FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) – Patriots head coach Bill Belichick flatly denied Saturday that the organization did anything wrong in the so-called “Deflategate” scandal.
“I believe now one hundred percent that I have personally, and we as an organization, have followed every rule to the letter,” Belichick said during a hastily called press conference at Gillette Stadium.
Allegations surfaced Monday that the Patriots had deliberately deflated the footballs that they used during last week’s AFC Championship game in order to gain an advantage; footballs are said to be easier to grip and throw when deflated slightly below the league’s specifications of 12.5 psi.
- Background: Deflation Investigation
Belichick said the team tested their usual football preparation process and found that the pressure inside the footballs naturally dropped about one pound per square inch in a before-and-after measurement, without being purposefully deflated.
The footballs are rubbed before the game in order to get them to a texture that the quarterback desires, as Tom Brady described at a similar press conference Thursday. Belichick didn’t elaborate on that process.
He also denied that the balls were prepared in a heated environment, which was speculated as a possible cause for the alleged deflation during last week’s game. Differences in temperature can affect the pressure of the football, he said, much like cold weather can reduce the pressure in a car’s tires.
Belichick also said that the players couldn’t even tell the difference between two balls that were deflated to the degree that it’s alleged that last week’s game balls were.
“We had our quarterbacks look at a number of footballs and they were unable to differentiate a one pound per square inch difference in those footballs.”
He also expressed his frustration with the traction that “Deflategate” has achieved.
“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.”