In a press conference where he denied any involvement in the deflated ball scandal, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he had “zero” sympathy for players who are concerned about the quality of their footballs.
In fact, he said it’s his policy to butcher the practice footballs so that the players have to “deal with a harder situation in practice than they will ever have to deal with in a game.”
“However bad we can make them, I make them,” he said. “Any time that players complain about the quality of the footballs, I make them worse and that stops the complaining. We never use the condition of the footballs as an excuse.”
He said that he tries to make the balls “wet, sticky, cold, slippery” to make them as hard to use as possible.
Here’s his entire explanation:
“Let me just say that my personal coaching philosophy, my mentality has always been to make things as difficult as possible for players in practice. So with regard to footballs, I’m sure that any current or past player of mine would tell you that the balls we practice with are as bad as they can be: wet, sticky, cold, slippery. However bad we can make them, I make them. Any time that players complain about the quality of the footballs, I make them worse and that stops the complaining. We never use the condition of the footballs as an excuse. We play with whatever or kick with whatever we have to use and that’s the way it is. That has never been a priority for me and I want the players to deal with a harder situation in practice than they will ever have to deal with in the game. Maybe that’s part of our ball security philosophy.
“I’m trying to coach the team and that’s what I want to do. I think we all know that quarterbacks, kickers, specialists have certain preferences on footballs. They know a lot more about it than I do. They’re a lot more sensitive to it than I am. I hear them comment on it from time to time, but I can tell you and they will tell you that there is never any sympathy whatsoever from me on that subject. Zero.”
In the same press conference, Belichick says that the condition of the game balls is not his concern and that he didn’t even know the rules for how the balls were tested and delivered to the field.
He went as far to say, “I’ve never touched a game ball.”
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