Tom Brady, the star quarterback of the New England Patriots, held a press conference yesterday to address the Deflategate scandal in hopes of putting the matter to rest so that the public can go back to focusing on the Super Bowl.
The problem is, he didn’t really answer much more than Bill Belichick, the Patriots’ head coach, did a few hours before in a press conference of his own.
Both men said they were not informed about the allegation that the Patriots used underinflated balls during Sunday night’s AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts until the next morning.
“I didn’t alter the ball in any way,” he said. “I would never do anything to break the rules or have anyone do anything that I thought was outside of the rules.”
Brady confirmed that after he picks the footballs– for Sunday night’s game he picked 24 footballs– he goes to the locker room to prepare and that he doesn’t get the footballs again until he gets out in the field.
When asked (several times) how come he did not notice that the footballs were under inflated during the first half of the game, Brady said that he was focused on the game and not on “squeezing” the football to see how it feels.
“Once I am out in the field, I don’t think of the football. I think about the defense, the execution of the play and what i need to do,” he said. “I get the snap, I draw back, I throw the ball. I grip it and I try to throw the ball. That’s the extent of me touching the football. I don’t sit there and try to squeeze it. If that’s what the Colts want to do that’s their decision.”
According to Brady, he was not informed at any point during the game, even though there was about a minute delay for the start of the third quarter, that the balls had been swapped because they were not properly inflated and in violation of NFL regulations.
Needless to say, some are not convinced. When asked whether he was a cheater, Brady said “I don’t believe so. I feel like I have always played within the rules” an answer that was regarded as a half-hearted and insincere.
Part of the reason people are not buying it is that Brady has said in the past that he likes his football on the lower end of the regulatory spectrum. Another issue is that the Patriots have a checkered past.
“I like them at 12.5, perfect grip for the football,” he said.
But to the skeptics, Brady said everyone is entitled to their opinion and that they have the right to believe whatever they want.
Brady said that he was comfortable saying that nobody on the Patriots side did anything wrong to the balls but didn’t want to speculate on what would happen if someone is held accountable and that it’s the League’s responsibility to find out what happened. But as of the time of press conference, Brady confirmed that he had not been contacted by the League’s investigators yet about this issue.
Mr. Brady’s tone was a lot more “somber” this time around. When he was first asked about the controversy on Monday morning during a interview to Boston WEEI Sports Radio, Brady laughed it off.
“I was shocked to hear it… I laughed it off thinking it was more sour grapes than anything,” he explained. “It’s very serious, the integrity of the sport is very important.”
When a reporter asked whether it was time to say “I’m sorry” to the fans of the NFL and Tom Brady, he said:
“I think it’s disappointing that a situation like this happens. Obviously I would love to be up here talking about, in a very joyful mood, these are the best two weeks of the year if you happen to be one of the two teams still playing.”
The Patriots beat the Colts 45-7, and will face the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl on February 1st.
“I feel like we won the game fair and square,” he said. “Everyone is trying to figure out what happened.”
It seems the NFL is putting its ducks in a row just to fire some poor equipment technician at the end of the totem pole for misconduct (if the investigation finds the footballs were tempered with) or for incompetence (if the investigation finds that the balls were not properly prepared according to the rules). That the League’s investigators haven’t even talked to Brady yet shows their lack of commitment to getting to the truth. Putting one heavy hitter after another in front of the media, only shows that the League is committed to clearing up the big shots’ names and then sacking some lower level employee making this whole thing go away as fast as possible. We will have to wait and see how much more this story will unfold and how many people will tune in to watch the Super Bowl on Feb. 1st.
FYE, here are some quote outtakes from Tom Brady’s Deflategate press conference: “Im not a conspiracy theorist;” “I don’t know what happened;” “I have no idea;” “This isn’t ISIS… no one is dying;” and “the integrity of the game is very important.”