Saying his team "followed the rules to the letter," New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick explained how his team prepares its footballs on game day and defended his players from chatter that they made it to the Super Bowl by cheating via deflated game balls. In an unscheduled availability this afternoon, eight days before the Patriots play the Seattle Seahawks for the NFL title, Belichick described an internal study into how the footballs are prepared to quarterback Tom Brady's liking.
Most of the steps are designed to make them tackier for a better grip, he said, but the process could also affect the pressure inside the ball. "There have been questions raised, and I believe now, 100%, that I have personally and we have as an organization have absolutely followed every rule to the letter," Belichick said. "At no time was there any intent to compromise the integrity of the game." Referencing an earlier scandal involving his taping of other coaches' signals, Belichick denied that there is a pattern of rule-breaking. "It was wrong. We were disciplined for it," he said. "We never did it again." Earlier this week, Brady said he hadn't tampered with the footballs.