Archive for the ‘ Commentary ’ Category

When it Comes to Deflate Gate, NFL Should Have Nothing Left to Say But ‘Sorry’

From the beginning there’s been something fishy about the whole “Deflate-Gate” debacle, and the longer it’s dragged on the more it’s apparent that the NFL is going to have a big problem.

They’re not going to be able to penalize the Patriots, and if anyone is going to be owed anything it’s going to be the organization who had their reputation sullied unnecessarily while the NFL fumbled through an investigation that forced the Patriots to defend themselves far more voraciously than we’ve ever seen during Robert Kraft’s entire tenure as owner.

If you ever read a document from a representative pertaining to the NFL, the letter presents itself as representing the “National Football League and each one of its 32 member clubs.”  They’re under one umbrella, although each team operates their businesses independently.  But at the end of the day any bad publicity for an individual team hurts the entire league, so it makes sense to make sure that if there is an investigation done into any wrongdoing, the team should at least be supported publicly by the league until all the facts are explored and no stone is left unturned before it escalates beyond that.

What transpired over the course of the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl was beyond egregious, and if I’m Kraft I’m less than pleased with how the whole situation was handled.  Regardless of the outcome, deflate gate will live on in the minds of the entire football world outside of New England who will pin this incident to them forever.  This may quietly go away from the standpoint that there was no wrongdoing by the Patriots, but that won’t get any near the amount of air time that the initial accusations did.

And that’s completely unfair.

Especially given the fact that each report that came out was so ridiculous. Following the initial report by Bob Kravitz out of Indianapolis about the Patriots footballs potentially being under-inflated, Chris Mortensen followed it up with a report from a source within the league’s office that 11 of 12 footballs were “significantly” below the required level. The league then leaked another to Ian Rapoport that essentially debunked it by saying the balls were just “a tick” below. Also mixed in was the report by Fox Sports that said the league was zeroing in on a locker room attendant who took the balls somewhere on his way to the field, which we later learned ended up being the bathroom. Factor in that he was only in there for 90 seconds and the only rule seemingly broken may be the unspoken one that if he used the facilities, he might not have washed his hands.

Now a report by Adam Schefter on Wednesday further muddied the situation. Schefter revealed that an employee by the league gave a different football to Jim McNally, who is an employee of the Patriots that works the officials’ locker room at the team’s home games. An initial report by ESPN Tuesday night had said that McNally “tried to introduce an unapproved ball into the game”, but Schefter reported Wednesday that McNally had been handed the ball from someone else. According to Schefter, the league’s employee has also been fired for taking the football and selling it for personal gain.  The NFL normally allocates those balls for charity.

Kraft’s team may have won a Lombardi Trophy, but he didn’t get to enjoy the road to getting there after the Patriots won the AFC Championship.
(USA TODAY Images)

That comes on the heels of the revelation by the officials during their press conference prior to the Super Bowl where they essentially admitted that they don’t actually log the psi of the footballs before each game, which makes it difficult to prove the Patriots had anything to do with the balls being below the minimum requirements by the league. Bill Belichick already dispelled any notion the Patriots did anything wrong after he came out firing on a Saturday afternoon and was visibly upset, leading off his statement by saying the team felt they “needed to say something” in response to the allegations.  He conducted his own tests to get to the bottom of how the footballs could have fallen below the required level, with their findings revealing that the difference in temperature outside was the culprit given how aggressively they work on the exterior of each football to get the texture to where Tom Brady prefers it.

The fact that we’re now finding out a football was swapped out by one of the NFL’s own, that should only further infuriate those who saw what should have been able to enjoy the culmination of an incredible playoff run go down in flames after the allegations were made against them.

Roger Goodell deserves a lot of the blame after not coming out during the process and downplaying it while the investigation was going on. Instead the mishandling of the whole process subjected the team to further abuse in the media following repeated leaks from within his office, which left the Patriots in a tough situation as it played out through the national media and in many of the other markets. It’s inexcusable, and it’s not like this couldn’t have been figured out long before it ever reached this point. After all, for a league that has massive resources, there is absolutely no reason that any investigation, no matter how big or how small, can’t be conducted thoroughly and correctly.

Most fans in New England have seen all the articles calling for Bill Belichick to be fired, Tom Brady to be suspended, with some even going so far as saying the Patriots should have been forced to forfeit their appearance in Arizona. Everyone was waiting for the Patriots to be caught red-handed and for the evidence to come out that they did, in fact, break the rules. The vultures circled overhead jumping on each leak that came out, with one tipping it one way against them, while another tipped it back. It was completely ridiculous, and it really made this more of a mess than it needed to be and many seemed like they were done in an effort to wipe some of the egg off the NFL’s face throughout this entire debacle.

Fortunately for the Patriots, they got the last laugh with their championship win, and now the icing on the cake will be for the NFL being forced to admit they screwed up.  Some believe the Patriots will receive a minor penalty and a slap on the wrist, but if I’m Kraft, any penalty should be deemed unacceptable.  Accepting a penalty is an admission of guilt, and it’s pretty clear given how adamantly the Patriots have been about the accusations that they believe they did nothing wrong and didn’t intentionally break any rules.

Kraft demanded an apology if the investigation finishes and finds they didn’t do anything wrong.  It’s just too bad it won’t undo the damage it did to the Patriots reputation, and even if Kraft gets his wish, at the end of the day it certainly won’t be nearly enough.

Wednesday’s Daily Patriots News Link Digest – 2/11/15

Edelman recently admitted a rookie fumble had him in the doghouse with Bill Belichick. (USA TODAY Images)


Patriots’ offseason likely to be about keeping core players, shifting money – Ben Volin: Volin has his “On Football” column and feels that this offseason won’t be about going on a shopping spree, but instead trying to keep their core players together.


Brady Wants to Play Forever, but How Long Will the Patriots Want Him? – Jack Andrade: Andrade has an article on Brady and wonders how long it will be before he joins the likes of many standouts such as Ty Law, Willie McGinest, Mike Vrabel,Willie McGinest, Richard Seymour and Logan Mankins who ultimately were forced out.


A sweet ride for Super Bowl hero Butler – Prisca Pointdujour: Butler finally picked up his new Chevy truck yesterday and despite all of the accolades he’s been getting he admitted that he’s “not really with all of the attention”.


Brandon LaFell looks back on Super Bowl – Mike Reiss: Reiss has quotes from LaFell after the receiver looked back at their Super Bowl victory and also mentions that he chipped Brady’s tooth on their touchdown celebration.

Hightower talks rehab process – Mike Reiss: Reiss has an entry on Dont’a Hightower, who underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a torn labrum.


Edelman To Seth Meyers: I Was In Bill Belichick’s Doghouse For Six Years – Doug Kyed: Kyed caught Edelman’s late night appearance on Seth Myers and has some good snippets from the interview, including the fact Edelman’s rookie fumble put him in the doghouse with Belichick.

Malcolm Butler Not Just A Patriots One-Hit Wonder, Has Untapped Potential – Doug Kyed: Kyed has a nice football-related read on Butler, who recalls his his thoughts after seeing the Patriots give Butler a tryout.


Patriots position-by-position breakdown: Tight end – Christopher Price: Price continues his position breakdown, with this latest version focusing on the tight ends.


NFLPA suspends agent Vinnie Porter following wire fraud arrest – Curtis Crabtree: Crabtree has an article on the fact that Porter has been suspended by the NFL Players Association after being arrested for wire fraud.  He represents a couple of Patriots, including Jonas Gray and Brian Tyms.


“Tremendous contributor” McDaniels takes the handoff – Jerry Carino: Carino has a good article on Josh McDaniel’s brother, Ben, who has made his way from receivers coach to becoming offensive coordinator for Rutgers.


Vicksburg schedules parade for Patriots DB Butler – AP: A nice article on Butler, who will receive a parade in his honor in the town of his high school and will also receive a key to the city.


Tanguay: Should Patriots pick up Revis’ option?: In this video Gary Tanguay discusses on “Early Edition” whether or not the team should opt to pick up Darrelle Revis’ option.


Super Bowl Champ Browner — RIPS Kanye West – The website highlights comments from Browner, who wasn’t pleased with the rapper’s reaction to Beck winning Album of the Year.


Patriots Quotes 2/10: LeGarrette Blount on NFL AM –  There are quotes from the Patriots running back, who talked about a variety of topics during his appearance.


Report: Former Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker considering retirement – Kevin Duffy: Duffy highlights a report on the former Patriot, who is apparently considering hanging up his cleats after “after several years of head injuries and declining production.”

New England Patriots wide receivers breakdown: Edelman, LaFell became productive tandem – Kevin Duffy: Duffy has a good read on the receivers, and writes that Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman becoming a solid group during their Super Bowl run.

New England Patriots tight ends breakdown: Gronkowski was at his best in 2014 – Kevin Duffy: Duffy also looks at the tight end position, which was highlighted by quite a season for Rob Gronkowski.

Once Again, Tom Brady Earns Super Bowl MVP Honor, Sets Records

Brady earned MVP honors during the Patriots win. (USA TODAY Images)

After leading his team back from a ten point deficit on Sunday night in Arizona, Tom Brady found himself as the Super Bowl XLIX MVP, his third time earning that honor.

The veteran completed 37-of-50 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns, and set records after eclipsing Joe Montana in career Super Bowl touchdown passes with 13, while also breaking Peyton Manning’s completion record of 34 set in last year’s blowout loss by the Broncos.

It didn’t go exactly to plan, with Brady throwing a critical interception in the first quarter in the end zone that squandered what would have likely lead to at least three points, and he threw another in the third quarter that gave the Seahawks the ball at midfield.  Seattle actually went on to score a touchdown on that drive to go up ten points at 24-14, but fortunately it would end up being their final points of the evening.

But aside from that third quarter miscue he was solid in the second half, completing 17-of-23 (74%) for 151 yards and two touchdowns, with one to Danny Amendola early in the fourth quarter to pull within three, followed by what ended up being the game-winner to Julian Edelman with just over two minutes to go in the contest.

Brady said after the game that after they really got behind he tried to remind guys that all it took was one possession to get things started, and fortunately it worked out.

“We were down 10 and we just said, ‘Look, we’ve got to put one good drive together to get us back in the game’,” said Brady.  “We made the plays. We overcame a couple of penalties and made the plays to do it and then got the ball back and then scored again. They had a great drive, made some phenomenal plays, and we made a great play in the end. These games, they’re tough. They go down to the end. Glad we finally pulled it out.”

Now here they are, finally past all the controversies and questions with the ultimate goal having been reached.  They’ve come a long way since losing to the Chiefs in week four and having everyone question whether or not that was the beginning of the end for a team that has dominated the NFL for more than a decade.

Fortunately the critics will have to wait at least one more year to question them, and Brady said he’s happy to win, and he’s also happy with the effort his team gave Sunday night.

“It’s been a long journey,” said Brady. “It’s just a great win. We left it all on the field.”

Butler helped the Patriots do something they hadn’t been able to do in their last two tries. He helped them close out a Super Bowl victory. (USA TODAY Images)

The Patriots weren’t a stranger to this situation.

After Tom Brady put together a 10 play, 64-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Julian Edelman to put New England back on top 28-24, the Patriots found themselves in a familiar scenario.

There were two minutes to go, and with a lead against the Seahawks, all the defense needed to do was come up with either a stop or a turnover to allow them to finally clinch their elusive fourth title.

But as usual, the problems that plagued them in the past came to the forefront Sunday night after Russell Wilson opened the drive with a 31-yard play to Marshawn Lynch.  That took the Seahawks from their own 20 to the Patriots 49, and four plays later, something all too familiar happened that had brought back memories that are almost too painful to think about.

After getting down to the New England 38 yard line, Wilson threw a great pass to Jermaine Kearse that Malcolm Butler made a terrific leaping play to knock the pass down, but as Kearse hit the ground he managed to fall underneath the football before it hit the ground.  The result was an amazing 33-yard completion that stunned the fans who were on hand to witness it, which more or less left everyone believing this football team was cursed considering it had shades of the David Tyree helmet catch and the miraculous grab by Mario Manningham that stole away two other opportunities for New England.

“Yeah, I’ve seen two of them,” said Belichick after the game, referring to the two big plays the Giants made against them in their previous two losses. “I thought it was incomplete and then he ended up with the ball. I saw the replay and it was a tremendous catch, great concentration. It was a tremendous catch, kind of like two other ones I’ve seen.”

In those match-ups, the result saw him walk off the field on the wrong end of the outcome, sabotaging what would have been another championship for his football team.

But on Sunday night, this was a different group and a different team. What had been missing in their two losses was for someone to come up with a big play in a critical situation, and fortunately on this night it would be Butler who would get another shot at redemption.

Facing a 2nd-and-1 from the Patriots goal line, the Seahawks took a shot at the endzone with a slant pattern that Butler sniffed out. He jumped the route and stepped in front of Wilson’s throw, snatching it out of the grasp of Ricardo Lockette and sealing the win for the Patriots.

Butler said after the game the formation tipped him off that the ball was coming.

“I knew they were going to throw it,” said Butler. “Our defensive coordinator (Matt Patricia) is real smart and with a goal line, three cornerback (formation). We knew they were going to throw the ball.”

Knowing it’s coming is one thing, being able to make the play is another and Butler was fortunately able to do something that hadn’t happened in their last two trips to the NFL’s biggest stage. He was able to make a big play, and he was glad he was able to help his team win.

“I feel good,” said Butler. “I made a play to help my team win. I’ve worked so hard in practice and I just wanted to play so bad and help my team out, I got out there and did exactly what I needed to do to help my team win.”

It was great to see from a football team that has had issues in the past in closing out the game when they had the lead. The Patriots know far too well the sting of losing a game like this, and Sunday night certainly had shades of not turning out the way they hoped.

Fortunately this time around, thanks to Butler, that didn’t happen and now the Patriots are World Champions.

Butler made the play of the night Sunday night against the Seahawks. (USA TODAY Images)

Malcolm Butler went from zero to hero in a matter of three plays, and his game-clinching interception will likely be a play talked about in Seattle for not only the rest of the offseason, but also for years to come.

In New England, had that interception not come to be, fans would likely be talking about the miraculous 33yd catch that Jermaine Kearse made at Butler’s expense after he batted down the pass and it fell in Kearse’s lap.  The majority of the football world likely let out a collective groan wondering if this would be another instance of a near miss in a game in which they battled their way back only to come up short.

But Butler jumped a slant route two plays later and picked off Russell Wilson, ending any bid the Seahawks had for a comeback while sealing a championship for the Patriots.

Tom Brady said after the game he couldn’t believe it.

“I saw the interception and couldn’t believe it,” said Brady. “It was just an incredible play. You know, what a play. A championship play. My guys made them. A lot of guys just did some great stuff out there. Took everybody. We knew it was going to take everybody. It was a 60-minute game. Just proud of how everybody played.”

Butler is now a hero and his team has won a championship as a result.  It’s definitely a nice change from some of what this team has dealt with in recent years, and good for Butler for getting a shot at redemption and taking advantage of it.

Five Reasons Why the Patriots Should Beat the Seahawks Tonight

It’s finally game day, and if the Patriots were ever going to capture that elusive fourth title, having a healthy Rob Gronkowski should be one of several reasons to hopefully allow them to do that against the Seahawks tonight. (USA TODAY Images)

Raise your hand if this has been the longest two week stretch ever.

Having seen Bill Belichick’s teams in the Patriots previous Super Bowls appearances, these are weeks that are generally spent focusing on players, match-ups and analysis leading up to what should be one of the most exciting periods of the year.  We talk about stories about players who overcome big obstacles or hardships to get to where they are, along with other heartwarming tales that help make the week a fun one for fans of both teams.

Yeah…well, not this week.

Instead we got to hear about an accusation involving air pressure in footballs based on assumptions instead of facts.  To top it all off, the officials finally admitted Friday that they didn’t even perform an actual psi check on them before the game and signed off on them, which would lead you to believe that when this “investigation” ends, the NFL is going to be in a tough spot when it comes to trying to prove any wrongdoing.

The result?  We’ve seen and heard Belichick, Tom Brady, and Robert Kraft more angry and animated than we’ve seen them during their entire 15-year tenure together, with all three delivering some pretty powerful and memorable press conferences over this span.  Those three, along with the entire team, looks to be more united than ever and as kickoff continues to creep closer, it’s hard not to quietly wonder if we’re about to see something special and historic go down later this evening.

Aside from that, here are some actual football-related reasons to believe that may actually happen:

1) Tom Brady’s had a good postseason: Unlike some recent postseasons where Brady hasn’t exactly been “Brady-like”, the veteran QB has played well, completing 66% of his passes along with having thrown six touchdowns.  He’s coming off of a three touchdown pass performance against the Colts two weeks ago in the AFC Championship game and has looked about as good as we’ve ever seen, although one would have to believe having a few more players in his arsenal this time around certainly helps, which leads us to the next reason…

2) A healthy Rob Gronkowski is going to be a difference-maker tonight: One day removed from being named “Comeback Player of the Year”, the veteran tight-end is finally entering a Super Bowl completely healthy, something he didn’t have the luxury of after Bernard Pollard’s tackle in their AFC Championship three years ago made Gronkowski a non-factor against the Giants.  This time around he’s healthy and he’s playing at a level that most of us who watch him week-to-week can’t quite appreciate because of just how good he really is. One of the reasons why he’s so good is the fact that he’s such a good blocker that teams often can’t tell exactly when he’ll sneak out and take off downfield, and that’s one of the things that makes him so dangerous. Plenty of tight ends can catch passes but Gronkowski is such a complete player, and right now he’s really playing at the top of his game. He’ll be a factor tonight, even if he doesn’t have a big night in terms of numbers. His mere presence and the threat he provides is going to open up things for other guys to play well.

3) Patriots Finally Have a Relatively Deep Receiving Core: Tonight this team heads into this match-up with all of their receivers healthy, and all of them are capable of getting open one-on-one and making a play.  Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell are obviously the Patriots’ top pass-catching threats, but tonight could also be a game where we see someone like Danny Amendola come up with a big game against a Seattle secondary that is going to be tough to deal with.  This is the best group the Patriots have taken to a Super Bowl in a while, and with Gronkowski likely to see additional attention, the odds are probably pretty good it’s going to leave someone else open to make plays.

4) Darrelle Revis Will Be an Equalizer Against the Seahawks – Obviously adding Revis has played a key role to getting the Patriots to where they are right now, but it’s hard not to believe that having him in the secondary tonight is going to play a big factor in helping them close out the game if that’s what it comes down to.  As we’ve seen, that’s been an issue in past years when the Patriots have squandered a late-game lead on this stage, but this is the first time we’ve seen guys across the entire secondary making plays and playing at a high level at this point in the year.  Having Revis out there has had such a huge impact and has helped make Devin McCourty even better at the safety position. Guys have said repeatedly that having him on the team have made them better, and with Revis likely able to at least handle his side of the field, there’s certainly enough talent overall to allow them to be effective enough to win.  Overall this secondary has played well when it’s mattered this year, and expect that to potentially become one of the story lines by the time this one is over.

5) Having Vince Wilfork Back is Bigger than You Think for this Defense: It’s hard to believe there were so many people ready to write him off coming off of his Achilles injury last season, and having Wilfork back up front has been so huge for this football team this season.  Having a big, strong, smart veteran player like Wilfork leading other guys around him in the trenches is one of those things that gets overlooked because they do a lot of the dirty work on a play-to-play basis.  He often sees a lot of double teams, which puts the onus on other guys to make plays one-on-one, and this is a group that has been able to do that this season.  They’ll face a big challenge tonight against Marshawn Lynch but if the going gets tough, having someone like Wilfork to help this group weather the storm is just so important, and they’re fortunate to have him out there.

Overall tonight’s game is going to be a good one, but if the Patriots were ever ready to go into a tough game against a good opponent, this is about as prepared as they’re ever going to be.

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 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 report is true, he may potentially get his wish.

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.

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.

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