New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick Thursday morning said he had “no explanation” for how 11 of his team’s 12 game balls were under inflated in last Sunday’s AFC Championship game.
“I have no explanation for what happened,” he said at the press conference.
Eleven of the Pats’ 12 game footballs on Sunday were under inflated by 2 pounds per square inch of air, according to ESPN. New England defeated the Indianapolis Colts in that game 45-7 to advance to the Super Bowl, where they will face the Seattle Seahawks.
The Pats have drawn criticism over the deflated balls. Some have said an under inflated ball is easier to handle and catch and that New England therefore had an unfair advantage. The scandal has become known as “Deflategate” or “Ballghazi.” The proper inflation limits are 12.5 pounds to 13.5 pounds per square inch of air.
At a separate press conference late Thursday afternoon, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady denied altering the footballs “in any way” and added that he had no knowledge of “any wrongdoing.”
“I’m very comfortable saying that,” he said.
Responding to a question about whether he was a cheater, “I don’t believe so. I feel like I’ve always played within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules. I respect fair play.”
He said the NFL had not yet spoken to him about their investigation into the matter. He said he did not know how the balls became under-inflated.
“I wish I could give you more answers, the answers you are looking for,” he said.
The two-time MVP added, “I don’t like the fact that this has taken away from what we accomplished.”
Belichick, meanwhile, said he “never” touches the game balls.
“In my entire coaching career, I have never talked with any player, staff member about football air pressure,” said Belichick. “That is not a subject I have ever brought up.”
He added, “To me, the footballs are approved by the league and game officials pregame and we play with what’s out there.”
He was peppered with questions about his integrity. In classic Belichick fashion, he deflected most of the questions.
“I’ve told you everything you know,” he said.