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Tom Brady: Deflate-Gate Analysis

deflated balls

Below is a copy of Tom Brady’s press conference about the under inflated football controversy which the media coined “Deflate-Gate”. I obtained the written copy from a news source but noticed some discrepancies in the accuracy of the transcript when comparing it to the video. I will correct and point out any discrepancies I found as we go through the statement. This is important to remember though, because a verbatim transcript may have inaccuracies, so if you can get an audio copy as well, that will help with ensuring an accurate analysis.

Also, Investigative Statement Analysis is a tool to help guide an investigator to the right areas in a person’s story so they can focus questioning in areas of interest which will likely develop further information. It is not an end in and of itself, so we should never take a statement or do an analysis and say “guilty” or “innocent”. It is more appropriate to say, “This is what they SAID, these are some of the issues or areas that need further development, and then focus further questioning at those spots.” This process is not a tool to say guilty or innocent, it is a tool to reach the truth.

With that said, here is the transcript:

TB: Obviously I’d much rather be up here talking about the Seahawks and preparing for the Super Bowl, which we’ve been trying to do for the last few days. I know Coach [Bill] Belichick addressed it with you guys this morning and I wanted to give you guys the opportunity to ask [the] questions that you want. I’ll do my best to provide the answers that I have, if any, and we’ll go from there.

  • When someone uses words and phrases such as “Obviously I’d rather much be…” “Of course I would not…” “You know how it is…” they want us to take their assertion for granted.

Q: When and how did you supposedly alter the balls?

TB: I didn’t have any – I didn’t alter the ball in any way. I have a process that I go through before every game where I go in and I pick the footballs that I want to use for the game. Our equipment guys do a great job of breaking the balls in. they have a process that they go through. When I pick those balls out, at that point to me 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 and that’s what I expect when I show up on the field. That happened obviously on Sunday night. It was the same process that I always go through. I didn’t think anything of it. Obviously I woke up Monday morning and answered a question on the radio about it and that was the first I really heard about it.

  • The transcript says “I didn’t have any – I didn’t alter the ball in any way.” In the video however, Tom stated “I didn’t, you know, have any – you know I didn’t alter the ball in any way.” Again, with his use of “you know”, he is asserting that we should know or should believe him. Tom also stated “you know I didn’t alter the ball in any way. His use of “any way” broadens his denial, rather than simply saying directly, “I didn’t alter the balls”, the use of any way opens it up to other ways, which is not an issue under investigation. This happened in theft cases in the past where a bank employee was asked if she took the money from the drawer and her response was “I didn’t take any money from the bank.” She later confessed to taking “the” money which we were talking about in addition to “other” money which she took but the bank didn’t know about yet. She had a broad denial. At the end of his response, Tom uses the word “obviously” again, wanting to take his assertion for granted. Why would what he says be obvious to us? Tom then ends his response saying “…that was the first I really heard about it.” Correction: The transcript says “hard about it” Tom says “heard of it”

Q: This has raised a lot of uncomfortable conversations for people around this country who view you as their idol. The question they’re asking themselves is, ‘What’s up with our hero?’ Can you answer right now, is Tom Brady a cheater?

TB: I don’t believe so. I feel like I’ve always played within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules. I believe in fair play and I respect the league and everything they’re doing to try to create a very competitive playing field for all the NFL teams. It’s a very competitive league. Every team is trying to do the best they can to win every week. I believe in fair play and I’ll always believe in that for as long as I’m playing.

  • Before responding, in the video Tom laughs, which to me was inappropriate due to the question. If he didn’t cheat, that should be an offensive question, not a funny one. This question (“Is Tom Brady a cheater?”) is a simple one to answer if you are not a cheater… “No.” His response however, is weak and lacks commitment “I don’t believe so”. He also stated “I feel like I’ve always played within the rules” “Feeling” like you have always played within the rules is not the same as saying “I’ve always played within the rules.” He also stated “I would never do anything to break the rules.” “I would never do anything to break the rules” is different than saying “I didn’t break the rules.”

Q: Some people think Coach Belichick threw you under the bus this morning, do you feel that way?

TB: No, I think everyone is obviously trying to figure out what happened. I think that’s the main thing over the last couple days. It’s trying to figure out what happened. Like I said, I was as surprised as anybody when I heard Monday morning what was happening. I think over the last few days people have been trying to figure out – as the NFL is trying to figure out – what part of the process and from when I saw the ball which was five hours before halftime, what exactly happened.

Q: Do all quarterbacks doctor the balls and have you done anything differently from anyone else in the league?

TB: I’m not sure. I can only speak for myself. I think that there’s a process that everybody goes through breaking in footballs. It’s probably a lot like a baseball mitt when you’re a kid. I try to explain that to my friends a lot. When you use it and that’s your equipment, the football is something that I handle on every play. I want to be very familiar with the equipment that I’m using, just like my cleats, just like my helmet, just like my pads. You go through that process of breaking the balls in and getting comfortable with them. Of course I choose the balls that I want to use for the game and that’s what I expect to go out on the playing field with.

  • This would have been a good question for Tom to respond to and assert his innocence by saying something like; “I don’t know what other quarterbacks do, but I didn’t doctor the balls. I break them in to get comfortable with them, but I don’t doctor them.” The question to me was worded in an accusatory manner by using the words “doctor the balls”, which is deserving of a strong response, which Tom didn’t provide.

Q: How important is it for you to get this out of the way and take this head-on so you can get focused on the Super Bowl?

TB: That’s where the importance is, as far as I’m concerned. I know this is a very important thing and that’s why I’m here addressing it. I know my teammates, we accomplished something really special getting to this point. I don’t like the fact that this is taking away from some of the accomplishment of what we’ve achieved as a team. I think hopefully our best is still to come. We’re going to work as hard as we can over the next 10 days to put ourselves in a great position to be prepared for the game.

Q: Do you know the difference between an under-inflated ball and an over-inflated ball? Did you notice a difference in the balls used in the first half and second half?

TB: From the first half to the second half, I didn’t think twice about it. I didn’t put one thought into the football at that point. Once I approve the ball, like I said, that’s the ball that I expect out there on the field. It wasn’t even a thought, inkling of a concern of mine that they were any different. I just assumed that they were exactly the same: first half, second half.

  • First of all, the transcripts shows that Tom was asked two questions at the same time, and the video actually has a third question asked of him by the same reporter all at once, which was, “And would it make a difference?” As an investigator, if you want to get accurate information and make reliable assessments of people’s responses, please do not ask more than one question at a time! With that off my chest, Tom does not answer any of these questions. He provides a response, but it does not answer; (a) Do you know the difference between an under inflated ball and an over inflated ball? (b) Did you notice a difference in the balls used in the first half and the second half? (c) “And would it make a difference?

When someone responds but doesn’t answer the content of the question, this could be a sign of resistance. Are they trying to avoid the question? Tom wasn’t asked if he thought about the balls after approving them, which is his response. He was asked “Do you know the difference…” “Did you notice a difference between the first and second half…” “Would it make a difference…”   

Q: What do you say to the skeptics that say, ‘The Patriots have had violations before. How can we possibly believe what Brady and the coach are saying now?’

TB: Everybody has an opinion. I think everybody has the right to believe whatever they want. I don’t ever cast judgment on someone’s belief system. If that’s what they feel like they want to do, then I don’t have a problem with that. I think part of being in this position and putting yourself under a spotlight like this and being open for criticism, I think that’s very much a part of being a professional athlete. We can only express to you what our side is and how we approach it. Then everyone is going to make their own [conclusion].

  •  His response of “We can only express to you what our side is…” There is no assertion from Tim that he is telling the truth. A strong response would have been something like “The skeptics can say what they want, I’ve told the truth”

Q: Are you comfortable that nobody on the Patriots side did anything wrong?

TB: I have no knowledge of anything. I have no knowledge of any wrongdoing

  • Here again, Tom does not answer the question, but seems to divert his response to his lack of knowledge. If he cannot answer the questions “are you comfortable that nobody on the Patriots side did anything wrong” it may be likely that he is NOT comfortable with that.

Q: Are you comfortable that nobody did anything?

TB: Yeah, I’m very comfortable saying that. I’m very comfortable saying that nobody did it, as far as I know. I don’t know everything. I also understand that I was in the locker room preparing for a game. I don’t know what happened over the course of the process with the footballs. I was preparing for my own job, doing what I needed to do.

  • In his response to a broader question, not specific to the Patriots, he was able to answer the question. His level of comfort is in question though. He didn’t answer the question the first time and now he emphasizes twice that he is comfortable (very…very) but then qualifies that with “as far as I know. I don’t know everything.”  

Q: A few years ago you said you liked the ball deflated. You were quoted saying you like throwing a deflated ball. Explain that comment in the context of what you’re dealing with this week.

TB: I obviously read that I said that. I like them at the way that I like them, which is at 12.5. To me, that’s a perfect grip for the football. I think that particular term, deflated or inflated, whatever norm you’re using, you could probably use. I would never do anything outside of the rules of play. I would never have someone do something that I thought was outside the rules.

  • Here he ended his response with weak denials “I would never…” in his last two statements. However, in the video he actually stated in that second statement, “I would never, you know, have someone do something that I thought was outside the rules. Here again he is asserting his knowledge on us with “you know”. Why would we know that? Why didn’t he say “you know” in the first response? Is it more likely that if he did have something to do with deflating the balls that he would have someone else do it rather than him? This is a point of sensitivity to look into.

Q: So you never knowingly played with a football that was under 12.5-pounds?

TB: No.

  • Yeah…a direct response!

Q: Have you tried to find out why the balls were under-inflated?

TB: That’s a great question. I think there are a lot of people that have more information than me. I only know what I’ve kind of gone through and the process I’ve taken as part of the game and the postgame, as well as trying to prepare for the Super Bowl. Yeah, I have questions, too. But there’s nobody that I know that can answer the questions that I have. I just have tried my best to focus on what I need to do, to be prepared for Seattle.

  • The use of “that’s a great question” is often a stalling tactic, giving the individual a second to think of a response. That question however is straight forward and does not require much though, so why the delay tactic? It could be answered with a “yes” or a “no”.

Q: If you know the look and feel of the football that you like, do you think there could have been other games where you played with an under-inflated football?

TB: I don’t know. Like I said, once I’m out on the field, I’m playing. I have no thought of the football at that point. I’m thinking about the defense, I’m thinking about the execution of the play and what I need to do. I’m not thinking about how the football feels. I grip the football

  • I’m not a quarterback, but his ending comment does not make sense. He said “I grip the football”, so I would imagine if the feel of the ball was off he would mention it. If he felt it was worn or torn during the game, he would know it. He stated earlier went through effort to select the balls he wanted to use during the game, so he knows the feel of them. I would think a quarterback always thinks about how the football feels in his grip. But again, I’m not a quarterback.

Q: Are you wondering if you’ve played with an under-inflated ball before?

TB: I have no idea. I have no idea. This was the first that I’ve heard of it. Obviously on Monday morning, was the first that I heard of it.

  • Again, with his use of obviously he may be trying to have us take his answers for granted.

Q: If it’s found that someone improperly tampered with the balls, is it important to you that someone is held accountable?

TB: I’m not the one that imposes [that] type of accountably. It’s discipline and all that, that’s not really my job. Obviously I’d like to know what happened, as you all would, too. In the meantime, I’m going to try to do the best I can to play against the Seahawks. Because I can’t do anything with what’s happened in the past. I have to just go forward with the most awareness I can going forward and trying to be the best I can be for our team.

  • Tom diverts answering this question. It would be reasonable to assume that at his level in the NFL, if someone was found to have been tampering the important equipment that could affect the outcome of the game, there should be some form of accountability for that person. The question was “Is it important to you that someone is held accountable?” which he does not answer.

Q: How does it make you feel that they’re calling your team cheaters?

TB: You know, I think a big part of playing here is trying to ignore the outside forces and influences and people that are maybe fans of our team or not fans of your team or fans of yourself or not fans of yourself. Like I said, everybody is entitled to an opinion. Those opinions rest with those people. I think you can just go out and try to be the best you can be, deal with people with respect, with honesty, with integrity, have a high moral standard. I’ve always really tried to exemplify that as an athlete. I’ll continue to try to do that.

  • Here he says, “I think” and then he references second-person (you) rather than first-person (I). This diminishes commitment to what he is stating. A stronger, more committed statement would have been something like “I go out and be the best I can be, deal with people with respect, with honesty, with integrity, have a high moral standard.” That’s the same words, but it places him in the action demonstrating commitment.

Q: Does this motivate you guys?

TB: We’ve had a lot of motivation. I would say we’ve got a lot of motivation as a team. I think our team has overcome a lot of adversity this year. I think sometimes in life the biggest challenges end up being the best things that happen in your life. We’ve overcome a lot of those this year as a team. So, we can rally around one another and support one another. You can be the best teammate you can possibly be and you can go out and support each other and try to go win a very important game.

Q: Did you address your teammates today and if so, what did you say to them?

TB: Those are very personal things with my teammates. That was very personal comments.

  • He avoids the question, but does so directly, not evasively. Kudos to him here.

Q: Did you see the footballs before they went to the referees?

TB: Yeah. It’s always the same process. I get here – the playoffs I got here pretty early before the games. Then I go in there and I choose however many balls are necessary for the games. Sometimes it’s 12, 16, 18, 24. This last particular game was 24. I felt them. They were perfect. I wouldn’t want anyone touching those. I would zip those things up and lock them away until I got out on the field and an opportunity to play with them. That’s what I thought I was doing.

Q: We’re you surprised when you heard those footballs had been deflated by two pounds?

TB: Absolutely. That was very surprising to me.

Q: One of your teammates said this was a media thing. Is that your feeling? Is there a feeling behind closed doors that this is being blown out of proportion?

TB: No, it’s very serious. This is a very serious topic. Obviously the integrity of the sport is very important. I think there’s another focus that we have also as a team that guys are very focused on our opponent and the things that we need to do to try to be successful. Everyone is trying to figure out what happened. But at the same time, you have to prepare for the Seahawks also.

Q: You laughed this off on Monday on the radio. Now you’re more somber about it. What happened between Monday and today?

TB: Look, that was real early in the morning. I got home at 12, one o’clock and woke up to do the radio interview and I was very shocked to hear it. I almost laughed it off thinking it was more sour grapes than anything. Then it ends up being a very serious thing when you start learning the things that –

  • A little distancing here, rather than being involved in his statement (such as, “I started learning more things…”) he used second-person you and present tense start.

Q: When the start of the second half was delayed and the balls were swapped out, how did you guys on the sideline not know what was going on on the field with respect to the footballs?

TB: I don’t think anybody knew there was an issue with the balls. I think they said, ‘The balls are not ready for play.’ And then I turn around in the huddle and the ball was ready for play. So, I didn’t think anything of it.

  • Think” lacks commitment. “I turn around” present tense and lacks commitment.

Q: Nobody said anything to you on the sideline? It was a good minute delay.

TB: I wasn’t paying attention to what was happening at that time. I don’t remember. Everything was happening obviously so fast in the middle of the game. I was thinking about the series, to go out there and the execution of the game.

  • This is a poorly worded question first of all, being a negatively-phrased assumption. Even so, he does not answer the specific question. On top of that, his statement about “I wasn’t paying attention” is difficult to believe since Tom does not lack for focus and attention to detail, and “I don’t remember” is often a sign of intentionally suppressing information and it worth looking into further.

Q: The officials didn’t say a word to you?

TB: No.

Q: Do you feel like you had an unfair advantage over the Colts? (The actual wording according to the video is, “You don’t feel like you had an unfair advantage over the colts?)

TB: I feel like we won the game fair and square. We ended up playing a great opponent and I thought our team went out and played a great game offensively, defensively [and] special teams. It was a great accomplishment to reach the AFC Championship, to win the AFC Championship and then to have the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl. That was a great feeling after the game. Obviously the next few days and hearing the football issue has taken away from a little bit of that, but hopefully we’ll rally around one another to bring it back to the task at hand which is to try to go out and be the best we can be.

  • The actual question was poorly worded. Avoid this type of question. He does not answer the content of the question about having an unfair advantage, but he justifies why.

Q: Is this a moment to just say ‘I’m sorry,’ to the fans?

TB: I think it’s disappointing that a situation like this happens. Obviously I’d love to be up here talking about [the game], in a very joyful mood. These are the two best weeks of the year if you happen to be one of the two teams still playing. It should be a great two weeks. I’m obviously very disappointed that we have to be having a press conference like this. I wish I could give you more answers or the answers that you guys were looking for. But I don’t have some of those answers.

Q: For the fans that are watching and looking into that camera, what do you say?

TB: I’m not sure. What would you like me to say? I’m not quite sure.

Q: Does the league have a responsibility to button this up so everybody can move on?

TB: I think they’ll do however they see fit. You know, I think that’s up to their responsibility to do whatever they want to do. That’s kind of usually what happens anyway. Like I said, I know they’re doing their investigation. I don’t know what will happen after that.

Q: Do you feel like you’re hanging in the wind?

TB: No, I think we’re preparing for the Super Bowl. I think this is obviously something we’re having to address, but at the same time, I think we’re focused on trying to go out and beat the Seahawks.

Q: Did the league investigators talk to you?

TB: Not yet.

Q: You said earlier that first the issue seemed minor and then you became it was more serious. What was it that convinced you of the seriousness?

TB: I just wasn’t, obviously, aware Monday morning of everything that had happened. So just as I learned more, you understand that there’s more than what I initially –

  • Here Tom uses “obviously” to make us take his assertion at face value, and then uses “you” rather than “I” again reducing some commitment.

Q: What’s so serious about it to you?

TB: Just the integrity of the game. I think that’s a very important issue to always be mindful of as an athlete, and fair play. I think we set a great example for the younger athletes, the younger kids, the college kids, the high school kids. We want to be the ones to set the great example.

  • “I think” and “we want to” don’t have the same strength as “We set a great example…” If someone “want’s to” be a millionaire, what does that mean? They currently are NOT a millionaire. If they “want to” set a great example, what does that mean they are doing?

Q: Are you frustrated by this process? Are you surprised by the process of what the story has become? What do you hope the end result is going forward?

TB: I’m not sure if I have a hope. I haven’t put much thought into that. It’s been just a short period of time. I’d really love to go out there and play a great game. Obviously the NFL would love to figure out what happened in this situation. I try to keep everything in perspective. I’m happy we have an opportunity to play in the next game. obviously I’m disappointed by the footballs of last game, but I can’t do anything about what happened. I can only try to – I can only do something going forward.

Q: The league has not spoken to or contacted you yet?

TB: No, but they may. They may. I think that’s obviously their choice.

Q: Do you find that odd though? This is only a partial of the question which added “If they wanted, Tom let’s put this behind us and get ready for the Super Bowl, they might contact you?

TB: Sure, yeah, they might. They might.

  • The transcript made his response confusing, but on the video the reporter followed up with that second question which Tom answered.

Q: It’s odd that they haven’t at this point. You’re the quarterback and you’re the center of this story right now and the league’s officials haven’t talked to you indicates to a lot of people they’re letting this drag on.

TB: I’m not sure.

Q: Have you been told they will talk to you?

TB: I’m not sure.

  • He responds to these two questions with “I’m not sure”. The first question was not actually a question, it was more of a statement by the reporter to which Tom said “I’m not sure.” But the second question is a direct question which he knows the answer to, either he was told or wasn’t told that they will talk with him, but her responds “I’m not sure.” How likely is it that he doesn’t know the answer to that question?

Q: There are people who are going to say, ‘You’re so familiar with the equipment, how could you not know?’ What would you say to them?

TB: I addressed that a little bit earlier. Like I said, I don’t put any thought into the footballs after I choose them. When you’re out there playing in front of 70,000 people, like a home crowd, you don’t think about [it]. You’re just reacting to the game. I don’t certainly think about the football. I just assume it’s the same one I approved in the pregame.

Q: Do you break the balls in during practice?

TB: We break them in in practice, certainly sometimes. Yeah, we definitely do that. It’s different from game to game. Some days one ball may feel good; the next day it may not. It depends on maybe how, I don’t know, the humidity in the air or how old the ball was. There are a lot of variables with obviously Mother Nature and the balls. Whatever feels good that day, those are the ones I would typically choose.

Q: Those are the same ones that Bill Belichick squirts water on in practice?

TB: Yeah, he does that a lot. It could be, yeah. It definitely could be.

Q: You said you didn’t want the balls to be touched after you approved them. You didn’t notice that 15 percent of the air was out of the ball when you started using it? It didn’t strike you during the first half?

TB: I didn’t feel any different. I would just assume that it was the same thing. Like I said, once I get the ball, I’m dropping back and reading the coverage and throwing the ball. I’m not –

  • The written transcript left out some words. In the video Tom stated, “Yeah Ron, I would, I didn’t feel any different, obviously. I would just assume that it was the same thing.” It sounded like Tom was going to say something them changed course. “I would” what? He then said “I didn’t feel any different”. Is he talking about how HE felt, or about how the BALL felt? It’s not clear, and then he tries to assert that belief on us with obviously.

Q: Basketball players would know if the ball was off after taking two shots. Baseball players could pick up a bat and know if it was less than ounce different. You’re asking us to believe that you couldn’t tell 15 percent of the football was deflated and you didn’t notice?

TB: I wouldn’t know on a particular play. It was a very wet, cold, windy night. Like I said –

  • His response here “I wouldn’t know” lacks commitment because it is conditional or future oriented. A stronger response would simple have been “I didn’t notice any difference with the balls.” Clear and simple.

Q: But [Colts linebacker] D’Qwell Jackson noticed.

TB: I don’t know. I don’t do that. I get the snap, I drop back, I throw the ball. I grip it and I try to throw the ball. That the extent of me touching the football. I don’t sit there and try to squeeze it and determine that. if that’s what the Colts wanted to do, then that’s what they wanted to do. That’s what their decision was. But I certainly didn’t. No, I did not recognize that. I did not feel a difference between the first half and the second half when supposedly they were inflated to the original or even more inflated. I didn’t notice any difference. I didn’t obviously think there was anything different between halves.

  • Pressed further on the issue of him not knowing there was a difference between the balls he repeatedly denied that four times. The first two he used non-contracted denials which are occasionally associated with someone asserting what they don’t believe to be true but really trying to stress that point, and the second two were contracted denials, which are often more credible. This also was followed by his use of “obviously”, as mentioned and discussed several times above. This is a sensitive response, and to be fair it may be due to deception or it may be due to the persistence of the reporter’s question. Either way it’s worth looking into.

Q: When you initially tested the balls, did you think you would have noticed if the balls were under-inflated at that time?

TB: I don’t know. I guess it’s a challenging thing. I’m not squeezing the balls. That’s not part of my process. I grab it, I feel the lace, I feel the leather, I feel the tack on the ball. That’s really what you go for. It’s not like I ever squeeze the football. I just grip the football. I think there’s maybe a little bit of a difference of how I do that.

  • His initial response to this question on the video is different than in the transcript, and Tom answers the question by starting out with a direct affirmative response, “Yeah, but I’m not I don’t know. I guess it’s a challenging thing. I’m not squeezing the balls. That’s not part of my process. I grab it, I feel the lace, I feel the leather, I feel the tack on the ball. That’s really what you go for. It’s not like I ever squeeze the football. I just grip the football. I think there’s maybe a little bit of a difference of how I do that.”

Q: What about the fact that you had better numbers after they exchanged the balls?

TB: Yeah. Like I said, I didn’t think any differently in the second half as I did in the first half. I know we had a great second half. It was due to great execution by a lot of great football player. Like I said, I know that’s obviously what they said. They inflated them. I didn’t notice a difference. I wish I could tell you something different. I just didn’t notice a difference.

  • He is more committed and relaxed in his response here.

Q: Bill Belichick said the team will inflate the balls over the minimum requirement from now on. Is that going to be an adjustment if 12.5 pounds is what you like?

TB: I don’t think that would make much of a difference. Like I said, I didn’t feel any difference between what was a 13-pound football or an 11-pound football the other night. That is pretty irrelevant to me.

Q: Will you lobby the league to change the rules surrounding this situation?

TB: What situation, what process would that be – about us breaking in our own balls?

Q: Making sure the balls are the proper weight throughout the game.

TB: Yeah, if they want to do that I have no problem with that. I certainly wouldn’t want them to take away us breaking the balls in. I think that’s a great thing for all the quarterbacks to have the balls in play that they want to use. Everybody has a preference. Some guys like them round and some guys like them thin. Some guys like them tacky. Some guys like them brand new. Some guys like old balls. They’re all different. And it’s leather. [When] every batch comes, they’re different. You’ve got to feel them and you try to go out and you try to use the ones that you like the best, the ones that you use in practice. You want to go out there and try to have the most possible consistency you can to go in the game with.

Q: Will you try to get the league to change the rules so you never handle a ball that isn’t the proper weight?

TB: Absolutely, if they want to check that, I would love for them to be at 12.5. Like I said, I think that’s the perfect fit for me. I know there are other quarterbacks, like I said, that may prefer more than that, but that’s what works for me. It’s all a very individual thing.

Q: Is it possible the refs may have missed this?

TB: I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t know what happened. I have no explanation for it. I don’t know what happened between the time that I touched it – really until Monday morning, I had no idea what happened with the balls.

Q: Who handles the balls after the refs hand it back to team custody?

TB: I have no idea. That’s not part of my process.

Q: Is it a ball boy or equipment manager?

TB: I have no idea. I’m preparing for the game. I would never be a part of that.

Q: Who handles the footballs during the week? If you say you like a certain ball for the game, where does that ball go?

TB: The quarterbacks always, we’ll throw the balls, and if we like a ball, then we throw it aside.

Q: Has the NFL contacted your reps, agent, anything?

TB: I’m not sure, I’d say that. They may or may not have. I’m supposed to talk to my agent after and that may be one of the things that he wants to talk about.

Q: Have you seen them on-site at all here?

TB: No.

Q: Have you heard from former players or teammates about this controversy?

TB: I’ve had a lot of great support from a lot of people and I think in a situation like this, it’s a very … Like I said, sometimes some of the toughest things you deal with end up being the best things because you realize the people that you can rely on that love you and support you through something like this. I appreciate all their support. I tell them, ‘I’m OK. Things are going to be fine. This isn’t ISIS. No one’s dying.’ But we’ll get through this and hopefully we can really start preparing for Seattle and get our mind focused there because they’re going to take all my mental energy for the next 10 days.

Q: Do you think this got blown out of proportion for absolutely no reason?

TB: I think the integrity of the game is very important. Yeah, integrity of the game is very important.

Q: Have you reached out to the equipment staff to see if they did anything to the footballs?

TB: Yeah, and they haven’t, and I believe them, and they also know how I like the balls, and I tell them how great they are before the game – ‘Perfect job, great job’. So, they know how I like it, and that’s exactly the way they are.

  • The actual question from the video was “Tom, have you personally sought out anyone from the equipment staff just to ask them if they did anything with the footballs? His response, “Yeah, and they haven’t, and I believe them…” This is an ambiguous response. They haven’t what? This also contradicts somewhat his previous response to the question earlier when he was asked, “Have you tried to find out why the balls were under-inflated?” His response to that question was, “That’s a great question. I think there are a lot of people that have more information than me. I only know what I’ve kind of gone through and the process I’ve taken as part of the game and the postgame, as well as trying to prepare for the Super Bowl. Yeah, I have questions, too. But there’s nobody that I know that can answer the questions that I have. I just have tried my best to focus on what I need to do, to be prepared for Seattle.” As pointed out, his use of “that’s a great question” is often a stalling tactic, giving the individual a second to think of a response, but as also mentioned that question however is straight forward and does not require much though, so why the delay tactic? It could be answered with a “yes” or a “no”. Both of these questions deserve further follow-up.

Q: You and Bill Belichick both said that you don’t know what happened, though you are generally regarded as being two of the most prepared guys in football. If you were sitting here or back at home, would you believe that you guys don’t know anything about how the footballs were deflated, or would you be skeptical?

TB: Everybody can have an opinion, and I think that whatever opinion people have, that’s OK by me. I think I put myself in this position where I can stand up here and deal with that. I know what I go through on daily basis. I know the process that I take. I also know what’s in my control and what’s out of my control. I think a lot of my whole life has been about focusing on the things that are in my control and trying to do the best with that opportunity and the best I can with it. If I don’t know something, I don’t know something. I don’t know what to say other than that. I just know the process that I go through and I’m very comfortable with it. Hopefully we can go forward and play a great game a week from Sunday.

Q: When you were driving home Sunday, is this the last thing you thought you’d be talking about in your press conference?

TB: Yeah, absolutely. Like I said, I had no – yeah. Thanks guys. I think Stace [Vice President of Media Relations Stacey James] said, ‘That’s it,’ about 10 minutes ago, so thank you guys.

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