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Brady, Belichick Deny Deflategate, Reality

UPDATED: Patriots QB Tom Brady answered questions for 30 minutes Thursday afternoon, uttered the word "balls" about 23,456 times, and basically said he had no idea of what happened to the deflated footballs in question from Sunday's AFC title game.

"I didn't alter the ball in any way. I have a process I go through before every game where I pick the footballs I want to use for game," Brady said at Gillette Stadium. "Our equipment guys do a great job of breaking them in. They have a process they go through. When I pick up those balls out, at that point, they're perfect. I don't want anyone touching the balls after that, I don't want anyone rubbing them. Putting any air in them. Taking any air out.

"To me, those balls are perfect. That's what I expect when I show up on the field.

The Gisele jokes write themselves at this point.

Brady began his press conference with the look of a 12-year-old boy who had just been caught downloading nude Jennifer Lawrence photos. His showed a fear in his eyes rarely seen outside the dentist's office. As the press conference/car wreck proceeded, Brady appeared to gain confidence in his continued denials.

Those asking the questions, for the most part, ended up looking juvenile. And none of them asked if Brady he ever told the team-employed ball boys to alter the footballs in question, or let air out of them.

When it was over, Brady had at the very least won over solidified the support and sympathy from a Patriots Nation that has reached its saturation point with this story. Brady threw in a line about how "this isn't ISIS. No one is dying" to remind everyone that there is a real world out there.

The relentless questioning about deflated balls reminded us all that too often "real" news doesn't get the attention from "real" media types it deserves.

Guilty. I have an excuse, I get paid to write about this stuff. WTF was that guy from NBC News doing there?

The biggest news nugget from the Brady Show came when the quarterback said no investigators from the NFL have contacted him yet about the so-called Deflategate scandal. There are likely a myriad of reasons for that. But it does shift a portion of the heat and spotlight here away from Foxborough and over to the league office as to why is that is the case.

What say you, Roger Goodell?

From Bill Belichick, to Brady, to Park Avenue in New York. Where credibility goes to die.

No one wants their hands on this deflated ball.

With their press conferences Thursday, both Brady and his head coach, remained firm, if not 100 percent convincing, that neither had any knowledge of what was happening with the footballs in the AFC championship game.

They pled ignorance. Their innocence or guilt has yet to be fully determined. It remains hard for some to believe, myself included, that neither Brady nor Belichick had no real knowledge about how footballs are handled in this manner before games.

They are the best NFL QB-Coach combo in history. How would neither one of them not pay attention to something like the football used to complete all those passes and score all those touchdowns?

Deny, deny, deny. It's worked before.

"I was as surprised as anybody when I heard Monday morning what was happening," Brady said. "I have no knowledge of anything, of any wrong doing ... I'm very comfortable saying that. I'm very comfortable saying nobody did it. As far as I know. I don't know everything. I like them the way I like them ... 12.5 [PSI] is a perfect grip for the football."

If Belichick "threw Brady under the bus" earlier in the day, the quarterback didn't seen to realize it. He gave virtually the same answers as his coach when asked about the substance of Deflategate.

"I was in a locker room preparing for a game. I have no knowledge of the process with the footballs."

Brady was asked point blank if he was a cheater: "I don't believe so" was his answer.

That's hardly the "F--k No!" millions of Patriots fans wanted him to say.

"I feel like I've always played within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules. I believe in fair play. I respect the league and everything they're doing to create a competitive playing field for all the teams."

Thirty minutes of denials, "balls," and a nod to "ISIS." Each word spoken with the chaste and deliberate tone of someone under oath.

Of course, he was not. And neither was his coach earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, the Legend of Brady grows.

Anyone who can get away with this sort of "sexual harassment" isn't going to let a few deflated balls keep him from the Super Bowl


________________



It may have been the most painful sack of Tom Brady's career.

Or just another masterful attempt at mass manipulation by Bill Belichick.

Thursday morning, the embattled New England Patriots head coach took to the podium at Gillette Stadium in front of a national TV audience and a horde of reporters. He said he was "shocked" when he first heard the news that the Patriots used improperly inflated footballs in the AFC title game.

He told the world that he knew nothing about what has been called Deflategate until Monday morning. "I have no explanation for what happened," he said, more than once.

It was perhaps the most-eagerly anticipated news conference in Foxborough since the day of Aaron Hernandez's arrest.

"In my entire coaching career, I have never talked to any player, staff member, about football air pressure," Belichick said. "I was shocked to learn of the news reports of the footballs [on Monday morning]. I've learned a lot more about this process in the past three days than I've talked about in the last 40 years coaching in this league."

That shriek you heard was Gisele throwing her bronze bust of Belichick out of the bedroom window of her Brookline mansion.

[Portuguese Expletives Deleted.]

After saying he didn't know anything about what happened with the footballs in Sunday's AFC title game multiple times, Belichick said, "I've told you everything I know," or various versions of it, multiple times as he took several questions about the same topic.

Move over, "We're on to Cincinnati/Denver/Chicago/Indianapolis/Seattle Etc."

We've now got "I've told you everything I know."

The Patriots can put that on the back of their Super Bowl XLIX championship T-shirts.

Belichick told us how difficult he makes the balls in practice. "Wet, sticky, cold, slippery. How ever bad we make 'em, I make them worse. And that stops the complaints. We never use the conditions of the footballs as an excuse." He also said in the future he would make sure the footballs used by the team will inflated above than the minimum allowed 12 1/2 PSI when measured by the refs before a game.

What was surprising about Thursday's press conference, besides the coach's apparent nervousness and the fact that it actually happened, was how quickly Belichick [presumably] threw Brady under the bus and deflected the questions about ball pressure back on to his quarterback.

It took about three minutes.

It was, in all likelihood, a first for the Hoodie, who usually speaks about the importance of the team all being on the same page.

"Tom's personal preferences on his footballs are something he can talk about in much better detail and better information than I could possibly provide. I have never talked to any player, staff member about football air pressure. That is a subject I have never brought up. The balls are approved by the league and we play with what's out there."

With Belichick's deflected pass to his quarterback, the spotlight and onus turns toward Brady.

A lonely Patriots Nation's eyes turn to you, Tommy.

TB12's scheduled Friday press conference was pushed up to 4 p.m. Thursday. He may need the rest of the day to calm down his wife, along with millions of Patriots fans.

Knowing how the Patriots operate, this could also be part of some diabolical plan where both Belichick and the quarterback plead ignorance. Meanwhile, the ballboy[s] in question have gone to Aruba for an extended vacation.

Stay tuned.

Belichick
Bill Belichick said he had 'no explantion' for how 11 of 12 balls the Patriots used in the first half of Sunday's game became deflated under regulation pressure. Photo/Getty Images

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