New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick held an “impromptu” press conference on Saturday in an attempt to put the Deflategate scandal to rest.
According to Bilichick the Patriots conducted its own internal investigation to find out how the air pressure on 11 of the 12 balls the team used in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts ended up testing below the NFL’s minimum requirement of 12.5 lbs per square inch (PSI) of air.
“At no time, was there any intent whatsoever to try to compromise the integrity of the game or to gain an advantage, quite the opposite,” he said. “We feel like we followed the rules of the game to the letter in our preparations, in our procedures, and in the way that we handle every game that we competitively played as it relates to this matter.”
The investigation consisted of a simulation in which the Patriots replicated the process they go through on game day to determine how the balls could become deflated during the game.
For instance, according to Belichick, the process the team uses to break-in the footballs to create the “right feel” and texture, raises the footballs’ PSI by approximately 1 lb.
After the football preparation process is completed, the Patriots deliver the footballs to game officials in the official’s locker room, they ask that the balls be inflated at 12.5 PSI, but that is ultimately up to the officials’ discretion.
But once the footballs leave that locker room “controlled environment” and enters the field, the footballs then adjust to “atmospheric conditions” to reach its “true equilibrium” of the ball is critical to the measurement.
“Clearly, all footballs are different. So footballs that come out of a similar pack, a similar box, a similar preparation, each football has its own unique characteristics because it’s not a man-made piece of equipment,” he said. “It’s an animal skin.”
Then there are variances in measurement accuracy when using different gauges, he explained.
According to the Patriots’ test, when the footballs– which were inflated at 12.5 PSI in the locker room assuming that is what happened on the AFC championship game day as requested– were measured out in the field, the measurement was down 1.5 pounds PSI.
“I’m embarrassed to talk about the amount of time I’ve put into this relative to the other important challenge in front of us,” he said referring to the Super Bowl. “I’m not a scientist. I’m not an expert in footballs. I’m not an expert in football measurements. I’m just telling you what I know.”
If you are confused, you are not the only one.
It’s not just that the science was hazy, it was also the fact that he said he has no expertise on the matter and that he may not have use any “science people” per se in the process. (A conclusion I have drawn from this short exchange in the Q&A session after the press conference: Q: There was a lot of science talked about today. Did you have any science people help you with your investigation? A: “We talked to a lot of people.”)
One thing he made clear, however, during his press conference.
“This is the end of this subject for me for a long time. I’ve spent more than enough time on this.”
If you need more clarity on Belichick’s scientific explanation about how the balls were deflated due to weather conditions, click here.
Click here for full press conference video.