Tom Brady addressed the media Thursday afternoon regarding the “Deflate-Gate” scandal. ESPN reported Wednesday that the NFL found eleven of the twelve footballs used by the Patriots in Sundays AFC Championship game against the Colts were significantly under-inflated.
Brady took a similar approach as his head coach, Bill Belichick, did earlier this morning by pleading that he had nothing to do with the deflation of the footballs.
“I was as surprised as anyone on Monday morning to hear what was happening,” Brady said in his press conference.
Brady explained that it is the equipment staff who deals with the footballs before they are brought to him. Brady then picks out the footballs he likes, and they are not to be messed with until game time.
“I have no knowledge of anything, no knowledge of any wrong doing,” said Brady. “I didn’t know there was anything different. I assumed [the footballs] were the same – both first half and second half… Once I’m on the field I have no thought of the football. I am thinking about the defense. I’m not thinking of how the football feels.”
Brady explained to the media that he prefers his footballs to be inflated to exactly 12.5 pounds per square inch. NFL rules state that all game balls must be between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch. Eleven of the twelve balls used by the Patriots on Sunday were found to be two pounds under the required pressure. League sources confirmed that the footballs were properly inspected and approved by referee Walt Anderson approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes before game time.
Despite knowing the exact ball inflation pressure he prefers, Brady said of Sunday’s footballs, “I didn’t feel any difference… When I felt them, they were perfect… I don’t think anybody knew there was an issue with the balls.”
Brady, who looked slightly uneasy through out the entire press conference, also mentioned, “I think there are a lot of people who have more information than me … I felt like we won the game fair and square.”
Immediately following the press conference, “NFL Live” analysts and former NFL players Mark Brunell, Jerome Bettis and Brian Dawkins all expressed that they had a tough time believing Brady’s plea of innocence.
NFL rules state that if a player is found tampering with game balls, that player faces a $25,000 fine and possible further discipline. Earlier this week, NFL senior executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent, said the league expects to wrap up its investigation by Friday.
We’ll see how this one plays out. To watch clips of Brady’s press conference on NFL.com, click here.