FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Saying his team "followed the rules to the letter," New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick explained how his team prepares its footballs on game day and defended his players from chatter that they made it to the Super Bowl by cheating.
In an unscheduled availability on Saturday afternoon, eight days before the Patriots will play the Seattle Seahawks for the NFL title, Belichick described an internal study into how the footballs are prepared to quarterback Tom Brady's liking.
Most of the steps are designed to make them tackier for a better grip, he said, but the process could also affect the pressure inside the ball.
"There have been questions raised, and I believe now, 100 percent, that I have personally and we have as an organization have absolutely followed every rule to the letter," Belichick said. "At no time was there any intent to compromise the integrity of the game."
The Patriots reached the Super Bowl for the sixth time in Belichick's tenure when they beat the Colts 45-7 in the AFC championship on Sunday.
But later that night, Indianapolis TV station WTHR reported that some of the game balls provided by the Patriots for the use of their offense weren't sufficiently inflated.
The NFL has confirmed that it is investigating and the Patriots vowed to cooperate. Belichick said earlier in the week that he didn't know how the game balls were prepared, deferring to Brady; Brady also denied doing anything improper.