Bill Belichick held an unscheduled press conference at Gillette Stadium Saturday afternoon. And for 23 minutes, the New England Patriots head coach addressed a matter the team will not pack with them to Glendale.
Why the footballs the Patriots used in the first half of the AFC Championship Game were underinflated.
“I want to take this opportunity to share some information,” Belichick opened. “I’ve spent a significant amount of time this past week learning as much as I could learn, more than I could ever imagine to tell you the truth about ladders, air gauges, stitching, pressure, gameday ball preparation, rub downs, so forth. I’m trying to be as helpful as I can here, and share with you what I’ve learned.”
Belichick shared that the footballs used during the Patriots’ 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts were never placed in a heated environment for preparation. They were prepped in the locker room, and artificially gained one pound per square inch during the process of rubbing them to adjust the texture and feel for quarterback Tom Brady.
After the Patriots prepared the footballs, they were then sent to the officials’ locker room, where they were instructed to inflate them to 12.5 pounds per square inch, Belichick explained.
Whether or not the footballs were inflated to that exact mark is not something Belichick knows for certain.
“I’ve talked to and gather a lot of information from members of our staff,” Belichick said. “I have talked to other people familiar with this subject in other organizations. And we have performed an internal study of the process, and I think there is certainly other things that I can do. There’s maybe other research that can be done, but I’d say at this time, I definitely have enough information to share with you.”
The Patriots simulated their gameday football preparation process, inflating the footballs to 12.5, Belichick stated. From there, the pressure was measured to be 1.5 PSI less while outside before .5 PSI was gained when taken back inside, as was the standard procedure at halftime.
He added that the team’s quarterbacks could not detect a 1-PSI difference when gripping the footballs.
“I feel like this is important because there have been questions raised, and I believe now, 100 percent, that I have personally and we as an organization have absolutely followed every rule to the letter,” Belichick said. “I feel that on behalf of everyone in the organization, everyone that’s involved in the organization, that we needed to say something.”
The Patriots will leave for the Super Bowl to face the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, amid the league’s investigation into what transpired last Sunday.
“We welcome the league’s investigation into this matter,” Belichick said. “I think there are 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. And this is the end of this subject for me for a long time.”