Bill Belichick faced the media on Thursday and denied having any knowledge of the deflated balls used by the New England Patriots offence during the AFC Championship game.
By doing this, Belichick pushed the focus of the scandal off himself to some extent and on to his quarterback, Tom Brady, by saying “Tom’s personal preferences on his footballs are something that he can talk about in much better detail and information than I could possibly provide.”
Even before these comments, some in the NFL world were pointing their finger directly at Brady and absolving Belichick of any blame.
Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck on ESPN Radio put the blame squarely on Brady.
“There is no reason the coach would know what the balls’ specifications are or how it is broken in or anything like that,” Hasselbeck said. “There is no way Bill Belichick knows anything about this because he would never, ever be involved in the process. Neither would the quarterback coach or any other offensive coach.
“The decision on how the balls are broken in, to what specifications and all of that, is completely done by the starting quarterback in the equipment room. That’s who does it. That’s who works on it. I was on eight different teams. That was the process everywhere.”
Former NFL head coach and long-time commentator John Madden had similar comments according to MSN.com.
“That would have to be driven by the quarterback,” Madden said. “That’s something that wouldn’t be driven by a coach or just the equipment guy. Nobody, not even the head coach, would do anything to a football unilaterally, such as adjust the amount of pressure in a ball, without the quarterback knowing. It would have to be the quarterback’s idea.”
Hasselbeck went to explain that it was pretty clear somebody deflated the balls, reiterating a point made by former NFL official Gerry Austin that the balls for both teams were inspected at halftime and there was no issue with the balls being used by the Colts.
Brady will meet with the media on Thursday afternoon with the NFL world now starting look directly at him for what happened on Sunday.
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