The New England Patriots held an impromptu press conference on Saturday. The press conference was scheduled to start around 2:30 PM, but then New England did a little bit of trolling with the media as the press conference actually started closer to 3:05 PM. What ensued was one of the more fascinating press conferences you'll see in the NFL, especially coming from a guy like Bill Belichick.
Over the past week, my personal hunch was that the Patriots didn't so anything wrong, which left the mystery dangling over my head all week: just how in the world did the footballs fall so far below the gameday requirements? During Saturday's presser, he came out firing, declaring right off the bat that he is 100% confident that the organization followed the NFL rules by the book:
Bill Belichick: "I believe 100 percent that we as an organization have absolutely followed every rule to the letter."— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 24, 2015
Belichick then went on to say that the team conducted an internal study over the past several days, and when the results were finalized today, he felt it was important to share what he knew as soon as possible so he could put this matter behind him.
Belichick: "I'm embarrassed to talk about the amount of time I've put into this, relative to the other challenge we have in front of us."— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 24, 2015
Bill Belichick says Patriots' process has raised football PSI approximately one pound through simulation preparing footballs— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) January 24, 2015
Expanding on the latter tweet, Belichick explained that in their experiment, they prepared the texture of the football exactly like they did leading up to last Sunday's game. They discovered that their preparation can cause the PSI of the football to fluctuate by about a pound depending on the atmospheric conditions. When the footballs were inflated by the officials at 12.5, it was in a "controlled environment," not exposed to the conditions. Once the footballs were out of that environment and exposed to the elements, the amount of PSI dropped by about a pound.
After the press conference, a lot of people on Twitter retorted with something like, "OK, but that still doesn't explain why the Colts' balls were fine." Actually, it does. Belichick stressed that every team prepares their balls a certain way. For all we know, Andrew Luck might not care much about how the footballs are prepared, whereas Tom Brady has made it clear that the team goes through a rigorous process to prepare the footballs. If you don't buy that explanation, that's fine -- but don't make it sound like an attempt at an explanation wasn't provided.
I'm leaning toward believing the Patriots. I'm sure that if someone in New England altered the footballs after the officials checked them, there is no way Belichick would have come out firing the way he did today. What do you think, Browns fans? Do you think the Patriots are "innocent" or "guilty" in "DeflateGate?"