The New England Patriots held a press conference Saturday, addressing the scandal regarding the deflating of footballs in the AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts. Head coach Bill Belichick reiterated that the Patriots have followed the NFL's rules, saying he "personally, and we as an organization, have followed every rule to the letter."
He said he spent an extensive amount of time learning about ball inflation and preparation over the past week, and it became clear to him he didn't have a strong idea of how the process of determining the pressure of a football actually works.
Bill Nye on Belichick
Bill Nye on Belichick
"I've handled dozens of balls over the past week," Belichick said, "The texture of the ball is easy to identify, the pressure of the ball is a whole different story."
Belichick said the pressure of a football is "much more difficult to feel or identify," by touch. Again, he reiterated the Patriots set the balls to the proper PSI, and that they were delivered to the officiating crew properly. "Once the balls were on the field for an extended period of time ... they were down approximately one and half pounds per square inch."
Essentially, he's saying normal use caused the balls to be deflated, despite the fact the Colts' balls were not affected in the same way. He said the footballs were never prepared in any area other than the Patriots' locker room, specifically noting there was no specific heated room in which the footballs were handled.
"We had no way of knowing, until we went through this exercise, that this has taken place," Belichick said, "When we hand the balls to the officials ... the air pressure at that point, from then on until the end of the game, we have no knowledge of that."
In other words, when the balls were given to the officials, there was no way to test them accurately.
At the end of his conference, Belichick said he is embarrassed to reveal how much time he'd spent on this as opposed to the upcoming Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks, before restating that the Patriots did everything by the book.
"I'm embarrassed to talk about the amount of time I've put into this, relative to the other challenge we have in front of us," Belichick said. "This is the end of this subject for me for a long time. ... I've spent more than enough time on this."
In the court of public opinion, many are quick to bash the Patriots for this whole situation, though some have pointed out it's not exactly a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.