AP Photo/Steven SenneNew England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks during
a conference at Gillette Stadium, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Foxborough, Massachusetts, where he defended the way his team preps its game balls.
The New England Patriots unexpectedly held a press conference this afternoon to talk about the team’s preparation of footballs in the wake of allegations that it intentionally deflated the balls to make them easier to handle.
It was surreal.
Head coach Bill Belichick told reporters he did extensive research into how the Patriots prepare footballs ahead of their games.
During the AFC championship game, in which the Patriots demolished the Indianapolis Colts 45-7, it was discovered that 11 of the 12 footballs the Patriots used were underinflated by 1 pound per square inch. Across the country, people believe the Patriots intentionally deflated the balls to gain an advantage.
Belichick, trying to protect his team’s reputation, said he spent an “embarrassing” amount of time in the past week researching how footballs work.
In his research he learned that his quarterback likes the ball to feel a certain way. To get the ball a certain way, the Patriots rub the ball. This process leads to the ball getting more inflated. So when the ball is handed to the officials, they let air out of it to get it to 12.5 pounds per square inch, which is what the league wants.
After that, though, Belichick has no explanation for how a ball loses air. He seemed to chalk it up to natural events that happen during a football game.
Which is confusing, since the Colts’ footballs didn’t lose weight.
While Belichick spent 30 minutes talking about footballs, he wasn’t particularly clear about how the Patriots balls could have deflated.
However, the clearest thing Belichick said was: “We followed rules of the game to the letter. In every game that we played in. We try to do everything right.”
Here are our live notes from the press conference.