Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he knew nothing about how the team’s footballs became deflated during the AFC Championship.
Belichick spoke at a news conference Thursday and declined to answer further questions, saying “I have told you everything I know,” after his remarks.
He said his personal coaching mentality was always to make things difficult for players in practice and that “we never use the condition of the footballs as an excuse.” He said he wanted the players to deal with more difficult situations in practice than they would during games.
Belichick came face-to-face with the media after allegations his team played with under-inflated footballs during Sunday’s AFC Championship game. He addressed the controversy right away.
When I came in Monday morning I was shocked to learn of the news reports about the footballs. I had no knowledge whatsoever of this situation whatsoever until Monday morning,” Belichick said.
Usually a coach of few words, he continued speaking and gave an uncharacteristically long explanation.
“I could 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 I have ever brought up,” he said.
Under-inflating a football could make it easier for a player to grip. A Colts player intercepted a pass from Tom Brady during the second quarter of Sunday’s game, and reportedly told his team the ball felt soft.
The footballs were switched out by the refs at the beginning of the second half.
Today, Belichick kicked further questions over to his trusted quarterback, Tom Brady.
“Tom’s personal preferences on his footballs are something that he can talk about in much better detail and information than I could possibly provide,” said Belichick.
He insisted he does not touch game day footballs.
“To me the footballs are approved by the league and game officials pre-game, and we play with what’s out there,” Belichick said.
While Belichick admitted the team preferred the footballs to be on the softer side, he offered no explanation for how they may have become under-inflated.
“I have no explanation for what happened. Thinking back on this, which I’ve done several times, I really can’t think of anything that I would have done differently based on what knew then, based on what I know now,” he said.
Belichick was peppered with questions after he finished his statement. He gave the same answer for most:
“I’ve told you everything I know…I’ve told you everything I know…told you everything I know…I’ve concerned myself with preparing and coaching the team, so some of the things like that that have been talked about that have happened, I’ve been totally unaware of,” Belichick said.
Belichick spent 10 minutes at the podium before departing and leaving questions about who, if anyone, knew of possible tampering with the game day footballs.
The NFL is investigating the situation. Belichick said the Patriots have cooperated “fully and completely” with every request.
Belichick said the team would take steps to prevent similar situations in the future by inflating footballs above the lowest permissible level.
The Patriots head coach also said he thought it was unfortunate that “this is a story coming off two great playoff victories,” and the team would continue to cooperate.
Quarterback Tom Brady was expected to speak at 3:45 p.m. Thursday.