Tom Brady prefers his footballs to be just on the verge of under-inflation. He said it in 2011 and he said it again in a half hour press conference Thursday afternoon in which he looked unusually flustered.
“I like them the way I like them, 12.5 (PSI) is a perfect grip for a football,” Brady said Thursday to the media.
NFL rules state that footballs need to be inflated with 12.5 to 14.5 pounds per square inch.
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A report by Pro Football Talk said that Brady also addressed “Deflate-gate” with his teammates on Thursday and told them he prefers his footballs “a certain way.”
In 2011, the Patriots quarterback was joking to WEEI sports radio about tight end Rob Gronkowski and how he spikes the football after entering the end zone.
“When Gronk scores – it was like his eighth touchdown of the year – he spikes the ball and he deflates the ball. I love that, because I like the deflated ball. But I feel bad for that football, because he puts everything he can into those spikes.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick got into the numbers game Thursday, hinting that the original report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen in which it was stated that the Patriots’ footballs were under-inflated by 2 pounds may have been exaggerated.
“If a ball deflated from 13.2 to 12.9 it wouldn’t matter,” Belichick said. “If it deflated from 12.5 to 12.3 it would.”
The (no pun intended) pressure shifted from Belichick to Brady quickly on Thursday as Belichick repeatedly denied having any knowledge of the situation.
“I think we all know that quarterbacks, kickers and specialists have certain preferences on footballs,” Belichick said. They know a lot more about it than I do. They’re a lot more sensitive to it than I am and I hear them comment on it from time-to-time. They will tell you there is never any sympathy whatsoever from me on that subject. Zero.
“Tom’s personal preferences with his footballs are something he can talk about in much better detail and information than I could possibly provide.”
ESPN obviously broadcast the Brady press conference live and after No. 12 said he had“no knowledge of any wrongdoing” when it came to deflated footballs, current ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Mark Brunell claimed Brady was lying.
“I do not believe what Tom had to say,” Brunell said. “Those balls were deflated, somebody had to do it and I don’t believe there’s an equipment manager in the NFL that would, on his own initiative, deflate a ball without the starting quarterback’s approval. I just didn’t believe what Tom Brady had to say.”