Today, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady nearly brought another grown man to tears — he’s been known to do that from time to time. This afternoon, Brady addressed the media about DeflateGate, specifically answering questions about his pregame contact with game balls, his preferences about balls, and balls, balls, balls. Earlier in the day, head coach Bill Belichick denied that he had any knowledge of balls being deflated, and deflected questions toward his quarterback.
In a nutshell, Tom Brady also denied any connection to the controversy. While he did say that he prefers a lesser-filled ball, citing that 12.5 PSI balls feel “perfect” to him, he stated that he never asks anyone to deflate balls for him, he doesn’t deflate balls himself, and he doesn’t believe himself to be a cheater. In short, he claims to be as bewildered by this as anyone else, and said that the first he ever heard about Patriots’ balls being under-inflated was on Monday.
After the press conference, ESPN had longtime NFL quarterback Mark Brunell weigh in on the situation. Brunell started 151 games in his NFL career and is as familiar as anyone with pregame rituals regarding game balls. Simply put, he thought Tom Brady was flat-out lying in his press conference, and it seems that Brunell was highly offended by that — colleague Trey Wingo pointed out that Brunell was getting pretty emotional about it on set:
Immediately after Brunell finished, former NFL stars Jerome Bettis and Brian Dawkins also commented on Brady’s presser — both were in agreement with Brunell that Tom Brady wasn’t being truthful and that he’s lying when he says he has no idea what went on.
The bottom line seems to be that everyone agrees that the Patriots are lying and are cheaters, but nobody knows yet how the NFL will respond. Balls.