(NEW YORK) — New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick said Thursday he was “shocked” and had “no explanation” about the accusations the team used under-inflated balls in this past Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
“I have no explanation for what happened,” he said during a news conference Thursday morning.
Belichick said he is cooperating with the NFL’s investigation.
“I can’t comment on what they’re doing,” he added.
Footballs, which are weighed before the game, must be inflated to no less than 12.5 pounds per square inch.
“Any deflation would then take us under that specification limit. Knowing that now, in the future, we will certainly inflate the footballs above that low level to account for any possible change during the game,” Belichik added.
A deflated ball could be easier for the quarterback to grip in bad weather, such as in Sunday’s rain at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
The Colts had raised concerns as far back as this past November about under-inflated balls supplied by the Patriots following its regular-season Nov. 16 game game, ESPN reported.
During that game, Colts safety Mike Adams twice intercepted three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady and gave the balls to the Colts’ equipment manager to save. Both times there were concerns about the balls feeling under-inflated, sources earlier this season had told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Those sources also said that the Colts raised concerns to the league, which was aware of the issue going into Sunday’s AFC Championship game. New England won the game, 45-7.
The minimum disciplinary action for tampering of a football is a fine of $25,000, according to the NFL’s game operations manual.
The controversy around “deflate-gate” has taken attention away from the Super Bowl, in which the Patriots will play the Seattle Seahawks.
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