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Bill Belichick on Deflategate: Top Comments, Reaction on Patriots Scandal

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2015

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Four days after the New England Patriots' 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game, Pats head coach Bill Belichick took the podium to discuss the Deflategate scandal. On Saturday, he spoke about the topic again, insisting the team abided by the rules.

Continue for updates.


Belichick Says Patriots Followed Rules

Saturday, Jan. 24

The Associated Press provided video of Belichick's press conference on Saturday:


Belichick Denies Team's Involvement in Deflating Balls

Thursday, Jan. 22

New England's win has been somewhat overshadowed by the discovery that 11 of the 12 game balls used by the Patriots were under-inflated.

Belichick spoke for several minutes about the controversy, and he started by claiming that he was totally unaware of any potential issues with the footballs, according to NFL.com's Marc Sessler:

Marc Sessler @MarcSesslerNFL

Belichick: 'I was shocked to learn of the news reports of the footballs,' adding: 'I had no knowledge.'

The 62-year-old coach added that the air pressure of game balls is something that he has never concerned himself with, per ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss:

Mike Reiss @MikeReiss

Bill Belichick: "In my entire coaching career, never talked to any player or staff member about football air pressure."

Reiss provided more from Belichick's denial:

Mike Reiss @MikeReiss

Bill Belichick: "I was completely and totally unaware of any of this we're talking about these last couple days until Monday morning."

Mike Reiss @MikeReiss

Bill Belichick's lengthy opening statement directly addresses issue of deflated footballs. "I've told you everything I know," he says.

NFL Communications (full version here) released the league's statement on the situation:

Our office has been conducting an investigation as to whether the footballs used in last Sunday’s AFC Championship Game complied with the specifications that are set forth in the playing rules. The investigation began based on information that suggested that the game balls used by the New England Patriots were not properly inflated to levels required by the playing rules, specifically Playing Rule 2, Section 1, which requires that the ball be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch. Prior to the game, the game officials inspect the footballs to be used by each team and confirm that this standard is satisfied, which was done before last Sunday’s game.

“The investigation is being led jointly by NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash and Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss.

Over the past several days, nearly 40 interviews have been conducted, including of Patriots personnel, game officials,and third parties with relevant information and expertise.

While the evidence thus far supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first half, the footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed at the conclusion of the game to have remained properly inflated. The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action.

Boston.com's Erik Frenz had the Patriots statement as well:

Erik Frenz @ErikFrenz

Robert Kraft's statement on #Deflategate http://t.co/PxCIMYSxl5

Ultimately, Belichick doesn't believe that he or the team could have done anything to change the fact that the footballs weren't properly inflated, according to Around The NFL:

Around The NFL @AroundTheNFL

Belichick: 'Based on what I knew Sunday night. ... I can't think of anything I would have done differently.'

With that said, the three-time Super Bowl winning head coach made it clear that the Patriots have been in full compliance with the league since Deflategate became public:

Around The NFL @AroundTheNFL

Belichick: 'We have cooperated fully, quickly, completely' with the NFL's investigation.

On Friday, Jan, 23., Bleacher Report's NFL insider Jason Cole offered his take on the status of the investigation:

Much of Belichick's statement focused on the players and what type of impact the ball's air pressure might have on them.

He added that the players who actually handle the footballs are better versed on the subject, per Doug Kyed of NESN:

Doug Kyed @DougKyed

Belichick says quarterbacks, kickers have preferences on footballs, and they know more about it than Belichick.

Michael Giardi of CSNNE.com noted that the coach said Tom Brady would know more about the balls:

Michael Giardi @MikeGiardi

Belichick denying any knowledge of how footballs are prepared. Says Brady can talk about his own personal preference for the balls...

Kevin Duffy of Mass Live noted that Belichick only concerns himself with balls in practice:

Kevin Duffy @KevinRDuffy

Belichick: "my mentality has been to make it as difficult as possible for players in practice." Says he makes the balls "worse" in practice.

Bleacher Report's Adam Lefkoe and Shalise Manza Young of The Boston Globe discuss reaction to Deflategate in the video below:

Most assume that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady benefited most from the deflated footballs, and Gerry Callahan of WEEI believes Belichick was essentially deferring specific queries about that subject to Brady without actually saying it:

Gerry Callahan @GerryCallahan

Belichick in brief: Talk to Tom. The balls are Tom's business.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the decision to shift focus onto Brady was surprising to people around the league: 

ProFootballTalk @ProFootballTalk

League source with knowledge of Belichick/Brady relationship calls Belichick shifting focus to Brady "shocking."

However, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported a possible motivation for the deflection to Brady:

Charles Robinson @CharlesRobinson

Master plan? A source suggests of Belichick/Brady: IF Brady takes bullet for deflation, NFL likely won't be able to strip any draft picks.

Former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck noted that it wasn't surprising Belichick didn't know anything about the footballs:

Throughout Thursday's press conference, Belichick read from what was apparently a prepared statement, which ESPN's David Scott points to as a rarity:

David Scott @ESPNprDScott

Belichick reading from prepared notes, not something you often see him do. Do recall it was case w/Hernandez presser too. On @SportsCenter

Once the future Hall of Famer was done speaking, the media showered him with questions regarding Deflategate.

As Belichick has become so maligned for doing, however, he deflected the questions before leaving the podium.

Will Brinson of CBS Sports provided the full breakdown of Belichick's answers to questions:

Will Brinson @WillBrinson

“I’ve told you everything I know.” http://t.co/OGD2U5Q7Pk

After getting blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs early this season, Belichick famously uttered the phrase, "We're on to Cincinnati," over and over again.

According to Pro Football on ESPN, he had a similar go-to phrase Thursday:

NFL on ESPN @ESPNNFL

"I've told you everything I know. I don't have an explanation." Bill Belichick after being asked multiple times about #DeflateGate

In the end, Belichick didn't necessarily offer any new information, and he responded in a way that most probably would have expected.

There is no way of knowing for sure who was responsible for the state of the footballs in the AFC Championship Game, but Belichick has since denied any culpability.

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