Patriots quarterback Tom Brady denied any wrongdoing amid accusations that he or his team broke NFL rules by tampering with game balls in the AFC Championship Game.
“I didn’t alter the ball in any way,” Brady said. “I have a process I go through before every game where I go in and pick the balls — the footballs that I want to use for the game. Our equipment guys do a great job of breaking the balls in. They have a process that they go through. When I pick those footballs out, at that point, to me, they’re perfect. I don’t want anyone touching the balls after that, I don’t want anyone rubbing them, putting any air in, taking any air out, to me those balls are perfect and that’s what I expect when I’m on the field.”
Brady said he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the footballs used in the AFC Championship Game.
“I didn’t think anything of it until I woke up Monday morning and answered a question on the radio about it. That was the first I heard of it,” Brady said.
Brady seemed taken aback by a question about whether he’s a cheater.
“I feel like I’ve always played within the rules,” Brady said. “I would never do anything to break the rules. I believe in fair play, I respect the league and everything they’re doing to try to create a competitive playing field for all the NFL teams. It’s a very competitive league. Every team is doing the best they can to win every week. I believe in fair play and will always do that for as long as I’m playing.”
Brady said he would like to “figure out what happened” because he was “as surprised as anybody” to find out that the Patriots had played with under-inflated footballs. Brady insists that if there was anything wrong with the game balls, that wasn’t because of anything he had done.