(FOXBOROUGH, Mass.) — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said Thursday he “didn’t alter the ball in any way” after reports that 11 of the 12 footballs provided by the team for its playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts were more than two pounds per square inch below regulation.
“I was as surprised as anybody when I heard Monday morning that this happened,” the three-time Super Bowl champion said at a Thursday news conference.
“I think there’s a lot of people that have more information than me,” Brady said Thursday, “I only know what I’ve kinda gone through…I have questions too.” He also denied that he would ever cheat, saying, “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 that they’re doing to try to create a very competitive playing field for all the NFL teams.”
Fellow quarterback Aaron Rodgers told ESPN Radio affiliate 540 ESPN Milwaukee on Wednesday that if you don’t have a strong grip pressure or smaller hands there would be “an advantage in having a flat football…because that is easier to throw.”
The Colts had previously voiced concerns about under-inflated footballs supplied by the Patriots following the regular-season game between the two teams on Nov. 16, ESPN reported.
During that game, Colts safety Mike Adams intercepted two of Brady’s passes 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, which New England won by a score of 45-7.
In a news conference earlier Thursday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in response to the accusations: “I have no explanation for what happened.”
Belichick also said he is cooperating with the NFL’s investigation.
For the Super Bowl on Feb. 1, the game balls will be under the supervision of the equipment manager of another team, the Chicago Bears.
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