England Patriots football head coach Bill Belichick
speaks during an NFL football news conference at
Gillette Stadium Saturday in Foxborough, Mass.,
where he defended the way his team preps its game
Mass. - Saying his team "followed every rule to the
letter," New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick
described in detail how his team prepares its footballs on
game day and defended his players from chatter that they
made it to the Super Bowl by cheating.
no time was there any intent whatsoever to try to
compromise the integrity of the game or to gain an
advantage," Belichick said in an unscheduled
availability on Saturday afternoon, eight days before the
Patriots will play the Seattle Seahawks for the NFL
the opposite: we feel like we followed the rules of the
game to the letter," he said. "We try to do
everything right. We err on the side of caution. It's been
that way now for many years. Anything that's close, we
stay as far away from the line as we can."
once again with authority on a topic he previously
professed ignorance of, Belichick said the team conducted
an internal study on the process of getting game balls
the steps are designed to make them tackier, which has a
noticeable effect on how it feels, he said, but the
process could also affect the pressure inside the ball,
which is harder to tell by touch.
not a scientist. I'm not an expert in footballs; I'm not
an expert in football measurements," Belichick said.
"I'm just telling you what I know."
Patriots reached the Super Bowl for the sixth time in
Belichick's tenure when they beat the Colts 45-7 in the
AFC championship game on Sunday. But later that night,
Indianapolis TV station WTHR reported that some of the
game balls provided by New England for the use of its
offense weren't sufficiently inflated.
said its initial investigation confirmed that some of the
footballs used in the first half of the conference title
game were underinflated. On Thursday, Belichick deferred
questions on the game balls to Brady; the quarterback also
denied any impropriety.
receiver Matthew Slater, who also serves as the team's
union rep, said Saturday that the players had been
instructed by the NFLPA not to comment on the situation.
the slow news off-days before Super Bowl week, the
allegations received disproportionate attention — and
Twitter hashtags such as "Deflategate" and
"Ballghazi" — along with comparisons to the
videotaping scandal of 2007, when the Patriots were hit
with unprecedented penalties after Belichick was caught
recording opposing coaches sending in signals from the
denied that there is a pattern of rule-breaking, or even
of pushing the rules to their limit.
was wrong. We were disciplined for it. That's it. We never
did it again. We're never going to do it again,"
Belichick said of the scandal that came to be known as
"Spygate." ''And anything else that's close,
we're not going to do either."
football lifer who only seems happy on the sidelines, if
at all, Belichick is known for an absolute attention to
detail that prepares his team for every imaginable
instead of getting ready for the Super Bowl, he said he
has spent far too much time the past week studying the
science and learning about "bladders, air gauges,
stitching, pressure, game day football preparation,
rubdowns and so forth."
embarrassed to talk about the amount of time that I've put
into this relative to the other important challenge in
front of us," he said. "It sounds simple, and
I'm not trying to say that we're trying to land a guy on
the moon, but there are a lot of things here that are a
little hard to get a handle on."
Belichick seemed most emotional when he came to the
defense of his team. Among the questions he and his
players have been asked this week is whether they cheated
to get to the Super Bowl.
praised his players, who went 12-4 in the regular season,
won an 11th division title in 12 years, made a fourth
straight trip — and ninth overall — to the conference
championship game, and have a chance for a fourth NFL
title in his tenure.
a physically and mentally tough team that works hard, that
trains hard, that prepares hard and have met every
challenge that I put in front of them," he said.
team was the best team in the AFC in the regular season.
... The best team in the postseason, that's what this team
is. I know that because I've been with them every day. And
I'm proud of this team."