New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick held a press conference yesterday to address the deflategate controversy that followed his team’s AFC champiosnhip win last Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts.
Belichick reafirmed that he first heard of the allegations that the Patriots has used footballs that were deflated below NFL regulations the next day.
“I was shocked to learn of the footballs on Monday. I had no knowledge until Monday morning,” Belichick said. “I’d say I’ve learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I knew, or had talked about it, in the last 40 years that I’ve coached in this league.”
The 40-year NFL veteran coach’s denial having any knowledge of the NFL footballs inspection and procedure on game day was hard for some critics to swallow.
“In my entire coaching career, I have never talked to any player or staff member about football air pressure,” he insisted. “The footballs are approved by the league and officials pregame, and we play with what’s out there. That’s the only way that I have ever thought about that.”
Courtesy of Patriots.com
At the end of his opening statement, Belichick took reporter’s questions to which he mostly answered: “I have no explanation for what happened” and “I’ve told you everything I know.”
Perhaps the most intriguing part of the whole thing was when Belichick shifted the knowledge reponsibility to Tom Brady.
“Quarterbacks, kickers, specialists have certain preferences on footballs. They know a lot more about it than I do. They’re a lot more sensitive to it than I am,” he said. “Tom’s personal preferences on his footballs is something he can talk about in much better detail and information than I can possibly provide.”
Belichick did vow to make changes going forward to make sure that the footballs are inflated beyond the lower NFL required limit so that if the balls lose air pressure during the games, they will still be within the required range. (According to the NFL’s Rulebook footballs must be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 inches per square inch of air.)
Tom Brady had his own press conference later in the day.
PR pros, please not that if your client is addressing a controversy that involves illegally deflated footballs, don’t put him or her in front of a sign that says “Gillette #Flexball” even if the brand is a loyal sponsor. I’m sure they will understand and give you a different backdrop to promote their organization.
Also, those rehearsed answers may be suitable but advise your client not to overdo the “I told you everything I know” and “I have no explanation for what happened.” A lot of the questions asked involved speculation and not speculating is key to a successful interview or Q&A. So maybe a variation such as “I am not going to speculate on that” or some othe variations of a non-answer answer may sound a little fresher.