I made it one whole day without writing about deflategate. It was a nice Friday not writing a single thing about it and it was shaping up to be a nice Saturday to not write about deflategate either, but then the Patriots called an impromptu press conference. And it was fantastic. Bill Belichick came out in rare form, talking and explaining the subject with passion.
Belichick offered extensive scientific explanations. He adamantly denied that the Patriots did anything wrong. He put all of the pressure on the NFL. And he even threw in a My Cousin Vinny reference, too.
Ultimately, here's what it boiled down to: "I believe now, 100 percent, that I have personally and (the Patriots) have absolutely followed every rule to the letter," Belichick said. His extensive scientific explanations built on that statement, as he continued to note that the Patriots conducted their own internal tests and he did extensive research (which you can't deny, as Belichick at least knew his stuff). And it was a smart move on Belichick and the Patriots' part. The NFL announced yesterday that they had hired Ted Wells to conduct the investigation, and they didn't address the specifics of the findings so far. What we know is that something happened to those footballs - the NFL's task is to try to prove whether or not it was the Patriots that deflated them.
Today, in his press conference, Belichick went on the offensive. While the NFL is being quiet as they conduct their investigation, Belichick stood in front of the media today and laid out in-depth the tests the Patriots did and the scientific knowledge behind what he was saying. He put all of the pressure on the NFL, forcing them to prove that it was the Patriots. It was a smart move and Belichick did it brilliantly. It'll now be very hard for the NFL to have this investigation concluded by the Super Bowl, and that might have factored into the Patriots' thinking as well. Whatever the reasons for the press conference today were, Belichick stood in front of the media and placed the ball in the Patriots' court. He dared the league to prove that it was the Patriots.
But there is one notable aspect that doesn't add up. Belichick noted that it could have been due to atmospheric pressure or the conditions outside that caused the footballs to deflate, but that brings up this question: why weren't the Colts' footballs deflated?
Consider this information from the Monday Morning Quarterback's Peter King (who is very connected to the NFL) - all twelve footballs from both teams that were tested pre-game were within the legal range of 12.5 to 13.5 PSI. At halftime, those footballs from both teams were again tested, and either eleven or twelve of the Patriots' footballs (out of twelve tested) were at least two pounds less than what they previously were, while the Colts' footballs were still within the range. Then after the game, those footballs were again tested. All 24 footballs were within the range. What does that mean? It means that the Colts' footballs had stayed within the one pound range for the entire game. The Patriots' footballs, on the other hand, had become deflated by at least two pounds each in the first half, but remained properly inflated in the second half.
In other words, consider this: even if the Colts' footballs were initially at the high end of the range (13.5 PSI), as some Patriots defenders have pondered, they lost less than one pound over the course of the entire game. The Patriots' footballs lost at least two pounds in the first half, but then stayed inflated in the second half. As King rightly concludes, "there is little doubt the New England footballs were tampered with by a human."
I don't really blame Belichick for not addressing this aspect of it. But for not a single reporter at the press conference to ask him about it? Really? This has been the biggest question for much of the week, so it's pretty amazing that reporters could sit through the press conference (in which Belichick strongly implied that the conditions could have been a reason for the under inflation) and then not ask about the Colts' footballs. Don't blame that one on Belichick - blame it on the reporters there who failed to ask.
That's a big question that remains unanswered. But I don't think that Bill Belichick set out to answer all of the questions that were out there. I think he set out to give the information that he had collected, to adamantly defend his team, undercut the NFL by going public first, and placing the pressure all on the league. Questions still exist, and big ones at that (the biggest of which I just highlighted). But Belichick and the Patriots are daring the NFL to prove that they're in the wrong - and that's not likely to happen before the Super Bowl.