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Tuesday’s media day for the Patriots featured some interesting quotes from quite a few players as they met with reporters in Arizona leading up to Sunday’s showdown with the Seahawks.

There were some entertaining moments, including Rob Gronkowski singing Katy Perry’s “Roar”, among some other good quotes from Robert Kraft, Darrelle Revis, LeGarrette Blount, and many others.  Here are some of the highlights:

From Patriots owner Robert Kraft:


“I love being around the guys. There isn’t one guy in our locker room that I wouldn’t be pleased to have at our dinner table.” – Robert Kraft (USA TODAY Images)

– Kraft spoke at length on Tuesday about the admiration he has for the players in the locker room, saying there’s not one player he wouldn’t welcome into his own home.  “After my family, my team is my passion,” said Kraft.  “I love being around the guys. There isn’t one guy in our locker room that I wouldn’t be pleased to have at our dinner table. They’re great guys. I can relate to all of them. That’s just fun for me. I would pay to do it. I guess I am.”

– He also gave some insight into his thoughts of Pete Carroll’s tenure in New England, saying he shoulders part of the blame for their lack of success while Carroll coached the team.  “When I hired Pete, I was coming off my first experience as an owner,” said Kraft.  “He’s pretty special to be around. He’s a lot of fun. He’s not your typical head coach in the NFL. He’s also very smart, and especially in defenses, very capable.  Coming off the situation I had been in – although I had a great coach – I believed in more checks and balances like my other businesses, and I think I handicapped Pete from doing as good a job as he could have done because I was coming off a situation I was reacting to. So, then when I was privileged to hire Bill Belichick, I think my evolution as an owner and trying to understand how to be a good owner and run a franchise, I think I matured to the point where I knew how to set it up and then see how the person performed. I think having Bill Belichick as my head coach, I don’t think I could have a better one. I also think my partner, Paul Allen, has done very well with Pete Carroll. So, it will be fun on Sunday.”

– Kraft also said that Rob Gronkowski’s demeanor in the locker room is a big asset to his teammates.  “He’s really the same guy,” said Kraft when talking about the difference between Gronkowski as a rookie to now.  “In our next life, a lot of people might want to be Rob because he never has a bad day. It’s great for the locker room. When he walks through the locker room, his spirit, sense of camaraderie and no matter how many injuries he’s had, he’s always upbeat and positive. He’s just a great guy to have around. His levity always loosens things up.”

From Cornerback Darrelle Revis:


“We found a way as a team, as a unit, to go out there and stick together and play just tough football and play great ball and we did that.” – Darrelle Revis
(USA TODAY Images)

– On Tuesday, Revis talked about the adversity the team dealt with in 2014, and he’s proud that the Patriots are in the position their in.  “Our schedule was very tough,” said Revis. “It was tough. We played against some great quarterbacks, some great teams. We found a way as a team, as a unit, to go out there and stick together and play just tough football and play great ball and we did that. Overall, we had ups and downs. There was the controversy with deflate-gate and all of that, but that’s adversity. Adversity strikes every time and I think as a team, as a whole, we’ve handled that well. There’s one more game and we are just trying to weed that out and focus on our ultimate goal and that’s holding up the Lombardi Trophy.”

– When asked about the fact Jets fans have to see him wearing a rival uniform, Revis put the blame in that decision on Jets management for letting him go to begin with.  “It’s not really my fault,” said Revis.  “I didn’t make the call. Management made the call at that time and they felt it was best to get rid of me. So that’s the situation. That’s how I look at it.”

– Revis also admitted he’s been impressed with what he’s seen from teammate Devin McCourty.  “Devin, he’s outstanding,” said Revis.  “He’s been outstanding before I got here and he’s continuing to be outstanding. I feel like he’s the best free safety in the league. He has so much range out there. He’s so fast. I think the biggest thing I respect him for and appreciate him is how he studies the game and how he knows the game so well. He’s a student of the game and he works so hard at it. It’s crazy. It’s pretty awesome to get feedback from other guys and see how hard they work.”

From Linebacker Rob Ninkovich:

– Ninkovich talked about his opportunity to play in the Super Bowl, and he’s excited about Sunday’s game.  “Really, having the opportunity is huge,” said Ninkovich. “For me, it’s capitalizing on another great opportunity. We worked very hard to get to this point, so we’ve just got to go out there and play well in all three phrases.”


“We worked very hard to get to this point, so we’ve just got to go out there and play well in all three phrases.” – Rob Ninkovich
(USA TODAY Images)

- The veteran told the media Tuesday that he’s got a good relationship with former Patriots linebacker Roosevelt Colvin.  “He’s a great guy,” said Ninkovich. “He texts me all the time. We talk, and he’s a really good dude.”

– Ninkovich had some kind words for teammate Vince Wilfork, who he admits is one of the players he works very well with.  “Playing with Vince is awesome,” said Ninkovich.  “His experience and his ability to communicate with me during the game is huge. When you’re with somebody, when you’re next to somebody for a long time, the communication has to be really good, but also you really don’t have to talk too much to know what he’s trying to do or what I’m trying to do. That’s maybe a hand signal, maybe looking at him and saying, ‘Hey, I’m doing this,’ and just give him a little eye, and he understands what I’m doing. Having him back this year was awesome. There’s nothing like having a big body next to you that can take up two guys.”

– While talking about his mindset for achieving his goal, Ninkovich said he believes that going after what you’re passionate about is the key to success.  “Just the never giving up mentality and continuing to fight, going after what you’re passionate about and what you aspire to do,” said Ninkovich.  “I think that you can go after your goals and go after things that you want to do. I’m a big believer in putting all your eggs in one basket. Some people say don’t do that, but I put it all on what I want to do. If I don’t make it, then I’m better for going after it.”

– He also admitted that the film “Rudy” is one he watched before the Patriots match-up against Indianapolis.  “I’m not going to lie, I watched it last week before the game just to get me going,” said Ninkovich.  “I’ve been watching that movie since I was a kid.”

From DT Vince Wilfork:

– Wilfork said on Tuesday he’s been impressed with what he’s seen from Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch.  “Yeah, he’s unbelievable,” said Wilfork.  “This team is built to run the football. They are built to play football. You look at this time – everything in a football team you want, they have. They have the right mindset, the physicality, they make plays, their playmakers make plays all the time. It seems like they’re always in tune with the game. They’re a really good fourth quarter football team. They play really, really good situational football. We’re going to have to be at our best the whole game to be successful against this team.”


Insert Caption Text Here.
(USA TODAY Images)

- The veteran talked about what it was like to be sidelined last year with his Achilles, and he missed being out there with his teammates.   “Me being out of football last year, it was one of those things that I never imagined being hurt and being away from my teammates and not being able to be on the field with them,” said Wilfork. “My main goal this year coming back was to make sure I was healthy and help my team win. I think we all play football because it’s a team effort. It’s not just one individual. We have a bunch of individuals doing their job, which leads to team success. My goal to the team was to come back healthy and better than I was and hopefully we can get the job done moving forward. Everything I thought about in the offseason – the way I trained, everything that I did, everything was set up for the team – not just my myself, but as a team. I knew if I was at my best, everybody around me would be at their best. That’s how I approached this offseason.”

– He admitted on Tuesday that he had read about the odds against him making a proper recovery and being able to play at a high level, but that didn’t stop him from proving people wrong.  “I was reading all these stories about a person my age, my size, coming back from this injury,” said Wilfork.  “Sometimes I tell people I’m not human. Don’t put me in that stat, and I believe that. That’s one of the most things that really drove me, just to hear all the gallows saying that I can’t come back off of it because of my weight and my age and all that stuff. When I went to work I went to work. My training staff, they got me right. My people back home in Florida got me right, my wife got me right. I literally killed myself every day to make sure I’m all right (coming off his injury), and I think I’m as strong as I’ve ever been, and I’ve never looked back from it.”

– Wilfork had some nice things to say about his wife Bianca, who he credits for pushing him. “She’s always been my rock. No matter what happened – good or bad – she’s always right there and the one person I can always come to and get the truth. Being out of football last year, she was the one person that really pushed me to the limit. She woke me up every day at 5:00, 6:00 in the morning and we’d work out three times a day. Sometimes we’d go to bed at 10:00, 11:00 at night just because she knew how important it is to me, and I thank her for that. She’s the one who really got me in tune and got my mind to saying, ‘What I need to do now in my career is this.’ We looked at it and said, ‘This is going to be a challenge,’ but at the same time, I’m always up for challenges. She pushed me to the max. I’m very grateful to have her in my life.”


“That’s all I know is hard work.” – Julian Edelman (USA TODAY Images)

From WR Julian Edelman:

– Edelman had some kind words for his former college coach at Kent State, Doug Martin, on Tuesday, giving him credit for believing in him and helping him get to where he is today.  “Huge part. Coach Martin is one of the only coaches who believed in me that I could play quarterback at a Division I level. He’s a part of where I am at right now, so I am very thankful for him.”

– The veteran receiver talked about Gronkowski, who he said is just a lot of fun to have in the locker room.  “Rob is a great teammate,” said Edelman.  “He’s a big goofball, a big baby. All he cares about is football and football. You love having him in the locker room. He makes things fun. He works hard. He’s all about this team. It’s great to have him. He’s one of the best.”

– When asked why the Patriots are so good, Edelman came back with a pretty good answer.  “I don’t know. I think there’s a common factor there, of this guy named Tom Brady,” said Edelman.  “He’s pretty good. He and we have some coaches that work their tails off. The scouting department knowing who they want and all of that kind of stuff. They all work together. I don’t know, you’d have to ask Coach (Bill) Belichick on that one.”

– Edelman also talked about where his work ethic comes from, and he credited his parents for that.  “That’s all I know is hard work,” said Edelman.  “I’ve had a father who I watched growing up that I wouldn’t see in the morning and he’d come home at 5 o’clock at night and he did that every day. I don’t know if that’s from him or it’s in the blood or whatever, but that’s kind of how we do it in my household. My mom has been a hard worker, whatever she had to do, she did it. I guess it would have to go through there.”

From TE Rob Gronkowski:

– A media member tried to bait the tight end into making a bold prediction for this weekend’s match-up.  It didn’t work.  His response?  “The game will be on Sunday.”


“Definitely don’t take the game for granted anymore.” – Rob Gronkowski.
(USA TODAY Images)

– Gronkowski was asked about the experience of being sidelined the past couple of years while he battled injuries, and he told the media he doesn’t take football for granted anymore.  “It’s definitely a tough experience, man,” said Gronkowski. “Definitely don’t take the game for granted anymore. It’s an honor to be out there on the field with my teammates and all. Throughout the whole year, especially this time of the year, going to the Super Bowl, being out on the practice field, helping my team do its job and just going out and practicing hard. I’m super excited for this game Sunday.”

– When asked about battling Seattle’s defense, Gronkowski also said that the opportunity to battle the best defense is “an honor”.  “Always. You always want to play against the best,” said Gronkowski.  “This is what the Super Bowl is played for, going against the best. It’s a great opportunity to see where we’re at when we get out on the field. Definitely an honor to be going against a very good defense.”

– Who’s the worst dancer on the team?  “Julian Edelman,” said Gronkowski. “He’s the worst dancer.”  The best?  “Best dancer? I mean, since I’m the only one who really whips out my dance moves, I’d have to go with myself.”

– When asked when he started feeling healthy, Gronkowski said that in Week 5, everything “just kicked in”.  “Totally back to my old self,” said Gronkowski.  “I mean, coming out of training camp I got competitive and treated my knees all week. It just all kicked in. My body felt good. Going into that Cincinnati game in Week 5, everything just kicked in and I felt good.”

– Gronkowski told reporters that he’s liked having the Microsoft Surface tablets on the sideline this season.  “The tablet? You get pictures right there,” said Gronkowski.  “You get to see the defense right there, right after the play when you come to the sidelines. That’s a pretty cool technology now. You get to see what defense they’re in, where they’re at and then go out to the next series. It’s all on a tablet. That’s pretty cool.”

From RB LeGarrette Blount:

– The Patriots running back said on Tuesday that he has plenty of respect for the Seahawks defense but he’s confident heading into this weekend. “Obviously they’re a pretty good defense,” said Blount. “They were good enough to get here, they were good enough to get here last year, so we are going to put a plan together to hopefully make sure we come out victorious.”


“I’m excited to be a part of something special and be a part of the reason why we’re here.” – LeGarrette Blount
(USA TODAY Images)

– Coming off of his big performance against Indianapolis in rainy conditions, Blount said that it meant a lot that the team trusted him to carry the ball as much as he did. “Just the fact that they trusted me enough to carry the ball that many times and put the game in my hands, it means a lot,” said Blount. “I’m excited to be a part of something special and be a part of the reason why we’re here.”

– Blount had some kind words for Brady, and feels having him as his quarterback always gives them a good chance to win. “Personally, I feel like he’s probably going to go down as the best quarterback to ever play the game,” said Blount. “When he’s on your side, you always have a chance of winning the game, no matter what the score is or who you’re playing against.”

– A lot of has obviously been made of Seattle’s defense, but Blount made it clear he’s not scared of them by any means. “I don’t care about them being the top defense, that doesn’t bother me,” said Blount. “They were good enough to get here, just like we were good enough to get here. They’re not immortal. They can be beaten.”

– The veteran emphasized ball security during his press conference, which is an area he said he’s focused on. “I’ve always been told that you can’t win the game without the football,” said Blount. “If you give the football away you have no control of the game. We have to continue to protect it and continue to have it in our hands as much as possible and don’t let it hit the ground and don’t let anybody else get ahold of it. You can’t win the game without the football.”

– Blount discussed why he’s been such a good fit in New England, but emphasized the fact they have the best QB on their side as one of the key reasons they’ve been so successful. “No, they’re a winning franchise, before I came apart of it and now that I’m a part of it,” said Blount. “They’ve always been a winning franchise and obviously they’ve got the best quarterback in the league on their side and it’s always hard to beat him. Once you have the best quarterback in the league and possibly the best quarterback in NFL history on your side, you always have a chance to win.”


Patriots head coach Bill Belichick strongly denied the allegations against his team on Saturday, and it appears that this latest report may further reinforce the innocence of his football team.

The story surrounding “Deflate-Gate” just got a little more interesting Monday night.

FoxSports’ Jay Glazer had a source on Monday afternoon that told him a Patriots locker room attendant went somewhere else with the footballs in question, adding further fuel to the fire in the league’s investigation that has sparked an unbelievable reaction and exploded into a media story that has gotten out of hand.

Per Glazer’s Tweet, the league seemed to have “a person of interest”, with evidence that may have potentially offered some credence in this whole investigation against New England, who have been battling these allegations since winning the AFC Championship last Sunday after defeating the Colts 45-7 at Gillette Stadium.

Tweeted Glazer, “Breaking news: sources tell @FOXSports the NFL has zeroed in on a locker room attendant w Patriots who allegedly took balls from officials locker room to another area on way to field. Sources say they have interviewed him and additionally have video. Still gauging if any wrong doing occurred with him but he is strong person of interest.”

And that’s where the story takes quite the turn.

Late Monday night ProFootballTalk.com revealed exactly where the attendant went, and it appears he went exactly where many people kidded he might have gone on his way out to the field.

He went to the bathroom.

According to the website, surveillance footage shows he was in there for 90 seconds, which isn’t anywhere near the amount of time required to change the air pressure in a bag of footballs, check them, and put them all back in.

As a matter of fact, it’s barely enough time to do his business and get out of there.  Which now leads to the next investigation the league should look into.

Did he wash his hands before he gave the balls to the officials?

Either way on Monday night, Kraft told the media that if the Patriots are cleared of any wrongdoing in this investigation he expects the league to apologize for putting his organization’s integrity and credibility into question.

Needless to say, it looks like if the ProFootballTalk.com report is true, he may potentially get his wish.


Robert Kraft made some strong statements Monday night, and said he expects an apology from the league if the investigation ultimately finds they didn’t do anything wrong. (USA TODAY Images)

STATEMENT FROM PATRIOTS OWNER ROBERT KRAFT ON MONDAY NIGHT:

“On the plane ride out here, I prepared a few remarks, which I’d like to read to you. On behalf of the entire organization, I want to express what an honor it is to be here and represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. I know how difficult it is to get to this game, and I appreciate the work of everyone who helps host the event. We are anticipating a great game against the defending Super Bowl Champ Seattle Seahawks.”

“Given the events of the last week, I want to take a minute to address the air pressure matter, before we kick off this week’s media availabilities. I’ve spoken with coach Belichick. I’ve spoken with Tom Brady. I have taken the opportunity to understand to the best of my abilities what goes on in the preparation of game day footballs and I want to make it clear, that I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots have done nothing inappropriate in this process or in violation of NFL rules. Tom, Bill and I have been together for 15 years. They are my guys. They are part of my family and Bill, Tom and I have had many difficult discussions over the years and I have never known them to lie to me. That is why I am confident in saying what I just said and it bothers me greatly that their reputations and integrity, and by association that of our team, has been called into question this past week.”

“As I said on Friday in my prepared statement, we welcome the league’s investigation and the involvement of attorney Wells. I am confident that this investigation will uncover whatever the facts were that took place last Sunday and the science of how game balls react to changes in the environment. This would be in direct contrast to the public discourse, which has been driven by media leaks as opposed to actual data and facts. Because of this, many jump to conclusions and made strong accusations against our coach, quarterback and staff, questioning the integrity of all involved.”

“If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team and in particular coach Belichick and Tom Brady for what they have had to endure this past week. I am disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled and reported upon. We expect hard facts, as opposed to circumstantial leaked evidence to drive the conclusion of this investigation.”

“In closing, I would like to say to all the fans of the National Football league and especially the amazing fans of the New England Patriots that I and our entire organization believe strongly in the integrity of the game and the rules of fair play, properly, equitably and fairly enforced.”


Pete Carroll is likely hoping for a repeat when his team takes on the Patriots next Sunday in Arizona.

This is the time of year where players are obviously banged up, but the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl certainly isn’t going to keep Seattle All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas out of action next weekend against New England.

Thomas, who injured his shoulder in the NFC Championship game, told the team’s official site after landing in Arizona that when you’ve got the opportunity to prepare for the biggest game in the world, that environment “makes it better” and he expects to be out there against the Patriots.  The veteran missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but participated in the team’s Friday session.

Having already won one championship last year, the Seahawks are obviously focused on trying to make it two in a row, something that hasn’t been accomplished since the Patriots did it in 2003-2004.  It would be quite a feat and Thomas admitted that he felt like he was in a movie and reliving a dream.

“Since I was a little kid, every time I got hurt I always came back in the game,” Thomas told the website. “I played third base on my All-Star baseball team and a lined ground ball hit me in my mouth. I was wearing braces at the time, so my lip got stuck to my braces. I had to go to the emergency room. My dad said, ‘Do you want to play? Do you want to go back and play?’ I was like, ‘Of course.’

“So this is me. I love competing. And I’m just glad. We’re reliving our dream. It feels like a movie.”

CARROLL HAS HIS TEAM FOCUSED:

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has come a long way since his days in New England, and with his team back in the hunt for another title he’s got them in the right mindset as they get set to begin their preparations for their showdown against the Patriots.

Carroll had two words for his team before they headed off to Arizona, which were “stay humble”, trying to remind them of the task at hand.  Carroll’s no stranger to big games, especially having already led them to one title, as well as the success during his tenure at USC which included two national championships.

“I think this is a good challenge,” Carroll said via Seahawks.com. “Like I told the guys today, this is a challenge to maintain the humility that you need, that is necessary. There is so much pomp and circumstance and following and praise and everybody’s patting you on the back and all that kind of stuff.

“We need to stay balanced and stay in the middle, and make sure we don’t sway from where we normally are and hold on to the mentality and the focus that helped us get to these kinds of situations. I think that’s the big deal. We’ve been through the playoffs and the matchups and those kinds of thing and that kind of conversation. But it’s more about how this whole media thing elevates the focus and attention, and we want to do it really well and handle it really well and make sure that we’re ready and capable of playing like we’re capable come game time.”

BENNETT CALLS DEFLATE-GATE “PROPAGANDA”:

Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett hasn’t been paying much attention to the “deflate-gate” story that’s been playing out across the country surrounding the Patriots, and as far as he’s concerned it sounds like he’s not reading too much into it.

Bennett, who told the Seattle Times that he was watching “Dora the Explorer” with his three daughters during Belichick’s news conference on Saturday, feels it’s nothing more than one big story line to add more build up to what should be a tough match-up.

“I think it’s all propaganda, just to get a chance to build the game up,’’ Bennett said via the newspaper. “It’s all inflating the game right now. It’s like just to make it even more worth it than what it’s really about. It’s really just about us, two great teams, playing. I think a lot of people are shying away from that aspect of it. They have the Patriots, who are arguably one of the best teams of this decade, and we’re starting to try to catch up to where they’re at and what they’ve done in the last 10 years. Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches of all time. I think people are forgetting that. The coaches going and the players playing, it’s too much about the balls. Hopefully everybody starts to talk about the game again.”

CARROLL SET TO HAVE A TALK WITH LYNCH:

Marshawn Lynch’s obscene gesture in the NFC Championship game cost his him $20,000 this week, and apparently officials have already warned the team that it will cost them 15-yards in the Super Bowl should Lynch pull the same move next Sunday should he score against the Patriots.

With that in mind, Carroll acknowledged that he’ll be having a conversation with his star running back, and said that the situation will be addressed.

“I haven’t talked to him yet about the thing that came up with the league, but that will be addressed,” Carroll said via ESPN on Sunday when the team arrived in Arizona. “I think he’s going to have a great Super Bowl week and have a great time doing this and playing in this game.”

SEAHAWKS BOOED IN PRO BOWL:

There weren’t any Seahawks participating in Sunday night’s Pro Bowl, but they found out what fans in Arizona thought of them after receiving a less than warm welcome from the home crowd.

There were five players for Seattle who were elected to attend the NFL’s annual All-Star game, but since they’re playing next weekend in the Super Bowl, they obviously declined.  However, they did make an appearance during the contest, with safety Kam Chancellor, running back Marshawn Lynch, cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Earl Thomas and linebacker Bobby Wagner each on hand to take in the game.

Midway through the first quarter they were announced to the crowd, who booed them.  Not that it should be that much of a surprise.  With the game being played in the home stadium of the Arizona Cardinals, clearly fans aren’t happy to see their NFC West rivals with an opportunity to celebrate a Super Bowl title on their home field.

That would be the same as the Jets playing in the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.  Fortunately the odds are pretty good that won’t happen, not because Gillette Stadium probably won’t be a host for the foreseeable future, but because that would require the Jets to get there – which is the even less likely scenario.


Outworking their opponents has always been what has made Bill Belichick’s team successful, and Saturday proved that he’s not O.K. with people questioning their integrity. (USA TODAY Images)

After a week of hearing reports with accusations and assumptions about how his team intentionally deflated footballs last week against Indianapolis to clinch another AFC Championship, Bill Belichick had clearly heard enough.

As he walked up to the podium on Saturday (fashionably late, 30 minutes past the original announced start time), he led off the press conference by letting everyone know that he had looked long and hard at the situation learning “more than he could ever imagine” about the topic as it pertains to what goes into the process of testing footballs on gameday.  He spoke sternly and with purpose, bubbling with frustration about a week that was likely spent answering questions internally about things that didn’t involve a football game.

Enough was enough.  At some point Saturday a meeting was held and rather than wait for the NFL to get involved, it looks like Belichick decided it was time to fire back and said he felt that as an organization, “we need to say something.”

And off he went, explaining exactly what he thought had happened.  He went into great detail about a study they had done to simulate the same conditions from both before last week’s game and during, trying to figure out how it could have affected the air pressure in those 11 footballs.  He revealed that the majority of focus when it comes to the footballs is the texture of the ball, which typically undergo a relatively vigorous rubdown (Belichick wouldn’t get into specifics on how vigorous, pointing out they’re “not exactly polishing fine China”) to prep them to get them to where Tom Brady prefers them grip-wise.  They talked to people to try and get a handle on how the loss of pressure within a football could have dropped below what the league deems a legal threshold in an effort to figure out accusations that he admitted earlier in the week were shocking, probably not realizing just how out of hand it would all get.

Granted one day removed from his own retaliation, there are already plenty of media outlets dismissing it as rubbish, although one would have to wager that if you asked them if they’ve done their due diligence of running through the same process to see if it matched what the Patriots found, the likelihood would probably reveal that none of them had.  It’s much easier to sit there and continue to throw rocks at an organization that fired back with a cannon on Saturday, shooting down the conspiracy theories that made it seem as though espionage had occurred somewhere deep inside the belly of Gillette Stadium for 11 of 12 balls to drop below an acceptable level.

Meanwhile, while they’ll quickly dismiss it, it doesn’t change the fact Belichick and the Patriots went to great lengths to reach the conclusions they did.  He also wasn’t speaking about theories and what he “believed” happened.  He told the world what they do every week, and simulated it to try and get down to the bottom of it and the results revealed an answer that no one is going to like simply because the outcome doesn’t help the vultures who were waiting – and many still are – to go in for the kill.

This whole situation has been a waste of time and as a result, rather than being able to figure out how to contain Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch next weekend in Arizona, Belichick had to use the same approach he uses to solve every challenge he faces, and that was to educate himself fully on the situation and solve the problem.  He had to waste time trying to figure out exactly what happened in an effort to ensure the organization doesn’t have to endure some ridiculous penalty by the NFL for a crime they didn’t commit.

That’s the most frustrating part of the situation.  All week the league hung New England out to dry, offering up nothing other than “we’re investigating the matter” and little else while both the national and local media outlets around the country tore apart what the Patriots had done, taking what should have been a monumental achievement and tearing it to shreds.

Listening to Belichick as he got deeper into his statement, that’s the part that seemed to upset him the most.  You could almost hear him getting angrier and angrier as he went on, and the normally restrained coach finally let loose, letting everyone know that he believes his team earned everything they’ve gotten and not only that, they’re the best team in the AFC both for what they did during the regular season, and both games they won to get where they are.  Part of the reason why they’ve reached this point is because they’ve trained harder than anyone to get there, and that’s a point he drove home.


They’re a physically and mentally tough team that works hard, that trains hard, that prepares and have met every challenge that I’ve put in front them. And I know that, because I work them every day.” – Bill Belichick (USA TODAY Images)

“Again, anyone who has seen us practice knows that we make it harder, not easier, to handle the ball and our players train in conditions that a lot of people would recommend that we not drive in,” said an exasperated Belichick.  “That’s what they do. They’re a physically and mentally tough team that works hard, that trains hard, that prepares and have met every challenge that I’ve put in front 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, and that’s what this team is and I know that because I’ve been with them every day and I’m proud of this team.”

This was a waste of his time.  Anyone who has ever been accused of something they didn’t do knows how infuriating that is, especially in situations where they’re forced to go to great lengths before they’re exonerated, which often times leads to nothing more than getting them off the hook without even a “sorry” for being accused to begin with.

As it stands, Belichick knows they didn’t do anything wrong and it sounds like he believes they did everything well within the guidelines and shouldn’t be in this position.  As a matter of fact, it sounds like he may have some issues of his own that he’ll be taking up with the league, which should be interesting in terms of seeing how that plays out.

“We feel like we followed the rules of the game to the letter in our preparations, in our procedures, and in the way that we handle every game that we competitively play in as it relates to this matter,” said Belichick.  “We try to do everything right, we try to 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 in everything that I can do, we did everything as right as we could do it.  And 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. And this is the end of this subject for me, for a long time.”

It’s been a long week full of being fired upon from all directions.  The Patriots are already in a no win situation in that even with a win next weekend there will be whispers, questioning the integrity of an organization that hasn’t had a losing season since 2000.  It’s too difficult to imagine a group committed to sacrifice and winning and outworking everyone to get there.  That makes too much sense.

However, each year Belichick figures it out, much like he figured out what happened last weekend that caused the psi in a football to drop and kicked off this witch hunt.   While the game of football may also be considered a science and one that he’s been able to master pretty well over the years, he ended up having to study science itself to solve one more challenge that he shouldn’t have had to deal with.

But like anything else he dealt with it, and Saturday he wanted to let everyone in the media know how wrong he felt it all is.  This will go down as one of the biggest moments in Patriots history simply for the fact that the coach who has established himself as the one of the best ever fought back like we’ve never seen him do before.  As far as he’s concerned, don’t question their integrity.  Don’t question their desire and what it took to get where they are. His team is in this position because they’ve been the best and deserve to be here, and nothing involving psi in a football had any effect on that.

End of story.  We’re on to Seattle.

Bill Belichick Goes After a Reporter About SpyGate Question

Bill Belichick came out on Saturday for an impromptu press conference and was there for one reason and one reason only, to set the record straight about accusations that have clouded his team’s win over Indianapolis after being accused of deflating footballs.


One reporter asked about SpyGate on Saturday, and Belichick didn’t back down.
(USA TODAY Images)

But one reporter tried to tie in the team’s past history of run-ins with the NFL that cost them a previous penalty back in 2007 in the infamous “SpyGate” incident.

Belichick didn’t back down, and went right after him.

“I mean, look, that’s a whole other discussion,” said Belichick after the reporter tried to question him following an earlier statement that the team tries to err on the side of caution when it comes to the rules.  “The guy’s giving signals out in front of eighty thousand people, O.K.? So we filmed him taking signals out in front of eighty thousand people like there were a lot of other teams doing at that time too, O.K.? But forget about that. If we were wrong, then we’ve been disciplined for that.”

The reporter then said that the team didn’t err on the side of caution then.

“The guy’s in front of eighty thousand people,” Belichick shot back.  “Eighty thousand people saw it, everybody’s sideline saw it, everybody sees our guy in front of eighty thousand 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.”

And that was the end of that.  But it clearly showed how Belichick feels about that incident, and it’s pretty obvious that it’s still a sore subject given the fact it was a widespread practice by other teams as well.  But give him credit for hitting those questions head on during what was quite the epic press conference on Saturday.

Belichick Fires Back, Should Deflate Accusations


Belichick was out in front of the media on Saturday, and he came out swinging. (USA TODAY Images)

The Patriots have been quiet on the “deflate-gate” topic following Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s initial meeting with the media this week, and it appears after having some time to try and get it down to the bottom of what might have happened, he pulled a surprise news conference Saturday and hit the issue head on.

Belichick came out swinging on Saturday, armed with some pretty solid information after the team conducted its own study this week to get down to the bottom of why the accusations of illegally deflating footballs came to be.

During his extensive and thorough explanation, Belichick said the team simulated their same game day preparation, putting the footballs through the same “vigorous” preparation they’re normally put through to get the grip to where quarterback Tom Brady likes them.  What they found was that caused the psi to rise approximately one pound.  They found that process, which artificially raised the air temperature within the football, coupled with the difference in temperature over the course of the game, caused an outcome that provided a logical explanation for the drop in air pressure and subsequent accusations.


Belichick was holding a trophy at the end of last week’s game and less than 24 hours later saw his team accused of deflating footballs.
(USA TODAY Images)

“So we simulated a game day situation in terms of the preparation of the footballs and where the footballs were at various points in time during the day or night as the case was Sunday and 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 and that process, we have found, raises the psi approximately one pound,” explained Belichick on Saturday.  “So that process of creating a tackiness, a texture, the right feel, whatever that feel is, it’s 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 balls, multiple examples in the process as we would do for a game.

“It’s not one football. When the balls 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.”

Belichick went on to explain that the process of the potential air pressure change is similar to what people experience on a day-to-day basis with their vehicles when the light about low pressure in their tires comes on, and then goes away once the car gets going.

“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’s 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,” said Belichick. “So the atmospheric conditions as well as the true equilibrium of the ball 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 and I mean, that just didn’t happen.”

Belichick went on to say that he’s embarrassed at the amount of time they’ve spent on this instead of their preparations for the Seahawks next Sunday, but that he felt it was more important to let everyone know that they’ll continue to do everything right the way they always have.

“So I just want to share with you what I’ve learned over the past week,” said Belichick.  “I’m embarrassed to talk about the amount of time that I’ve 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 [My Cousin Vinny Reference] of the football world as she was in the car expertise area, all right? And 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, and in the way that we handle every game that we competitively play in as it relates to this matter.

“We try to do everything right, we try to 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. And in this case I can say that we are, as far as I know in everything that I can do, we did everything as right as we could do it. And we welcome the league’s investigation into this matter.”

It was the most emphatic fans have seen him in a long time, and hopefully after what they’ve learned, the league will close the book on the matter so the focus can shift back to where it should be, and that’s on who is about to become the World Champion next week.

Here’s the full transcription of Bill Belichick’s press conference on Saturday with the Patriots media.

OPENING STATEMENT:

“So 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 ball preparation, rubdowns, and so forth… 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 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% that I have personally and we as an organization have absolutely followed every rule to the letter and 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’s certainly other things that I can do and there’s maybe other research that can be done, but I’d say at this time I definitely have enough information to share with you.  And so based on the events of today, I feel like now’s the time to do it rather than wait and so 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 explained on Thursday, the most important part of the football for the quarterback is the feel of the ball.  I don’t think there’s any question about that.  And the exterior feel of the ball is not only critical, but it’s also very easily identifiable.  When I feel a football, I can feel the difference between slippery and tacky.  I can feel the difference of the texture of the ball of to what degree it’s broken in.  If you put five balls out there, which ball’s broken in the most, which ball’s broken in the least, that’s easy to identify and that’s the essence of the preparation.  We prepare our balls over time and we use them in practice, and that preparation process continues right up until the balls are given to the officials prior to the game.  That’s when they are finalized – if I can use that word.  I would say that in that process, I’ve handled dozens of balls over the past week.  The texture of the balls is very easy to identify.  The pressure of the balls, 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, and 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.”

“So we simulated a game day situation in terms of the preparation of the footballs and where the footballs were at various points in time during the day or night as the case was Sunday and 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 and that process, we have found, raises the psi approximately one pound.  So that process of creating a tackiness, a texture, the right feel, whatever that feel is, it’s 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 balls, multiple examples in the process as we would do for a game.  It’s not one football.  When the balls 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, it’s whatever we have here, is what we have there.  When the footballs go out onto 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, 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, and 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 balls reached an equilibrium without the rubbing process, after that had run it’s 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 retested 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. So if there’s activity in the ball 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 twelve and half, if that’s in fact what they did, that once the ball reached its equilibrium state, it probably was closer to eleven and a half.  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 or 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’s 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.  So the atmospheric conditions as well as the true equilibrium of the ball 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 and I mean, 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 and the accuracy of one gauge relative to another, there’s variance there, we’re talking about air pressure, all right? So 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 ball has its own unique individual characteristics because it’s not a man-made piece of equipment.  It’s an animal’s skin, it’s a bladder, it’s stitching, it’s laces and each one has its own unique characteristics. So 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 has really taken place.  So when we hand the balls to the officials, the officials put them at, whatever they put them at, but let’s just say it’s twelve-and-a-half, 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 and honestly it’s never been a concern.  So 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 and 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 of ones they could pick out, but they were also wrong in some of the other ones that they had.  So you’re welcome to do that yourself and I can tell you from all of the footballs I’ve handled over the last week, I can’t tell the 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 ball and 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 and have met every challenge that I’ve put in front 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, and that’s what this team is and I know that because I’ve been with them every day and I’m proud of this team.”

“So 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’ve 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, all right? And 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, and in the way that we handle every game that we competitively play in as it relates to this matter.  We try to do everything right, we try to 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.  And in this case I can say that we are, as far as I know in everything that I can do, we did everything as right as we could do it.  And 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. And this is the end of this subject for me, for a long time.  O.K.?  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… I mean 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’s a lot of things here that are a little hard to get a  handle on and again, there’s a variance in so many of these things.”

“So I’ll take a couple questions, and then I’m moving on.”

On if the NFL shares with him the pregame documented psi:

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

On if he doesn’t know if they documented it:

“Look, Tom [Curran of CNNSE], we could sit here and talk about some of this stuff for two hours.  All right?  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.”

On if he feels after the work he put in this week if they’ll be exonerated:

“I just told you what I think. That’s what I think right there.”

On if the game preparation has been compromised over the time they’ve spent on this:

“Well, I’ve spent a lot the week game planning, a lot of this week, yeah.”

On if he feels that any of it was compromised spending time on this:

“Look, I told you, I thought this was an important issue and we addressed it.  So we did.”

On reiterating that he felt it was the atmospheric conditions and trusting that the officials filling the balls to 12.5 psi:

“Look, you take the atmospheric conditions out of it, because if the balls are measured in the same atmospheric conditions, than it’s a non-factor.  But if you measure a ball in a controlled condition like this and you measure a ball on, let’s just say the night that we played Baltimore, there’s no way they’re the same.  You take that ball and set it outside and the ball 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, you know, it probably is the same.  So no, that’s not the issue, although depending on where balls were measured and how they were measured, I mean, that’s a whole other discussion.  The situation is the preparation of the ball caused the ball to, I would say, be artificially high in psi when it was set to the regulated level and then it reached its equilibrium at some point later on, an hour, two hours, into the game, whatever it was, that that level was below what was set in this climatic condition.  I think that’s exactly what happened.  And I think anybody who  wants to do those experiments should go ahead and do it 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.”

On the fact he tries to err on the side of caution and stay on that side of the rules, but the videotaping, it was clear that they were pushing that:

“I mean, look, that’s a whole other discussion.  The guy’s giving signals out in front of eighty thousand people, O.K.?  So we filmed him taking signals out in front of eighty thousand people like there were a lot of other teams doing at that time too, O.K.?  But forget about that.  If we were wrong, than we’ve been disciplined for that.”

On the fact that’s clearly not trying to err on the side of caution:

“The guy’s in front of eighty thousand people.  Eighty thousand people saw it, everybody’s sideline saw it, everybody sees our guy in front of eighty thousand 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.”

On the fact he just said they always err on the side of caution:

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

On if they had any science people help in the investigation:

“We talked to a lot of people.”

On how much time they spent on it:

“I don’t know, I didn’t log it.”

On if he’s relieved by what he found with their investigation:

“Look, I came in here Thursday and I told you that I didn’t have any answers.  And I’m very confident in the things that we’ve talked about, the study that we did, the going through with a fine tooth comb, everything, I’m 100% confident in everything that 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.”

On if that’s a “yes” that he’s relieved by their study:

“I did what I did, no, I’m not using those adjectives.  I told you what I did, that’s what it is.”

On if he thinks there’s something that happened for it to rise 1.5, did they put them in front of heaters, dryers:

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

On when they’re preparing it, what made it rise:

“You rub it, you try to get the texture the way the quarterback wants it.”

On the fact he’s just trying to establish…

“I just said that.  And I said that in no time was the ball ever put in any type of a heated environment.”

On them rubbing the football vigorously…

“We rub it to get the ball to the proper texture.  I mean I don’t know what’s vigorous, what isn’t vigorous, I mean we’re not polishing fine China here.  We’re trying to get a football to the proper texture that the quarterback wants it to grip it.  Does that stimulate something inside the ball to raise the psi?  I would say yes, it does.”

On after all the research they’ve done what they do differently moving forward:

“Well, you’re getting into another whole area here.  You’re getting into a another whole area as it relates to the next game. Yes”

On if they’re trying to prevent it [Inaudible]:

“That’s exactly right.  And that’s exactly why this whole process was done, for that very reason.  And I don’t know the answer to that question, but that’s a very important question.”

 

 

Belichick On Deflated Footballs: “I Had no Knowledge Whatsoever”


“I had no knowledge whatsoever about this situation until Monday morning.” – Bill Belichick

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick met with the media on Wednesday and was surprisingly candid during his opening statement as it related to the “Deflate-Gate” story that continues to rage on following the team’s victory over the Colts on Sunday.

Belichick told the media that he was unaware of the situation until Monday morning, saying he had no knowledge and that he’s learned more about ball pressure in the last three days than his entire 40-years of coaching.

“When I came in Monday morning I was shocked to learn of the news reports about the footballs. I had no knowledge whatsoever about this situation until Monday morning,” said Belichick (via PFT).  “I’ve learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I knew — or had talked about — in the last 40 years that I’ve coached in this league. I had no knowledge of the various steps involved in the game balls, the process that happened between when they were prepared and went to the officials and went to the game, so I’ve learned a lot about that. Obviously, I understand that each team has the opportunity to prepare the balls the way they want, give them to the officials, and the game officials either approve or disapprove the balls, and that really was the end of it for me, until I learned a little bit more about it the last couple days.”

One thing we know about Belichick over the years has always been his philosophy as it pertains to ball security, which is why in practice he’s always made the footballs as bad as possible with the intention of giving players the worst situations to deal with so that they could be ready for any type of condition on the field.

That was a point he made as he addressed the media, and that he has never had any sympathy for players who complain about the condition of the football.

“Let me just say that my personal coaching philosophy, my mentality, has always been to make things as difficult as possible for players in practice, and so with regard to footballs, I’m sure that any current or past player of mine would tell you that the balls we practice with are as bad as they can be,” said Belichick.  “Wet, sticky, cold, slippery, whatever. However bad we can make them, I make them. Any time that players complain about the quality of the footballs, I make them worse, and that stops the complaining.

“So we never use the condition of the footballs as an excuse. We play with whatever, or kick with whatever we have to use, and that’s the way it is. That has never been a priority for me, and I want the players to deal with the harder situation in practice than they’ll ever have to deal with in a game. Maybe that’s part of our whole ball security philosophy.”

Belichick also went on to say that moving forward, the Patiots will make sure the footballs are inflated higher than above the minimum limit to prevent any potential situation where they would fall to a level below the minimum limit.  But his general response was consistent to what he’s always said about the weather, or any other situation. The condition of the footballs has never mattered, and that they’ll play with what’s out there.

“I can tell you that in my entire coaching career I have never talked to any player, staff member about football air pressure. That is not a subject that I have ever brought up. To me, the footballs are approved by the league and game officials pre-game, and we play with what’s out there. And that’s the only way that I have ever thought about that.”

Belichick didn’t add much beyond that, saying that they’ll continue to cooperate with the league, and that he’s disappointed the stories are centering around this and not the two terrific victories from his football team.

“The National Football League is investigating the situation. We have cooperated fully, quickly and completely with every request that they have made, continue to be cooperative in any way that we can. I have no explanation for what happened, and that’s what they’re looking into, so I can’t comment on what they’re doing. That’s something that you should talk to them about.”

“It’s really unfortunate that this is a story coming off two great playoff victories by our football team and our players, but again we’ve been cooperative with the NFL investigation. We’ll continue to do so, and we’ll turn all our attention, focus on the Seattle Seahawks.”

He ended the press conference shortly after, following a flurry of questions that were mostly responded with, “I’ve told you everything I know” and “I don’t have an explanation for what happened.” It ended shortly after that.

REPORT: NFL Finds 11 of 12 Patriots Footballs Under-inflated

It appears that things just got interesting.

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com, the NFL has found that footballs used by the Patriots against the Colts Sunday night were indeed under-inflated, with 11 of the 12 footballs used by the team in the AFC Championship game found to be under-inflated by two pounds each.

The findings only add further fuel to the fire on this discussion, which has been dominating most of the stories in the media since New England advanced by blowing out the Colts 45-7 at Gillette Stadium to clinch the Conference Championship.


ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that 11 of the 12 balls used by the Patriots Sunday night was under-inflated.
(USA TODAY Images)

Mortensen reports that one source within the league is, “disappointed … angry … distraught,” after spending considerable time on the findings earlier Tuesday and the big question now will be what penalty will be handed down by the league, and who they’ll hold responsible.

It’s interesting to note that the majority of the officials, who handle the ball after every play, didn’t seem to notice and one report from Newsday said the investigation stemmed from linebacker D’Qwell Jackson’s second-quarter interception.  After giving the ball to a member of the Colts’ equipment staff, that person noticed the ball seemed under-inflated and he then notified head coach Chuck Pagano. Colts GM Ryan Grigson was then notified, followed by Grigson taking matters into his own hands and notifying league officials, who then notified the on-field officials at halftime.

If changes were made, they didn’t slow down the Patriots, who ran off 21 points in the 3rd quarter.

The next question will likely be trying to figure out exactly when the balls were altered, if that was indeed the case.  The league rules specifically put them in the hands of the officials, who are the ones who open them and they’re checked at that time.

From the offiical NFL Rule book: “The home club shall have 36 balls for outdoor games and 24 for indoor games available for testing with a pressure gauge by the referee two hours prior to the starting time of the game to meet with League requirements. Twelve (12) new footballs, sealed in a special box and shipped by the manufacturer, will be opened in the officials’ locker room two hours prior to the starting time of the game. These balls are to be specially marked with the letter “k” and used exclusively for the kicking game.”

The balls are required be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch, although it’s unclear what the number was that the league found during their investigation.

The team didn’t comment on the reports, although Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski each dismissed the news, with Brady laughing off the report on the radio, while Gronkowski added his thoughts on Twitter.

Obviously what happens now and what penalty the league imposes remains to be seen.  It’s enough to make you wonder, if Brady doesn’t throw the interception, does this story even come to be considering the officials seemingly didn’t notice anything abnormal?

As Greg Bedard mentioned on Twitter, the next thing that will need to happen – at least in fairness to New England – will be having each of the footballs the Colts use tested as a comparison.  If that investigation finds no alteration to any of the balls they used, that obviously wouldn’t be good news for the Patriots.

Needless to say, it doesn’t look like this story will be going away anytime sooon.  If nothing else, it’s likely only going to become that much more heated in the days ahead.


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