John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Several New England Patriots said Sunday they missed their coach’s scientific explanation for why footballs the team used in the AFC championship lacked enough air, but they seemed to agree: If Bill Belichick said it, there was probably something to it.
Defensive end Chandler Jones said he didn’t see the presentation about the science experiment Belichick gave at an impromptu press conference Saturday, but he saw no reason to doubt what he said.
“Coach Belichick is a very brilliant coach and I understand that he’s a smart man,” he said. “I feel like if he has an explanation for something then it helps.”
Jones added, “But I don’t really touch the ball. So I don’t know too much about it.”
Wide receiver Julian Edelman said he also wasn’t aware of Belichick’s press conference.
“Coach [has] always got his own thing going and I’ve moved on to Seattle last Sunday. That’s how I feel about that whole thing,” Edelman said.
Fullback James Develin said Belichick has the “fire” and “emotion” needed in the NFL.
“Any time I see that kind of fire out of anybody, whether it’s our quarterback or anybody, it always kind of inspires me,” he said. “Football is an emotional game and I think whenever you wear your heart on your sleeve and show that emotion, it’s always great.”
The players said they are instead focusing on next weekend’s Super Bowl.
Belichick talked about many things in the rambling press conference Saturday, including “atmospheric” and “climatic” conditions, that could have affected the air pressure in 11 of the 12 footballs the Patriots used in the AFC Championship game.
“If there’s activity in the football relative to the rubbing process, I think that explains why when we gave them to the officials and the officials put it at, let’s say 12.5, if that’s in fact what they did, that once the football reached its equilibrium state, it probably was closer to 11.5,” he said.
The NFL’s guidelines dictate that a ball must be inflated to about 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces.
“The atmospheric conditions, as well as the true equilibrium of the football is critical to the measurement,” Belichick added.
On Good Morning America Sunday, “Science Guy” Bill Nye said Belichick’s scientific explanation “didn’t make any sense.”
“Rubbing the football? I don’t think you can change the pressure,” Nye said. “To really change the pressure, you need the inflation needle.”
But the chairman of the Department of Physics at Boston College, Michael Neughton, says Belichick’s thesis is possible.
“Pressurized inside, brought outside and played in colder temperatures, my answer to that is the pressure in the balls must have changed,” he said.
Whatever caused the footballs to be underinflated, Belichick said it was not anything the team did intentionally.
“At no time was there any intent whatsoever to try to compromise the integrity of the game or to gain an advantage,” he said.
The NFL acknowledged for the first time Friday that the Patriots used under-inflated balls in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots beat the Colts 45-7 and will play the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
Patriots owner Bob Kraft said he told the team staff to be “completely cooperative and transparent with the league’s investigators,” and said the team takes it seriously.
The NFL is still investigating.
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