Patriots teammates said they did not believe it was possible for quarterback Tom Brady to have impacted the level of inflation of footballs in the AFC Championship game. In a news conference Thursday, Brady said he did not alter the footballs in any way.
No one has more contact with the football and more to gain by adjusting the ball to his liking than Brady. But when it comes to the idea that Brady might have been involved in secretly deflating footballs to gain an edge, Brady’s teammates do not agree.
“I feel like he has more important things to worry about than the pressure of the football,” said running back LeGarrette Blount, who ran for three touchdowns in the game against the Colts.
Backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has spent most of this year learning how Tom Brady does things. By the time Garoppolo got into the Colts game Sunday, the refs had already switched in the properly inflated emergency balls.
Garoppolo said he couldn’t believe the idea of Brady tampering with the balls the refs had checked before the game.
“He’s got so many other things to do, why would he – I just can’t even imagine it. I never really thought about it, I don’t know, I just always kind of went out there and whatever kind of ball you had just throw it,” said Garoppolo.
The players receiving passes or hand-offs from Brady also said they had a hard time picturing Brady altering the balls.
“It’s a crazy thought but we all do it the right way here, and the guys that play against us, they know we do it the right way, and they know that we got a lot of high-character guys in this locker room – guys that work hard, put a lot of work in, and we earned those wins,” said running back Jonas Gray.
While some players and many opposing fans may question how Tom Brady and the Patriots do things, Patriots players insisted they and their quarterback “do their job” in a way they’re proud of.
“I think it’s important to us that we respect the game and deal with things in a way that’s considered, you know, professional, and dealing with things in a way with integrity, I mean, that’s important to all of us in this locker room and I think it’s important to all of us in this organization,” said wide receiver Matthew Slater.