Tom Brady has denied any knowledge or involvementin the deflated-footballs scandal that has taken over the NFL.
Some people in the NFL world aren’t buying it.
Immediately after a press conference on Thursday, ESPN’s panel of former players — Mark Brunell, Jerome Bettis, Brian Dawkins — said they couldn’t believe that Brady didn’t know something was up with the balls.
Not only did Brady claim he didn’t alter the footballs himself, he also said he didn’t notice they were underinflated — and had no idea how they could have gotten that way.
Brunell said that’s impossible to believe:
“I did not believe what Tom had to say. Those balls were deflated. Somebody had to do it, and I don’t believe there’s an equipment manager in the NFL who on his own initiative would deflate a ball without his starting quarterback’s approval. I just didn’t believe what Tom Brady had to say. … That football is our livelihood. If you don’t feel good about throwing that ball, your success on the football field can suffer from that.”
He was visibly angry when he said it.
“I can’t believe it. I needed to take a sip of water. I could not believe what I heard,” he said.
Dawkins was incredulous that Belichick and Brady both said they had no idea what happened to the footballs:
“It’s unbelievable. … Tom Brady says he does not know. Bill Belichick says he does not know. So the equipment manager is getting thrown under the bus. Now he’s the guy? Now he’s the one responsible? He took it upon himself to doctor up the balls when nobody else knew about them?”
Brady said he prefers the balls to be inflated to 12.5 pounds per square inch, the minimum amount of air pressure allowed under NFL rules. Eleven of the 12 balls that New England was using on offence in the AFC title game were found to be more than two pounds per square inch below that amount.
While most people are stopping short of calling Brady a liar, there’s healthy scepticism over how he could have been totally blindsided by this, even if he wasn’t directly involved.
Here’s video of the ESPN panel:
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