swapped out, how did you guys on the sideline not know what was going on on the field with respect to the footballs?

TB: I don’t think anybody knew there was an issue with the balls. I think they said, ‘The balls are not ready for play.’ And then I turn around in the huddle and the ball was ready for play. So, I didn’t think anything of it.

Q: Nobody said anything to you on the sideline? It was a good minute delay.

TB: I wasn’t paying attention to what was happening at that time. I don’t remember. Everything was happening obviously so fast in the middle of the game. I was thinking about the series, to go out there and the execution of the game.

Q: The officials didn’t say a word to you?

TB: No.

Q: Do you feel like you had an unfair advantage over the Colts?

TB: I feel like we won the game fair and square. We ended up playing a great opponent and I thought our team went out and played a great game offensively, defensively [and] special teams. It was a great accomplishment to reach the AFC Championship, to win the AFC Championship and then to have the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl. That was a great feeling after the game. Obviously the next few days and hearing the football issue has taken away from a little bit of that, but hopefully we’ll rally around one another to bring it back to the task at hand which is to try to go out and be the best we can be.

Q: Is this a moment to just say ‘I’m sorry,’ to the fans?

TB: I think it’s disappointing that a situation like this happens. Obviously I’d love to be up here talking about [the game], in a very joyful mood. These are the two best weeks of the year if you happen to be one of the two teams still playing. It should be a great two weeks. I’m obviously very disappointed that we have to be having a press conference like this. I wish I could give you more answers or the answers that you guys were looking for. But I don’t have some of those answers.

Q: For the fans that are watching and looking into that camera, what do you say?

TB: I’m not sure. What would you like me to say? I’m not quite sure.

Q: Does the league have a responsibility to button this up so everybody can move on?

TB: I think they’ll do however they see fit. You know, I think that’s up to their responsibility to do whatever they want to do. That’s kind of usually what happens anyway. Like I said, I know they’re doing their investigation. I don’t know what will happen after that.

Q: Do you feel like you’re hanging in the wind?

TB: No, I think we’re preparing for the Super Bowl. I think this is obviously something we’re having to address, but at the same time, I think we’re focused on trying to go out and beat the Seahawks.

Q: Did the league investigators talk to you?

TB: Not yet.

Q: You said earlier that first the issue seemed minor and then you became it was more serious. What was it that convinced you of the seriousness?

TB: I just wasn’t, obviously, aware Monday morning of everything that had happened. So just as I learned more, you understand that there’s more than what I initially –

Q: What’s so serious about it to you?

TB: Just the integrity of the game. I think that’s a very important issue to always be mindful of as an athlete, and fair play. I think we set a great example for the younger athletes, the younger kids, the college kids, the high school kids. We want to be the ones to set the great example.

Q: Are you frustrated by this process? Are you surprised by the process of what the story has become? What do you hope the end result is going forward?

TB: I’m not sure if I have a hope. I haven’t put much thought into that. It’s been just a short period of time. I’d really love to go out there and play a great game. Obviously the NFL would love to figure out what happened in this situation. I try to keep everything in perspective. I’m happy we have an opportunity to play in the next game. obviously I’m disappointed by the footballs of last game, but I can’t do anything about what happened. I can only try to – I can only do something going forward.

Q: The league has not spoken to or contacted you yet?

TB: No, but they may. They may. I think that’s obviously their choice.

Q: Do you find that odd though?

TB: Sure, yeah, they might. They might.

Q: It’s odd that they haven’t at this point. You’re the quarterback and you’re the center of this story right now and the league’s officials haven’t talked to you indicates to a lot of people they’re letting this drag on.

TB: I’m not sure.

Q: Have you been told they will talk to you?

TB: I’m not sure.

Q: There are people who are going to say, ‘You’re so familiar with the equipment, how could you not know?’ What would you say to them?

TB: I addressed that a little bit earlier. Like I said, I don’t put any thought into the footballs after I choose them. When you’re out there playing in front of 70,000 people, like a home crowd, you don’t think about [it]. You’re just reacting to the game. I don’t certainly think about the football. I just assume it’s the same one I approved in the pregame.

Q: Do you break the balls in during practice?

TB: We break them in in practice, certainly sometimes. Yeah, we definitely do that. It’s different from game to game. Some days one ball may feel good; the next day it may not. It depends on maybe how, I don’t know, the humidity in the air or how old the ball was. There are a lot of variables with obviously Mother Nature and the balls. Whatever feels good that day, those are the ones I would typically choose.

Q: Those are the same ones that Bill Belichick squirts water on in practice?

TB: Yeah, he does that a lot. It could be, yeah. It definitely could be.

Q: You said you didn’t want the balls to be touched after you approved them. You didn’t notice that 15 percent of the air was out of the ball when you started using it? It didn’t strike you during the first half?

TB: I didn’t feel any different. I would just assume that it was the same thing. Like I said, once I get the ball, I’m dropping back and reading the coverage and throwing the ball. I’m not –

Q: Basketball players would know if the ball was off after taking two shots. Baseball players could pick up a bat and know if it was less than ounce different. You’re asking us to believe that you couldn’t tell 15 percent of the football was deflated and you didn’t notice?

TB: I wouldn’t know on a particular play. It was a very wet, cold, windy night. Like I said –

Q: But [Colts linebacker] D’Qwell Jackson noticed.

TB: I don’t know. I don’t do that. I get the snap, I drop back, I throw the ball. I grip it and I try to throw the ball. That the extent of me touching the football. I don’t sit there and try to squeeze it and determine that. if that’s what the Colts wanted to do, then that’s what they wanted to do. That’s what their decision was. But I certainly didn’t. No, I did not recognize that. I did not feel a difference between the first half and the second half when supposedly they were inflated to the original or even more inflated. I didn’t notice any difference. I didn’t obviously think there was anything different between halves.

Q: When you initially tested the balls, did you think you would have noticed if the balls were under-inflated at that time?

TB: I don’t know. I guess it’s a challenging thing. I’m not squeezing the balls. That’s not part of my process. I grab it, I feel the lace, I feel the leather, I feel the tack on the ball. That’s really what you go for. It’s not like I ever squeeze the football. I just grip the football. I think there’s maybe a little bit of a difference of how I do that.

Q: What about the fact that you had better numbers after they exchanged the balls?

TB: Yeah. Like I said, I didn’t think any differently in the second half as I did in the first half. I know we had a great second half. It was due to great execution by a lot of great football player. Like I said, I know that’s obviously what they said. They inflated them. I didn’t notice a difference. I wish I could tell you something different. I just didn’t notice a difference.

Q: Bill Belichick said the team will inflate the balls over the minimum requirement from now on. Is that going to be an adjustment if 12.5 pounds is what you like?

TB: I don’t think that would make much of a difference. Like I said, I didn’t feel any difference between what was a 13-pound football or an 11-pound football the other night. That is pretty irrelevant to me.

Q: Will you lobby the league to change the rules surrounding this situation?

TB: What situation, what process would that be – about us breaking in our own balls?

Q: Making sure the balls are the proper weight throughout the game.

TB: Yeah, if they want to do that I have no problem with that. I certainly wouldn’t want them to take away us breaking the balls in. I think that’s a great thing for all the quarterbacks to have the balls in play that they want to use. Everybody has a preference. Some guys like them round and some guys like them thin. Some guys like them tacky. Some guys like them brand new. Some guys like old balls. They’re all different. And it’s leather. [When] every batch comes, they’re different. You’ve got to feel them and you try to go out and you try to use the ones that you like the best, the ones that you use in practice. You want to go out there and try to have the most possible consistency you can to go in the game with.

Q: Will you try to get the league to change the rules so you never handle a ball that isn’t the proper weight?

TB: Absolutely, if they want to check that, I would love for them to be at 12.5. Like I said, I think that’s the perfect fit for me. I know there are other quarterbacks, like I said, that may prefer more than that, but that’s what works for me. It’s all a very individual thing.

Q: Is it possible the refs may have missed this?

TB: I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t know what happened. I have no explanation for it. I don’t know what happened between the time that I touched it – really until Monday morning, I had no idea what happened with the balls.

Q: Who handles the balls after the refs hand it back to team custody?

TB: I have no idea. That’s not part of my process.

Q: Is it a ball boy or equipment manager?

TB: I have no idea. I’m preparing for the game. I would never be a part of that.

Q: Who handles the footballs during the week? If you say you like a certain ball for the game, where does that ball go?

TB: The quarterbacks always, we’ll throw the balls, and if we like a ball, then we throw it aside.

Q: Has the NFL contacted your reps, agent, anything?

TB: I’m not sure, I’d say that. They may or may not have. I’m supposed to talk to my agent after and that may be one of the things that he wants to talk about.

Q: Have you seen them on-site at all here?

TB: No.

Q: Have you heard from former players or teammates about this controversy?

TB: I’ve had a lot of great support from a lot of people and I think in a situation like this, it’s a very … Like I said, sometimes some of the toughest things you deal with end up being the best things because you realize the people that you can rely on that love you and support you through something like this. I appreciate all their support. I tell them, ‘I’m OK. Things are going to be fine. This isn’t ISIS. No one’s dying.’ But we’ll get through this and hopefully we can really start preparing for Seattle and get our mind focused there because they’re going to take all my mental energy for the next 10 days.

Q: Do you think this got blown out of proportion for absolutely no reason?

TB: I think the integrity of the game is very important. Yeah, integrity of the game is very important.

Q: Have you reached out to the equipment staff to see if they did anything to the footballs?

TB: Yeah, and they haven’t, and I believe them, and they also know how I like the balls, and I tell them how great they are before the game – ‘Perfect job, great job’. So, they know how I like it, and that’s exactly the way they are.

Q: You and Bill Belichick both said that you don’t know what happened, though you are generally regarded as being two of the most prepared guys in football. If you were sitting here or back at home, would you believe that you guys don’t know anything about how the footballs were deflated, or would you be skeptical?

TB: Everybody can have an opinion, and I think that whatever opinion people have, that’s OK by me. I think I put myself in this position where I can stand up here and deal with that. I know what I go through on daily basis. I know the process that I take. I also know what’s in my control and what’s out of my control. I think a lot of my whole life has been about focusing on the things that are in my control and trying to do the best with that opportunity and the best I can with it. If I don’t know something, I don’t know something. I don’t know what to say other than that. I just know the process that I go through and I’m very comfortable with it. Hopefully we can go forward and play a great game a week from Sunday.

Q: When you were driving home Sunday, is this the last thing you thought you’d be talking about in your press conference?

TB: Yeah, absolutely. Like I said, I had no – yeah. Thanks guys. I think Stace [Vice President of Media Relations Stacey James] said, ‘That’s it,’ about 10 minutes ago, so thank you guys.

(Transcript provided by SeattleTimes.com)