Bill Belichick on Deflategate: Patriots followed every rule ‘100 percent’
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick held a surprise press conference on Saturday to discuss Deflategate. Hidden beneath Professor Belichick’s scientific discussion of air pressure and atmospheric conditions was a very simply message — the Patriots are confident the NFL has nothing on them.
Belichick, who said the Patriots have spent a lot of time over the past week experimenting with footballs, began by expressing confidence that his team broke no rules.
“I believe now, 100 percent, that I have personally and we as an organization have absolutely followed every rule to the letter,” he said.
Belichick then went into detail about how Tom Brady and the Patriots prepare their game balls, noting that the way the balls are rubbed down and broken in can account for a change in air pressure of around 1.5 pound per square inch when they are taken from a controlled environment (the locker room) out onto the field.
He also emphatically denied that the Patriots inflated their game balls inside a sauna or in some other type of extreme heat.
“So the atmospheric conditions, as well as the true equilibrium of the ball, is critical to the measurement,” Dr. Belichick explained. “At no time were any of our footballs prepared anywhere other than in the locker room or in an area very close to that — never in a heated room or heated condition. That has absolutely never taken place to anyone’s knowledge or to anyone’s recollection. That just didn’t happen.”
The press conference was surreal, to say the least. Belichick admitted that he is “embarrassed” at the amount of time he has spent toying with footballs over the past week instead of preparing to face the Seattle Seahawks.
While many will argue that the Patriots’ alleged internal investigation does not explain why the Indianapolis Colts’ game balls were supposedly properly inflated at halftime, Belichick noted that the Patriots inflate theirs to 12.5 PSI — the lower end that is allowed. Perhaps whatever preparation he claims the equipment managers do (rubbing, whatever else) results in the balls losing slightly more pressure. Also, the Colts could have had their footballs inflated to 13.5 PSI to start. And let’s not forget that we have yet to hear confirmation that Indy’s balls were tested.
We’re not scientists. All we know is that Belichick sounded convincing. I don’t even necessarily believe everything he had to say, but would he have said all that if he thought the NFL had some sort of proof that a ball boy deflated game balls? It seems like the Patriots are either confident they did nothing wrong or certain that the NFL can’t prove that they did.