New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady claimed “no knowledge” of deflated balls in the AFC Championship Game.
At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Brady maintained: “I didn’t alter the ball in any way.”
“I have no knowledge of anything,” Brady explained. “I have no knowledge of any wrongdoing.”
The two-time MVP said that the NFL has not contacted him yet on the matter and that he discussed the matter with New England’s equipment staff and that they deny altering the balls. Brady said he believes them.
Brady said he likes a ball inflated at the 12.5 pounds-per-square-inch minimum. “Everybody has a preference,” he conceded. “Some guys like them round. Some guys like them thin.” A winter-capped Brady says he doesn’t think about footballs once the game starts. A reporter noted that Brady went 9 for 9 to start the second half with the fully inflated balls. Brady said he didn’t notice a difference between the first half balls and the ones used in the second half.
A D’Qwell Jackson interception of a Brady pass in the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game led to referees inspecting the balls. The NFL ultimately determined that 11 of 12 balls supplied by the Patriots didn’t meet minimum air-pressure requirements mandated by league rules.
In his Thursday morning press conference, New England head coach Bill Belichick professed “no knowledge” of why the balls lacked the required air. The three-time Lombardi Trophy-winning coach maintained, “Tom’s personal preferences on his footballs are something that he can talk about in much better detail and information than I could possibly provide.”
The three-time Super Bowl-winner acknowledged the seriousness of the issue: “The integrity of the sport is very important.” At the same time, he offered, “This isn’t ISIS. No one’s dying.”
“I believe in fair play,” Brady proclaimed, “and will always believe in that for as long as I’m playing.”