Yes, the Super Bowl has begun. But the #DeflateGate controversy will continue. In addition to the flurry of reports that emerged on Sunday regarding the pending investigation, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s interview with Bob Costas of NBC’s Football Night in America has become yet another piece in a puzzle that will, at some point, be pieced together into a picture that reveals cheating or not cheating.
The full interview appears below. The last question is the most important one, with Costas giving Brady a clear chance to say that Brady had no prior knowledge of any intentional tampering with the footballs.
“What I hear you saying is,” Costas said, “no matter what may or may not have happened, you had no prior knowledge of it.”
Brady didn’t simply agree with what Costas said and move on. Brady offered a lengthy explanation.
“I — you know, look, I’ve talked about that in the past, and I don’t want that to continue to be a story about this particular game,” Brady said. “All the facts will come out after the Super Bowl, and however those facts come out, you know, that will be news to me as well. So that process will all take place at some point. I’m excited about the Super Bowl, and that’s where my energy is. I think there was a little bit of an energy drain, like I said, with my emotions and feelings being involved earlier in the week, but, you know, I’ve got to be able to move past those things and compartmentalize those things, and be mentally tough enough to go out there and try to shine through.”
Like so many other aspects of this controversy, those inclined to believe the Patriots will claim that Brady essentially denied having prior knowledge by saying “however those facts come out, you know, that will be news to me as well.” Those inclined to suspect cheating will say Brady’s failure to offer an unequivocal denial could be aimed at providing a safe harbor in the event that, for example, someone has confessed to deflating the footballs and has claimed Brady knew.
Either way, the issue will linger for as long as it takes for the NFL to conclude its investigation, to generate a report, and to impose discipline, if any. Chances are that, regardless of the outcome, the issue will linger well beyond the moment the NFL officially closes the books on #DeflateGate.