Belichick: I had no knowledge whatsoever about deflated balls


Patriots coach Bill Belichick gave the media a lengthy statement about the accusations that his team deflated the footballs used in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Colts.

Belichick declined to answer any questions from reporters, but he did give this statement, which we’ve transcribed in full:

“When I came in Monday morning I was shocked to learn of the news reports about the footballs. I had no knowledge whatsoever of this situation until Monday morning. I’ve learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I knew — or had talked about — in the last 40 years that I’ve coached in this league. I had no knowledge of the various steps involved in the game balls, the process that happened between when they were prepared and went to the officials and went to the game, so I’ve learned a lot about that. Obviously, I understand that each team has the opportunity to prepare the balls the way they want, give them to the officials, and the game officials either approve or disapprove the balls, and that really was the end of it for me, until I learned a little bit more about it the last couple days.

“Let me just say that my personal coaching philosophy, my mentality, has always been to make things as difficult as possible for players in practice, and so with regard to footballs, I’m sure that any current or past player of mine would tell you that the balls we practice with are as bad as they can be. Wet, sticky, cold, slippery, whatever. However bad we can make them, I make them. And any time that players complain about the quality of the footballs, I make them worse, and that stops the complaining. So we never use the condition of the footballs as an excuse. We play with whatever, or kick with whatever we have to use, and that’s the way it is. That has never been a priority for me, and I want the players to deal with a harder situation in practice than they’ll ever have to deal with in a game. And maybe that’s part of our whole ball security philosophy.

“I’m trying to coach the team and that’s what I want to do. I think we all know that quarterbacks, kickers, specialists have certain preferences on the footballs. They know a lot more than I do. They’re a lot more sensitive to it than I am. I hear them comment on it from time to time, but I can tell you and they will tell you that there’s never any sympathy whatsoever from me on that subject. Zero. Tom’s personal preferences on his footballs are something that he can talk about in much better detail and information than I could possibly provide.

“I can tell you that in my entire coaching career I have never talked to any player, staff member about football air pressure. That is not a subject that I have ever brought up. To me, the footballs are approved by the league and game officials pre-game, and we play with what’s out there. And that’s the only way that I have ever thought about that.

“I’ve learned about the inflation range situation, obviously, with our footballs being inflated to the twelve and a half pound range, any deflation would then take us under that specification limit. Knowing that now, in the future we will certainly inflate the footballs above that low level to account for any possible change during the game. So as an example, if a ball deflated from 13.2 to 12.9, it wouldn’t matter, but if it deflated from 12.5 to 12.3, it would — as an example. So we will take steps in the future to make sure that we don’t put ourselves in that type of potential situation again.

“The National Football League is investigating the situation. We have cooperated fully, quickly and completely with every request that they have made, continue to be cooperative in any way that we can. I have no explanation for what happened, and that’s what they’re looking into, so I can’t comment on what they’re doing. That’s something that you should talk to them about. Again, my overall knowledge of football specifications, the overall process that happens on game day with the footballs, is very limited. I would say that during the course of the game, I honestly never — it probably has happened on an incomplete pass or something, but I’ve never touched a game ball. That’s not something that I have any familiarity with on that. And again, I was completely and totally unaware of any of this that we’re talking about in the last couple days, until Monday morning. Based on what I knew Sunday night, thinking back on this, which I’ve done several times, I can’t think of anything that I would have done differently, based on what I knew then, based on what I know now. I’ve told you the one change we would make on the initial start level of the football pressure, but that’s really about it.

“It’s unfortunate that this is a story coming off two great playoff victories by our football team and our players, but again we’ve been cooperative with the NFL investigation. We’ll continue to do so, and we’ll turn all our attention, focus on the Seattle Seahawks, a very well-coached, talented, tough football team. We’ve spent the last four days, three days, with our preparations and so forth for the trip. Those are coming to a conclusion, we’re wrapping that up, and we’re starting our preparations today for the Seahawks and practicing through the weekend so we’ll have a good, solid opportunity to get ourselves ready to go before we head down there.

“Again, I have no further comment on the NFL investigation, and I’ve told you all I know about the subject from my perspective. So that’s where we are.”

146 responses to “Belichick: I had no knowledge whatsoever about deflated balls

  1. It’s too bad that because of his past people wont believe him….I am not saying he doesn’t deserve this treatment…It’s his fault, but I bet everything he just said is true. Whether you believe him or not, I bet it was true..

  2. It’s all Tom’s fault, I’m not taking the fall for this one is essentially what he’s saying. Thank you John Madden.

  3. belichick owning the media never gets old. call me crazy, but i believe him. now if it comes that he did know, then BB is richard nixon!!…

    i think brady is the main culprit and this is coming from a lifelong pats fan.

  4. Belichick is the best!!! You are all jealous…I am so glad he is the Patriots coach!!!!!

    Grow up!!!!!!

  5. OK, so Bill says he has never previously considered air pressure in a football, but then explains that even in practice, he manipulates the balls to make it more difficult for his players.

    And we’re to believe he wouldn’t try to flip that and make it easier in a championship game?

    What does the other leg play Bill?

  6. It’s hard to sit and listen to a head coach of an NFL franchise lie like that. He’s supposed to be a grown man, not a slimy bottom-feeding worm.

  7. Based on what happened to Sean Payton, that doesn’t matter. Also, BB is a liar. Belicheat shouldn’t be allowed to coach in the SB. It’s the pinnacle of American sports, not just the NFL. How can Goodell possibly let BB, Brady, and his band of frauds play in it?

  8. As an example, if a ball deflated from 13.2 to 12.9, it wouldn’t matter, but if it deflated from 12.5 to 12.3, it would — as an example.

    Please concentrate on my example using a 0.2 psi difference, because I don’t want to have to answer questions regarding 2.0 psi difference…

  9. And in the locker room, Bill is telling his players: “They don’t think you deserve this. They think you should not be here. They think everyone is better than you.”

    Keep it up everyone, I like where this is going.

  10. Brady is behind this. Give him a Big Fine and move on. In the future, both teams use the same balls and the problem is solved.

  11. If this is no big deal, then why have a mandatory rule to govern how much ball air pressure, why does a league official inspect each ball before a game, why is the NFL investigating this at all. Because it is a big deal.

  12. Personally I believe him… The air pressure and condition of the footballs is probably something left to the QB and the equipment manager, and likely not something to really be on the head coaches list of things to check out before a game.

  13. I have no explanation for what happened

    Now this is completely true, but not for the reason people will infer. It’s not that he doesn’t know, it’s that he’s just not going to give you an explanation.

  14. Anyone that understands how this works knew what Belichick just said before he said it. The HC is not involved in prepping game balls. Brady will handle it, just like Rodgers did. Belichick’s name was only associated with this because of who he is. No other coach in the league would have been in the conversation about game balls.

  15. what you haters have to remember, after mangina told the nfl about the camera location, belichick told Godell he did film from the nonprescribed location. he did not deny what he did.

    here he is saying he knew nothing about the ball situation.

    You can believe what you ant to, but your opinion does not matter, it is up to Godell to believe or not believe what Bill says. And Godell knows he did not lie and was forthcoming the last (and only) time.

    Keep hating, keep adding your own asterisks, we don’t care, its all based on your own teams’ ineptness.

  16. Can anyone give me the Los Vegas over/under about the number of Go Pro spy cameras at the Seahawks practices?

  17. Footballs are not going to be altered without the Quarterback’s consent. This is on Brady and he might as well admit it. That being said…..I still think Belicheck knew what was going on.

  18. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought Bill put all the blame on Brady. Way to build that Super Bowl confidence. The Hawks are going to be swarming on Feb 1. Look out Tommy.

  19. The Nation has nothing but contempt for cheaters! It will rejoice as your team loses another Super Bowl in front of the world! Your teams legacy will be one of dishonor! The stain will not come out!

  20. Here’s what you could have done differently: not created a culture of cheating in New England. Even if he truly had no knowledge of the cheating, the apples don’t fall far from the tree.

    Ironic too that someone who knows the rule book so well has “no knowledge” of how game balls are prepared/maintained. But then he goes on in the next breath to talk about how he prepares them in practice for the “worst” condition of the footballs when that is a variable that can actually be controlled? Sounds like complete BS to me.

  21. And the haters and media will obviously scoff at this and accuse him of lying. I’m sure he could take a lie detector test and pass and still be accused of lying.

  22. Hey Patriots fans – I will meet you in downtown Boston on the 3rd our 4th title. This will only be Boston’s 9th world championship since 2002!


  23. that’s the most honest answer your will get from bill, and if you know him and his press conferences he just said more then he ever really says on any given subject (unless he is teaching football history to the media)

    a coach would never make a decision on a football as a football is unique preference to a qb. I welcome you to google the article on eli manning and his equipment manager.

    in it they work over the balls fro weeks in advance with a regimen of soaking them in water and running them through scrubbing machines. as well if a coach even goes near eli’s balls (no pun intended) skiba his equipment manager will scream and prevent anyone from touching them, other then eli

  24. Yu the boss. Yu responsible. I think he oughta sit out wit Terrific Tom and watch the big game from afar. Woulda whooped them colts wit one arm behind ya back. Now yu can sit on the couch and watch as ya soil ya legacy.

  25. Gee, I oversee everthing related to this football team, but I don’t know anything about the football, what we do to break them in, what my QB likes or dislikes. I didn’t know my coordinators were spying on the opposition and stealing play calls so they knew what to call next. I just coach, I don’t call plays, I don’t know about the details of this team.

    Genius not, cheater yes.

  26. I actually do believe him, why would a head coach bother himself with air pressure details….he has tons of people working for him and no doubt says to the equipment manager, “do whatever Tom and the other QBs want”.

  27. Now cue the baseless he’s lying comments…

    And the Cheatriot comments….

    and no one acknowledging the fact that most teams in the history of the game have done “what it takes”. My Raiders are notorious for it….Deacon Jones would be a nobody if he wasn’t literally assaulting people on the field….our saint of the leauge A-a-ron Rodgers says he likes the balls outside of regulation but higher…

    It’s been a known thing for what seems to me a while that teams will do anything and plenty others are doing things you’re not thinking off right now.

    This suspension and draft pick talk is garbage. You’re attacking a paper cut with chemo…slow down, apply perspective and give a fair punishment. This is not nearly as complicated as it’s being made.

  28. Not buying it. Even if he didn’t know, he is in charge so had responsibility for what is done under his watch. A very unpopular concept this pass the blame, not my fault society we have.

  29. This whole story has been inflated past the bursting point; nothing new is going to pop, all the air has been let out. Everyone needs to stop getting pumped up, it’s well past time for it to blow over.

  30. Just like “bounty-gate”, all teams bend the rules as much as possible. It seems unfortunate that it always seems to be the same ones getting called out on it. Probably due to the fact that other tend to be a little jealous of them.

  31. Greatest Coach of All Time!!!
    bills, phin and jets fans about to implode when he secures his 6th Ring!!!
    I love it!!!

  32. He’s actually telling the truth here. Many people won’t believe him, but his statement is actually true.

  33. It’s sad that no matter what BB says, the insecure haters want to believe that BB doctored the balls.

    Hopefully, the NFL will release the results soon because today the Patriots are at Gillette installing their game plan.

    We Are Onto Seattle !

    For the rest of you enjoy players from your team in the Pro Bowl.

  34. I hope the league is at least looking into the theory that the Pats were framed.

    I’m not saying the Colts did it, but it is a little suspicious that they reported the issue to the league, when even the refs couldn’t notice a difference between the balls.

  35. First thing I thought of was Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes (“I know nothing”.) I see I wasn’t alone.

  36. There’s a concept in law: “Knew or should have known”. I think it should definitely apply here.

  37. I hope the NFL has the balls (pun intended) to suspend one of these clowns from playing/coaching in the Super Bowl. Other players may have tampered with footballs prior to the SB game (Brad Johnson) but a repeat offender like the Pats who think they are above the league’s rules need to be held accountable.

  38. Bill’s smart. He would not have any interest or knowledge of the conditions of the game balls….why would he? So put it on Tom, who will be fiercely protected by the players union if any penalty is handed out.

  39. Belichick controls everything, but I’ll bet he didn’t know about the balls. Brady is the one who had it done. Why would Brady let Belichick know that he needs to cheat. That would hurt him at the negotiation table. Brady is the cheater. No Hall of Fame for Tommy.

  40. letthehatteflow: Unfortunately, this is the 2nd time they have been caught cheating. They haven’t won a SB since they got caught in Spygate. I am rooting for the Pats on SB Sunday, normally I am an NFC fan. But this has tarnished Belicheck’s reputation further. How long before Kraft pulls the plug on him? Especially since it’s cost them a boatload of money and probably this time as well.

  41. Well, I guess that settles, a coach that reads the rule book to find an edge against the Ravens, as never looked at the section on air pressure in the footballs. That is overwhelmingly believable. It is hard to believe anything that comes out of his mouth.

  42. They have to come out with the exact number on the gauge when they measured the PSI of air in the football.

    The report of it being up to 2 pounds is not enough, we need exact number!

  43. Please drop this. I believe him. Remember its a QB driven league, so why would anyone be surprised that a QB wants the ball a certain way (if true)?

  44. when ALL 12 of his footballs were pulled to be reviewed and they swapped in backup footballs, he was never notified? That seems like something the headcoach is aware of.

  45. Did the refs in the game not notice when handling the footballs that they felt lighter? And of course ole Bill going to deny having any knowledge of this just like with the other cheating scandals his team is involved in.

  46. Which part is true Bill

    1. You never talk about or think about ball condition.

    2. In practice you make they balls as hard as possible to handle and if a player complains you lake the ball worse.

  47. He had this statement written 2 or 3 years ago when he first started implementing this scheme.

  48. Seems like there was clear sabotage to screw around with the Patriot’s footballs. My guess is the Colts were involved with this and/or the Ravens and those franchises should be fined heavily. Someone owes the Patriots and Belichick a big apology.

  49. It’s funny how belicheck mentions particular numbers (I.e – 12.5 to 12.3 psi) when talking about a ball deflating during the game. I don’t think he did it just to throw around numbers. How funny would it be if mort misreported this and it .2 psi instead of 2? Couldn’t wait to hear what all the haters have to say if that’s the case.

  50. The Colts and Ravens are in on this .Pagano has lied from the get go- it then comes out that Harbaugh is involved, Brad Johnson said he paid someone to doctor the ball- I would look at Pagano, Harbaugh and the NFL officials.

  51. As the commish told Sean Payton after the BountyGate mess came out, if you didn’t know what was going on then you should have known as HEAD COACH MR. BELI-CHEAT.

  52. Haha the colts and ravens Are in on this ? I hope that is sarcasm somehow I doubt it. Yeah harbaugh sneaked into Gillette Sunday evening wearing an officials uniform and somehow deflated 12 balls after they already passed inspection. Get the heck outta here dude. Tell us how the colts or ravens are involved then buddy? I’d love to hear your take on that. For your information it actually came out that harbaugh chalked it up to it being so cold. Even though he probably just didn’t wanna be involved in any of this whatsoever . He doesn’t even want his name associated with deflate gate which is a smart move.

  53. I believe him. It would be Brady that has the preference; this sounds like something a head coach would not bother to

  54. So let me get this straight:

    BB has no knowledge of standard ball condition, but knows how to make a ball non-standard in practice.

    If you’re going to intentionally make a ball ‘worse’, wouldn’t that mean you have some fundamental knowledge of what a ‘standard’ football looks and feels like?

    40 years in the league and you have NO idea about the rules surrounding the condition of the ball?

    Right. Looking forward to 3:45.

  55. This is all Damage control..He can lie until he is blue in the face , Brady as well. I’m sure tom will put his choir boy smile on and smoothe talk the media for a half hour but we all know what really happened. Oh yeah bill .2 psi is a littttttle diffrent than 2.0 psi genius. He can play dumb all he wants , everybody knows how close he pays attention to detail, if you think him AND Tom didn’t know about this you are in denial. So which is it pats fans? Do you want Bellichek suspended or Brady? Somebody’s gotta be accountable.

  56. Had no idea the light was red officer and that guy riding the bicycle …no idea he was there either.

  57. To say the Head coach that’s already a control freak does not know the inner workings of his team is nonsense. To the fans that say we won by so much though!! Cheating is cheating. It’s a rule. If we are playing a game of Monopoly and I steal 1000 bucks and kick everyone’s booty, to say I still would have won is ridiculous and it’s not the point. It’s not oh I won by so much so the Rule should not count against me. That’s insane. So what the Pats are saying is Win by a Lot and Cheating is ok. Good message to the kids.

  58. Something is not right here with the situation.
    During the press conf. the it was said he(Bill) knew nothing of the problem until Monday.
    If the Colts brought attention to the refs about
    the ball and then at half time made the check and
    discovered the under inflation and then corrected the problem did they(refs) only inform the Colts of the correction and not tell anyone on the Pats what was discovered and corrected this is hard to believe.
    During the press conference I find it very strange that the media never asked the question if the refs informed anyone on the Pats staff, coaches, etc.
    during half time or before kick off of their findings. Since the media is suppose to have the brains to think of this $64,000 question no one had guts enough ask the question or they had a gag order in place of questions not to ask.

  59. So Belichick, who knows the subtlest nuances of the NFL rules — right down to his unparallelled understanding NFL formations about receiver eligibility and deception … now claims he doesn’t know a single thing about one of the more basic elements of protocol???
    Belichick expects us to believe that???
    “I’m sorry officer. I didn’t know that murder was a crime. No one ever told me.”
    This WHOLE story blew up huge with USC and Lame Kitten (Lane Kiffen) just a couple of years ago — was all over the news. And now Bill is playing the Sergeant Schultz card.

  60. Bills being as honest as a person can possibly be , haters going to hate , gronk is going to deflate at least 3 balls as he’s spiking them in the endzone , GO PATS !!

  61. Just a thought that came to me this week.

    Funny how passionately republicans and democrats (fans) can come together over an issue of deflated footballs.

  62. To all you NE fans trying to claim a “witch hunt”, you are right! This is a witch hunt, for the person or persons involved in CHEATING!

    NE fans appear to miss the point of this article. To break it down for the cognitively challenged: Manning & other QB’s weren’t caught cheating. Brady & Belichick were! It’s not wrong for a player or group of players to request a change of the rules that is then approved by the competition committee. It’s wrong for players or a team to then use that change to help facilitate cheating! Brady’s past words in relation to this subject make it impossible for him to deny involvement! Belichick could, but then he is admitting that he isn’t the coach he has always claimed…you know…the Large & In Charge guy that has complete & total control of his locker room & knows EVERYTHING that is going on in HIS club house. He can’t exactly have it both ways, he knew & we all know it! PROVEN Habitual Cheaters. There’s no running from it, there’s no denying it, there’s only the choice as to whether you will continue to support a team with those individuals on it. And those that choose to continue to support them are just as bad as they are!!!

  63. Its hysterical that a team that lost games on purpose to get the #1 pick in the draft, was caught cheating by pumping in fake crowd noise into the stadium, changed rules league wide to benefit their own team and turned off all cold water and cranked up the heat in the visitors locker room during a playoff game knowing the opposition had many players with the flu, along with whatever side deals they had with refs… is concerned about the INTEGRITY OF THE GAME!!

  64. It’s OVER,….. patriots fans, you just don’t see the writing on the wall.

    Your tarnished golden boy Brady & Belicheat are cooked. Nothing like this happens without them knowing Exactly just what they were trying to do.
    (I know nothing…. LOL).

    Guarantee a victory at ALL COSTS.
    Well they accomplished that. Their careers are Forever Tainted.

    So, take your signature “Baby Brady” ball and go home. We don’t need your brand of serial cheaters.

  65. For of you people who flunked Physics: Just like an auto tire, ball air pressure depends on the temp. The experts tell us not to fill the tires when it is hot, but wait for them to cool down. Fill a ball to a legal 12.5 lbs at 72 degrees, and after a short time in a 41 degree temp the law of physics will reduce the pressure below 12.5. The opposite is true in the hot temp areas. Fill a ball to 13.5 in a 72 degree room and after a short time in a 90 degree stadium temp the law of physics will force the pressure above 13.5. Thus in either case the pressure during the games will vary based on temp, and would be normal to fall outside of the specifications without any human help

  66. I would like to quote the great Tom Brady from the previous week: “Maybe those guys should read the rule book.”

    See this is the reason why nobody outside of Boston likes your arrogant attitude or your coach.

  67. Is it me, but for a Coach who says he never spent this much time on balls for 40 years of playing and coaching, as he has over the last 3 days, he certainly went into acute detail of his practices and ball issues.

    So if he knows the value of practicing with difficult balls, isn’t there a logic that he also knows playing with softer/lighter ones would be better? Especially in light of the fact that he makes them practice with worse?

    To me, this explanation is more damning that exculpatory.

  68. What about “He’s the head coach, there is no excuse for him not knowing…”? That will be the next thing Goodell says, right?

  69. Jan 22, 2015 2:22 PM
    For of you people who flunked Physics: Just like an auto tire, ball air pressure depends on the temp. The experts tell us not to fill the tires when it is hot, but wait for them to cool down. Fill a ball to a legal 12.5 lbs at 72 degrees, and after a short time in a 41 degree temp the law of physics will reduce the pressure below 12.5. The opposite is true in the hot temp areas. Fill a ball to 13.5 in a 72 degree room and after a short time in a 90 degree stadium temp the law of physics will force the pressure above 13.5. Thus in either case the pressure during the games will vary based on temp, and would be normal to fall outside of the specifications without any human help

    I wonder how Physics explains how 11/12 Patriot footballs were under inflated and 12/12 Colt footballs stayed the same pressure they were prior to the game? I guess the laws of physics only apply to the great Patriots.

  70. I’m a business major and can barely spell Physics, but this issue of temperature alone seems rather narrow minded for those of you who profess such expertise.

    Aren’t you all forgetting volume, friction, and material? If I hear one more comparison to auto tires that receive incredible friction compared to a football, and is some, what’s a good guess…200 times the volume of air, at different air pressures, surrounded by two different types of materials (rubber and likely an aluminum rim surface), I’m gonna scream.

    Anyway, can I describe the differences more completely? As the prior poster said, and in the immortal words of “my Cousin Vinny” do the laws of physics fail to exist…” for the Colts footballs too???

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