FOXBORO, Mass. — DeflateGate, as far as Bill Belichick is concerned, is settled. The New England Patriots didn’t do anything wrong, according to their head cocah.
Belichick addressed the media again Saturday to reiterate that his team followed every NFL rule when preparing their footballs. He said the footballs were never placed in a heated environment during the preparation process.
“I believe that I have personally, and we as an organization, have followed every rule to the letter,” Belichick said.
Belichick said that during their preparation process, their footballs artificially gain one pound per square inch. The footballs gain the pound per square inch while adjusting the feel for quarterback Tom Brady by rubbing them vigorously. The footballs are then given to the officials, who are instructed to inflate them to 12.5 pounds per square inch. Belichick said he doesn’t know if the officials properly inflated them.
“What exactly they did, I don’t know,” Belichick said. “But for the purposes of our study, that is what we did. We set them at 12.5. That’s at the discretion of the official, though. Regardless of what we ask for, it is the official’s discretion to put them where he wants. That’s done at a controlled environment.”
Belichick said his team ran a number of tests this week to simulate their football-preparation process, and they lose 1.5 PSI while outside, then gain .5 PSI when brought back in, as the officials did during halftime of the AFC Championship Game. Based on their experiments, the Patriots’ best guess is that the footballs would have been at 11.5 PSI during halftime.
Belichick also said the Patriots ran tests with their quarterbacks, giving them footballs with a 1 PSI differential and 2 PSI differential. Their quarterbacks couldn’t differentiate between footballs set 1 PSI apart. Belichick said there was “some degree of differentiation” on footballs set 2 PSI apart.
Belichick was adamant that the Patriots were not trying to gain any advantage Sunday, and that they try to do everything within the rules. He also said he would not address DeflateGate again, nor will his players.
“At no time was there any intent to compromise the integrity of the game or to gain an advantage,” Belichick said. “Quite the opposite, we feel like we followed the rules of the game to the letter in our preparation, in our procedures and in the way that we handle every game that we competitively play as it relates to this matter. We try to do everything right, we err on the side of caution. It’s been that way now for many years.
“Anything that’s close, we stay as far away from the line as we can. In this case, I can say that we are as far as I know and everything that I can do, we did everything as right as we could do it.
“We welcome the league’s investigation into this matter. There a number of things that need to be looked into on a number of levels, but that’s not for this conversation. I’m sure that it will be taken up at another point in time. This is the end of this subject for me for a long time.”
Thumbnail photo via Steven Senne/Associated Press