New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick expressed “shock” at revelations that his team submitted footballs containing less pressure than the rules call for at a Thursday morning press conference.
“In my entire coaching career,” Belichick explained, “I have never talked to any player or staff member about football air pressure.”
The coach appeared to shift focus to his quarterback by saying that the media would have to discuss ball-pressure preferences with Tom Brady. He pointed out, “We all know that quarterbacks, kickers, specialists have certain preferences on footballs.”
Belichick maintained that he discovered the controversy Monday morning, noted that his team practices with slick footballs in poor conditions to prepare for the worst, and insisted that the team has cooperated with the NFL to the fullest extent possible.
The NFL found that 11 of 12 Patriots game balls fell below the 12.5-13.5 psi demanded by the rulebook. The discovery came about after a second quarter interception by Indianapolis Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who submitted the ball to the referees. The Patriots won Sunday night’s AFC Championship Game 45-7.
The grim-faced Belichick spoke in his customary terse, stoic fashion on Thursday morning. The three-time Super Bowl winner maintained, “I had no knowledge of the various steps involved in the game balls and the various process that they went through when they were prepared.”
The New England Patriots face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49 in Glendale, Arizona, a week from Sunday.