Belichick addresses 'Deflate-gate,' says Patriots followed 'every rule to the letter'

Bryan Llenas reports from New York


New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Saturday that his team didn’t cheat by using underinflated balls, declaring that the New England Patriots followed “every rule to the letter.”

At an impromptu press conference the head coach of the New England Patriots said the game balls for last Sunday’s AFC Championship game were not underinflated by anyone on the team.

“I believe now 100% that I have personally and, we as an organization, have followed every rule to the letter,” Belichick said.

He also said,  "At no time was there any intent to compromise the integrity of the game."

Belichick said the organization conducted a lengthy investigation into how the footballs are prepared before games.

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He said what he discovered was that every football was different. He said the balls are rubbed to provide Brady a better grip and that this could affect the pressure of the balls.

“It’s clear that I don’t know very much about this area,” Belichick said. “For the last few days, I’ve learned a lot more than I ever knew, like exponentially more. I feel like this is important because there have been questions raised.”

He said Tom Brady and the team’s other quarterbacks could not tell when a football was uninflated, less than 12 ½ pound per square inch.

“A couple ones they could pick out, but they were also wrong on some others,” he said. “I can’t tell the difference.”

He addressed rumors the game balls were prepared in front of a heater, saying that was not the case.

Towards of the end of his remarks, Belichick stated that he and the team would never do anything to compromise the integrity of the game.

He also said it was time to get ready for next Sunday’s Super Bowl against the defending champs the Seattle Seahawks. The game will be played in Arizona.

“This is the end of this subject for me for a long time,” he said. “We have a huge game, a huge challenge for this football team. I’ve spent more than enough time on this.

On Friday the NFL said it was investigating how the Pats used underinflated balls in the first half of their 5-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts to clinch the AFC title.

Eleven of the Patriots’ 12 game balls were determined by NFL investigators to be under the legal 12 ½  limit.

“I didn’t alter the ball in any way,” Brady said Thursday at a press conference. He didn’t know how the balls wound up being underinflated.

Softer balls are generally considered easier to throw, catch and carry, especially in cold and inclement weather.