According to ESPN, the National Football League has conducted at least 40 interviews to determine how and why 11 of the 12 footballs used in the January 18 AFC Championship between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts were severely under-inflated. Under speculation that he and his players knowingly broke rules to gain a competitive advantage, Patriots coach Bill Belichick addressed the matter during a press conference Saturday.
‘I’m embarrassed to talk about the amount of time that I’ve put into this relative to the other important challenge in front of us,’ Belichick told assembled media members. ‘I believe now 100 percent that I have personally and we as an organization have absolutely followed every rule to the letter.’
Saturday’s remarks were a sharp departure from Belichick’s statements earlier in the week, when he seemingly hung his quarterback, Tom Brady, out to dry saying, ‘Tom’s personal preference on his footballs are something he can talk about in much better detail than I can possibly provide.’
Belichick went through elaborate detail explaining how the Patriots prepare their footballs for game day in compliance with NFL mandated specifications of 12.5 psi ball inflation.
‘I’m not a scientist,’ he added. ‘I’m not an expert in footballs. I’m not an expert in football measurements. I’m just telling you what I know.’
The usually terse Belichick uncharacteristically spoke for nearly 23 minutes confirming speculation he felt obligated to speak up and address the questions raised by the issue.
The Patriots are scheduled to play the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl on February 1. The entire press conference can be viewed via Patriots.com.