The issue is: The New England Patriots had somewhat deflated footballs, which this franchise quarterback has acknowledged in 2011 that he prefers.
Did he do it?
Did he have knowledge of it?
It would be far pressed to believe that the New England Patriots would do this if it was not something that their quarterback wanted, and there are many possible scenarios in which they did this without telling him, knowing his preference, or that he orchestrated it, or that it is a distraction, or...
on and on it goes.
Instead, we let the language guide us.
We also set up the "Expected Versus the Unexpected" in Statement Analysis. We presuppose that Tom Brady is innocent both of doing it, and of knowing of it. We therefore, expect a short, honest answer and there to be 'no story', as a Reliable Denial (RD) makes the story boring and the press loses interest. Football is a business in existence to make money. Wins mean money in many ways. Press also can mean money, as it is free publicity. It is likely that more people may be watching the Superbowl due to this present controversy.
A Reliable Denial has three components. If it has two, or four, it may be true, but statistically, it is not deemed reliable.
I. The pronoun "I" is used
2. The past tense verb "didn't" or "did not" is used
3. The allegation or issue is specifically addressed.
Some samples of Unreliable denials:
"I would never..."
"I didn't do it", without identifying what "it" is.
"I never did that" substituting the word "never" for "did not"
Statement Analysis is in bold type following quotes. Emphasis added to the original.
TB: Obviously I’d much rather be up here talking about the Seahawks and preparing for the Super Bowl, which we’ve been trying to do for the last few days. I know Coach Belichick addressed it with you guys this morning and I wanted to give you guys the opportunity to ask [the] questions that you want. I’ll do my best to provide the answers that I have, if any, and we’ll go from there.
The word "obviously" is used when someone wants us to take their word on something without question; which is something we do not do. We believe their words and follow what they tell us, instead of taking something without question. He needs to issue a simple denial (RD) if he wishes to be believed and have the issue go away.
"It" in this case, refers to the allegation of deflated footballs, which the subject has previously stated, are to his preference in playing.
Q: When and how did you supposedly alter the balls?
Analytical Interviewing is interviewing based upon the analysis of a statement, and asks questions using the subject's own words. One of the rules we follow in this is:
Do Not Ask Compound Questions.
Compound questions allow the subject to choose which to answer. The Interviewer presupposes the balls were altered yet seeks to ingratiate himself to the subject (to get him to speak) with "supposedly"...
the compound question is:
TB:I didn’t have any – I didn’t alter the ball in any way. I have a process that I go through before every game where I go in and I pick the footballs that I want to use for the game. Our equipment guys do a great job of breaking the balls in; they have a process that they go through. When I pick those balls out, at that point to me they’re perfect. I don’t want anyone touching the balls after that. I don’t want anyone rubbing them, putting any air in them, taking any air out. To me those balls are perfect and that’s what I expect when I show up on the field. That happened obviously on Sunday night. It was the same process that I always go through. I didn’t think anything of it. Obviously I woke up Monday morning and answered a question on the radio about it and that was the first I really heard about it.
1. He begins in the negative, and stops himself (self-censoring), making it important to him. What was he going to say?
Remember: people rarely will lie outright, instead leaving out information (editing process) to avoid the internal stress of a direct lie.
Was he going to say "I didn't have any knowledge of altered footballs"? We do not know.
2. "I didn't alter the balls in any way" starts as a strong denial, but then adds "in any way" which now introduces the topic of altering the footballs in ways other than deflation. This may indicate that altering footballs has been discussed with or by the subject.
3. Ending the statement: even with "in any way", had he stopped talking here, the press would have been stumped a bit. This is expected from truthful, innocent people. "I didn't alter the footballs" could take the air out of the press conference. (sorry). However, the subject continues, which gives us additional information.
4. "I pick the footballs that I want..." is very strong and likely to be truthful. This also puts the subject in a position of responsibility for the footballs and shows that he is knowledgable about their condition. He is not a spectator who takes the field and is not part of the "loop" of which footballs to use, and which to discard. This is a key piece of information.
5. "those" is appropriate distancing language for the context.
6. "I don't think" is in the negative, making it important.
7. "Obviously" (see above)
8. "Really" indicates that he had heard about it, in another means, before the radio. This is an indicator that something was known and/or discussed, before he heard about it on the radio.
Q: This has raised a lot of uncomfortable conversations for people around this country who view you as their idol. The question they’re asking themselves is, ‘What’s up with our hero?’ Can you answer right now, is Tom Brady a cheater?
A short speech (to be avoided) followed by the question:
"Can you answer, Is Tom Brady a cheater", which is not only poorly worded, but is a "yes or no" question. The question is not if he is a cheater, but can you answer.
The expected is a firm "no" without equivocation.
TB: I don’t believe so. I feel like I’ve always played within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules. I believe in fair play and I respect the league and everything they’re doing to try to create a very competitive playing field for all the NFL teams. It’s a very competitive league. Every team is trying to do the best they can to win every week. I believe in fair play and I’ll always believe in that for as long as I’m playing.
Statistics have shown that humans rarely lie outright, due not so much to a conscience, but the internal stress of being left open to be seen as a "liar", therefore, 90% plus will simply edit out words. Here: The subject does not commit to a firm "no" as to either answering, or being a cheater. To use the word "believe" allows for himself, or others, to "believe" otherwise. This is a an indication that he, himself, knows things that he has done wrong, against the rules, that would be considered "cheating."
Some athletes do not 'consider' things to be 'cheating" if everyone does it. See Lance Armstrong.
I "feel" continues with the weakness. This is another indication that he is aware of going outside the rules. The other assertions of "belief" should be seen in context: self affirmations.
We do not expect a self affirmation in a direct denial. This means that the subject is not able to say "I did not cheat" or "I am not a cheater" as his brain, in less than a microsecond, chose the word "believe" to avoid the stress of inner conflict.
Note the introduction by the subject of the topic of competition as a possible reason for justifying deflating footballs.
Q: Some people think Coach Belichick threw you under the bus this morning, do you feel that way?
TB: No, I think everyone is obviously trying to figure out what happened. I think that’s the main thing over the last couple days. It’s trying to figure out what happened. Like I said, I was as surprised as anybody when I heard Monday morning what was happening. I think over the last few days people have been trying to figure out – as the NFL is trying to figure out – what part of the process and from when I saw the ball which was five hours before halftime, what exactly happened.
Please note that "think" is weak, and "like I said" is a self-reference indicating that he is not speaking from experiential memory, but from memory of what he said previously.
"what was happening" is to avoid saying "what we did", or even "what happened" and refers to the ongoing process resulting from the action of producing footballs that the NFL called "significantly" deflated (more than 90% were said to be deflated).
Q: Do all quarterbacks doctor the balls and have you done anything differently from anyone else in the league?
This is actually a great question, though not worded correctly. The Interviewer is likely aware of the athletic code of "everyone cheats", and as the Interviewer likely picked up on the weakness of his "believe" statement.
This is often used in obtaining confessions late in the interview, or in the follow up interview. In theft, for example, "I know the economy is rough and you have a family to feed and the company promised you a raise and lied to you..."
TB:I’m not sure. I can only speak for myself. I think that there’s a process that everybody goes through breaking in footballs. It’s probably a lot like a baseball mitt when you’re a kid. I try to explain that to my friends a lot. When you use it and that’s your equipment, the football is something that I handle on every play. I want to be very familiar with the equipment that I’m using, just like my cleats, just like my helmet, just like my pads. You go through that process of breaking the balls in and getting comfortable with them. Of course I choose the balls that I want to use for the game and that’s what I expect to go out on the playing field with.
Here is where we expect, "I'm not sure, but I didn't deflate the footballs and I don't know if someone did" as a strong denial. Instead, he is allowing room for not only cheaters, but excuses and introduces baseball mitts.
Baseball mitts are "broken in" to fit the hand of the user. This suggests that the deflation of footballs is done to fit the hand of the user.
This will likely cause many listeners to believe that the footballs have been deflated to fit the hand of the subject.
Q: How important is it for you to get this out of the way and take this head-on so you can get focused on the Super Bowl?
Getting it "out of the way" is done by a simple denial. As an organization that exists to make money, is "getting this out of the way" something the team wishes to do? Will he bring the topic "close", or will he distance himself from the topic of bringing the controversy to an end?
TB: That’s where the importance is, as far as I’m concerned. I know this is a very important thing and that’s why I’m here addressing it. I know my teammates, we accomplished something really special getting to this point. I don’t like the fact that this is taking away from some of the accomplishment of what we’ve achieved as a team. I think hopefully our best is still to come. We’re going to work as hard as we can over the next 10 days to put ourselves in a great position to be prepared for the game.
As far as getting the topic to go away, we find the word "that" used twice.
As far as the team's accomplishments, we find the word "this"
One may begin to think that the organization is not completely disturbed by this controversy.
Q: Do you know the difference between an under-inflated ball and an over-inflated ball? Did you notice a difference in the balls used in the first half and second half?
compound question. Also, not an intelligent question even if the Interviewer did not know about his professed fondness for deflated footballs; all the Interviewer had to do was listen to the answer about baseball mitts to know the preference of a perfectly fitting football.
The subject is the game's top professional, and there is likely not a single minute detail that he does not grasp.
TB: From the first half to the second half, I didn’t think twice about it. I didn’t put one thought into the football at that point. Once I approve the ball, like I said, that’s the ball that I expect out there on the field. It wasn’t even a thought, inkling of a concern of mine that they were any different. I just assumed that they were exactly the same: first half, second half.
He reports what he did not think, rather than what he did think. He next repeats this with what he did not do with his thoughts. He "expects" the ball that he approved of to be the ball out there. He, again, puts himself in responsibility for the footballs.
Q: What do you say to the skeptics that say, ‘The Patriots have had violations before. How can we possibly believe what Brady and the coach are saying now?’
TB: Everybody has an opinion. I think everybody has the right to believe whatever they want. I don’t ever cast judgment on someone’s belief system. If that’s what they feel like they want to do, then I don’t have a problem with that. I think part of being in this position and putting yourself under a spotlight like this and being open for criticism, I think that’s very much a part of being a professional athlete. We can only express to you what our side is and how we approach it. Then everyone is going to make their own.
He does not deny cheating (violations) instead allowing for others to have the opinion that the organization resorts to forms of advantages outside the strict rule set.
Truthful people do not allow for them to be seen otherwise.
Innocent people do not allow for guilt that does not belong to them. This statement is a strong indication that the subject knows of other violations committed by his team in their competition to win.
Q: Are you comfortable that nobody on the Patriots side did anything wrong? Another "yes or no" question that should only be answered with "yes"
TB: I have no knowledge of anything. I have no knowledge of any wrongdoing –
he avoids the simple denial to a simple question. Thus, the question itself is sensitive to him. It is then asked again, since it was not answered, showing that the Interviewer was listening:
Q: Are you comfortable that nobody did anything?
TB: Yeah, I’m very comfortable saying that. I’m very comfortable saying that nobody did it, as far as I know. I don’t know everything. I also understand that I was in the locker room preparing for a game. I don’t know what happened over the course of the process with the footballs. I was preparing for my own job, doing what I needed to do.
Note that his comfort is sensitive with the word "very", but he then quickly distances himself from the comfort with the word "that", rather than "this." Being "very comfortable" is now sensitive, as seen in the need to repeat it. Being prepared to be accused of knowing, he defends himself without the attack with, "I don't know everything." He "understands" that he was in the locker room. This is to indicate that he is aware of his alibi, highlighting a need for an alibi.
Q: A few years ago you said you liked the ball deflated. You were quoted saying you like throwing a deflated ball. Explain that comment in the context of what you’re dealing with this week.
TB: I obviously read that I said that. I like them at the way that I like them, which is at 12.5. To me, that’s a perfect grip for the football. I think that particular term, deflated or inflated, whatever norm you’re using, you could probably use. I would never do anything outside of the rules of play. I would never have someone do something that I thought was outside the rules.
Q: So you never knowingly played with a football that was under 12.5-pounds?
Q: Have you tried to find out why the balls were under-inflated?
TB: That’s a great question. I think there are a lot of people that have more information than me. I only know what I’ve kind of gone through and the process I’ve taken as part of the game and the postgame, as well as trying to prepare for the Super Bowl. Yeah, I have questions, too. But there’s nobody that I know that can answer the questions that I have. I just have tried my best to focus on what I need to do, to be prepared for Seattle.
Since the footballs are compared to the baseball mitt breaking in process which seeks to mold the glove to fit the user specifically, there is no reason to learn "why" the footballs were deflated. The subject deflects the question with "That's a great question" while avoiding answering it.
Q: If you know the look and feel of the football that you like, do you think there could have been other games where you played with an under-inflated football?
TB: I don’t know. Like I said, once I’m out on the field, I’m playing. I have no thought of the football at that point. I’m thinking about the defense, I’m thinking about the execution of the play and what I need to do. I’m not thinking about how the football feels. I grip the football –
Q: Are you wondering if you’ve played with an under-inflated ball before?
TB: I have no idea. I have no idea. This was the first that I’ve heard of it. Obviously on Monday morning, was the first that I heard of it.
Q: If it’s found that someone improperly tampered with the balls, is it important to you that someone is held accountable?
TB: I’m not the one that imposes [that] type of accountably. It’s discipline and all that, that’s not really my job. Obviously I’d like to know what happened, as you all would, too. In the meantime, I’m going to try to do the best I can to play against the Seahawks. Because I can’t do anything with what’s happened in the past. I have to just go forward with the most awareness I can going forward and trying to be the best I can be for our team.
Q: How does it make you feel that they’re calling your team cheaters?
TB: You know, I think a big part of playing here is trying to ignore the outside forces and influences and people that are maybe fans of our team or not fans of your team or fans of yourself or not fans of yourself. Like I said, everybody is entitled to an opinion. Those opinions rest with those people. I think you can just go out and try to be the best you can be, deal with people with respect, with honesty, with integrity, have a high moral standard. I’ve always really tried to exemplify that as an athlete. I’ll continue to try to do that.
Q: Does this motivate you guys?
TB: We’ve had a lot of motivation. I would say we’ve got a lot of motivation as a team. I think our team has overcome a lot of adversity this year. I think sometimes in life the biggest challenges end up being the best things that happen in your life. We’ve overcome a lot of those this year as a team. So, we can rally around one another and support one another. You can be the best teammate you can possibly be and you can go out and support each other and try to go win a very important game.
Q: Did you address your teammates today and if so, what did you say to them?
TB: Those are very personal things with my teammates. That was very personal comments.
Q: Did you see the footballs before they went to the referees?
TB: Yeah. It’s always the same process. I get here – the playoffs I got here pretty early before the games. Then I go in there and I choose however many balls are necessary for the games. Sometimes it’s 12, 16, 18, 24. This last particular game was 24. I felt them. They were perfect. I wouldn’t want anyone touching those. I would zip those things up and lock them away until I got out on the field and an opportunity to play with them. That’s what I thought I was doing.
Q: We’re you surprised when you heard those footballs had been deflated by two pounds?
TB: Absolutely. That was very surprising to me.
Was it the volume of deflation that was "very" surprising to him?
Q: One of your teammates said this was a media thing. Is that your feeling? Is there a feeling behind closed doors that this is being blown out of proportion?
A "media thing" refers to hype in a story.
TB: No, it’s very serious. This is a very serious topic. Obviously the integrity of the sport is very important. I think there’s another focus that we have also as a team that guys are very focused on our opponent and the things that we need to do to try to be successful. Everyone is trying to figure out what happened. But at the same time, you have to prepare for the Seahawks also.
He does not say "the league is trying to figure out" but "everybody"; who is "everybody"?
Q: You laughed this off on Monday on the radio. Now you’re more somber about it. What happened between Monday and today?
TB: Look, that was real early in the morning. I got home at 12, one o’clock and woke up to do the radio interview and I was very shocked to hear it. I almost laughed it off thinking it was more sour grapes than anything. Then it ends up being a very serious thing when you start learning the things that –
Q: When the start of the second half was delayed and the balls were swapped out, how did you guys on the sideline not know what was going on on the field with respect to the footballs?
although worded in the negative, making it more of an accusation than a question, it is interesting to listen to his response:
TB: I don’t think anybody knew there was an issue with the balls. I think they said, ‘The balls are not ready for play.’ And then I turn around in the huddle and the ball was ready for play. So, I didn’t think anything of it.
His body posture indicates tension. The word "think" with regard to "anybody" is appropriately weak since he can not know what everyone was thinking.
Q: Nobody said anything to you on the sideline? It was a good minute delay.
TB: I wasn’t paying attention to what was happening at that time. I don’t remember. Everything was happening obviously so fast in the middle of the game. I was thinking about the series, to go out there and the execution of the game.
Q: The officials didn’t say a word to you?
This is a yes or no question:
Note the strength, even in a yes or no question, where he does not feel a need to go beyond the one word response. This is not like him, and this is likely to be a truthful response.
Q: Do you feel like you had an unfair advantage over the Colts?
Here is a yes or no question again:
TB: I feel like we won the game fair and square. We ended up playing a great opponent and I thought our team went out and played a great game offensively, defensively special teams. It was a great accomplishment to reach the AFC Championship, to win the AFC Championship and then to have the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl. That was a great feeling after the game. Obviously the next few days and hearing the football issue has taken away from a little bit of that, but hopefully we’ll rally around one another to bring it back to the task at hand which is to try to go out and be the best we can be.
The question of an unfair advantage is sensitive to the subject, as seen in his avoidance of it. This suggests that the subject knows how a perfectly fitting ball for his hands impacts his game.
Q: Is this a moment to just say ‘I’m sorry,’ to the fans?
To say "I'm sorry" is to admit guilt. The only reasonable answer is, "No, because I didn't do it, and neither did my equipment guys."
TB: I think it’s disappointing that a situation like this happens. Obviously I’d love to be up here talking about , in a very joyful mood. These are the two best weeks of the year if you happen to be one of the two teams still playing. It should be a great two weeks. I’m obviously very disappointed that we have to be having a press conference like this. I wish I could give you more answers or the answers that you guys were looking for. But I don’t have some of those answers.
He avoids denying ownership of guilt.
Q: For the fans that are watching and looking into that camera, what do you say?
Here is another place for "I didn't do it" and "I didn't have knowledge..."
TB: I’m not sure. What would you like me to say? I’m not quite sure.
Q: Does the league have a responsibility to button this up so everybody can move on?
TB: I think they’ll do however they see fit. You know, I think that’s up to their responsibility to do whatever they want to do. That’s kind of usually what happens anyway. Like I said, I know they’re doing their investigation. I don’t know what will happen after that.
Q: Do you feel like you’re hanging in the wind?
TB: No, I think we’re preparing for the Super Bowl. I think this is obviously something we’re having to address, but at the same time, I think we’re focused on trying to go out and beat the Seahawks.
Q: Did the league investigators talk to you?
TB: Not yet.
Q: You said earlier that first the issue seemed minor and then you became it was more serious. What was it that convinced you of the seriousness?
TB: I just wasn’t, obviously, aware Monday morning of everything that had happened. So just as I learned more, you understand that there’s more than what I initially –
Q: What’s so serious about it to you?
TB: Just the integrity of the game. I think that’s a very important issue to always be mindful of as an athlete, and fair play. I think we set a great example for the younger athletes, the younger kids, the college kids, the high school kids. We want to be the ones to set the great example.
Q: Are you frustrated by this process? Are you surprised by the process of what the story has become? What do you hope the end result is going forward?
Here is a compound question consisting of three questions. This should be avoided by those who seek information.
TB: I’m not sure if I have a hope. I haven’t put much thought into that. It’s been just a short period of time. I’d really love to go out there and play a great game. Obviously the NFL would love to figure out what happened in this situation. I try to keep everything in perspective. I’m happy we have an opportunity to play in the next game. obviously I’m disappointed by the footballs of last game, but I can’t do anything about what happened. I can only try to – I can only do something going forward.
Which question is he answering?
Q: The league has not spoken to or contacted you yet?
TB: No, but they may. They may. I think that’s obviously their choice.
Q: Do you find that odd though?
TB: Sure, yeah, they might. They might.
Q: It’s odd that they haven’t at this point. You’re the quarterback and you’re the center of this story right now and the league’s officials haven’t talked to you indicates to a lot of people they’re letting this drag on.
TB: I’m not sure.
Q: Have you been told they will talk to you?
TB: I’m not sure.
Note the weakness of his response. He knows.
Q: There are people who are going to say, ‘You’re so familiar with the equipment, how could you not know?’ What would you say to them?
TB: I addressed that a little bit earlier. Like I said, I don’t put any thought into the footballs after I choose them. When you’re out there playing in front of 70,000 people, like a home crowd, you don’t think about [it]. You’re just reacting to the game. I don’t certainly think about the football. I just assume it’s the same one I approved in the pregame.
He admits that he puts the thoughts into the footballs before he chooses them. This is to avoid the issue of under inflation.
Q: Do you break the balls in during practice?
TB: We break them in in practice, certainly sometimes. Yeah, we definitely do that. It’s different from game to game. Some days one ball may feel good; the next day it may not. It depends on maybe how, I don’t know, the humidity in the air or how old the ball was. There are a lot of variables with obviously Mother Nature and the balls. Whatever feels good that day, those are the ones I would typically choose.
Note the progression from "certainly sometimes" to "definitely" while employing the pronoun "we", even though the question was, "do you...?"
Note the introduction of the word "humidity" which shows an acute awareness on the part of Tom Brady of field conditions beyond just "raining" or "cold" but to a specific. His mental preparation is likely very strong .
Q: Those are the same ones that Bill Belichick squirts water on in practice?
TB: Yeah, he does that a lot. It could be, yeah. It definitely could be.
Q: You said you didn’t want the balls to be touched after you approved them. You didn’t notice that 15 percent of the air was out of the ball when you started using it? It didn’t strike you during the first half?
TB: I didn’t feel any different. I would just assume that it was the same thing. Like I said, once I get the ball, I’m dropping back and reading the coverage and throwing the ball. I’m not –
Q: Basketball players would know if the ball was off after taking two shots. Baseball players could pick up a bat and know if it was less than ounce different. You’re asking us to believe that you couldn’t tell 15 percent of the football was deflated and you didn’t notice?
TB: I wouldn’t know on a particular play. It was a very wet, cold, windy night. Like I said –
Q: But D’Qwell Jackson noticed.
TB: I don’t know. I don’t do that. I get the snap, I drop back, I throw the ball. I grip it and I try to throw the ball. That the extent of me touching the football. I don’t sit there and try to squeeze it and determine that. if that’s what the Colts wanted to do, then that’s what they wanted to do. That’s what their decision was. But I certainly didn’t. No, I did not recognize that. I did not feel a difference between the first half and the second half when supposedly they were inflated to the original or even more inflated. I didn’t notice any difference. I didn’t obviously think there was anything different between halves.
Q: When you initially tested the balls, did you think you would have noticed if the balls were under-inflated at that time?
TB: I don’t know. I guess it’s a challenging thing. I’m not squeezing the balls. That’s not part of my process. I grab it, I feel the lace, I feel the leather, I feel the tack on the ball. That’s really what you go for. It’s not like I ever squeeze the football. I just grip the football. I think there’s maybe a little bit of a difference of how I do that.
Q: What about the fact that you had better numbers after they exchanged the balls?
TB: Yeah. Like I said, I didn’t think any differently in the second half as I did in the first half. I know we had a great second half. It was due to great execution by a lot of great football player. Like I said, I know that’s obviously what they said. They inflated them. I didn’t notice a difference. I wish I could tell you something different. I just didn’t notice a difference.
Q: Bill Belichick said the team will inflate the balls over the minimum requirement from now on. Is that going to be an adjustment if 12.5 pounds is what you like?
TB: I don’t think that would make much of a difference. Like I said, I didn’t feel any difference between what was a 13-pound football or an 11-pound football the other night. That is pretty irrelevant to me.
Q: Will you lobby the league to change the rules surrounding this situation?
TB: What situation, what process would that be – about us breaking in our own balls?
Q: Making sure the balls are the proper weight throughout the game.
TB: Yeah, if they want to do that I have no problem with that. I certainly wouldn’t want them to take away us breaking the balls in. I think that’s a great thing for all the quarterbacks to have the balls in play that they want to use. Everybody has a preference. Some guys like them round and some guys like them thin. Some guys like them tacky. Some guys like them brand new. Some guys like old balls. They’re all different. And it’s leather. [When] every batch comes, they’re different. You’ve got to feel them and you try to go out and you try to use the ones that you like the best, the ones that you use in practice. You want to go out there and try to have the most possible consistency you can to go in the game with.
Q: Will you try to get the league to change the rules so you never handle a ball that isn’t the proper weight?
TB: Absolutely, if they want to check that, I would love for them to be at 12.5. Like I said, I think that’s the perfect fit for me. I know there are other quarterbacks, like I said, that may prefer more than that, but that’s what works for me. It’s all a very individual thing.
Q: Is it possible the refs may have missed this?
TB: I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t know what happened. I have no explanation for it. I don’t know what happened between the time that I touched it – really until Monday morning, I had no idea what happened with the balls.
Q: Who handles the balls after the refs hand it back to team custody?
TB: I have no idea. That’s not part of my process.
Q: Is it a ball boy or equipment manager?
TB: I have no idea. I’m preparing for the game. I would never be a part of that.
Q: Who handles the footballs during the week? If you say you like a certain ball for the game, where does that ball go?
TB: The quarterbacks always, we’ll throw the balls, and if we like a ball, then we throw it aside.
Q: Has the NFL contacted your reps, agent, anything?
TB: I’m not sure, I’d say that. They may or may not have. I’m supposed to talk to my agent after and that may be one of the things that he wants to talk about.
Q: Have you seen them on-site at all here?
Q: Have you heard from former players or teammates about this controversy?
TB: I’ve had a lot of great support from a lot of people and I think in a situation like this, it’s a very … Like I said, sometimes some of the toughest things you deal with end up being the best things because you realize the people that you can rely on that love you and support you through something like this. I appreciate all their support. I tell them, ‘I’m OK. Things are going to be fine. This isn’t ISIS. No one’s dying.’ But we’ll get through this and hopefully we can really start preparing for Seattle and get our mind focused there because they’re going to take all my mental energy for the next 10 days.
This is something that should be learned in principle, so that its application is evenly used. Minimization. Here, he compares what he has been accused of with an Islamic based terrorist group that kills people. We find this form of minimizing comparison often in the language of the guilty: Child molesters will say the child was not injured and point to something "much worse" like a child's death. Thieves will often speak of greater thefts, or the "millions" companies earn; comparing it to their own "insignificant" "mistake." and so on. (the amount a liar takes will grow with each success) While seeking to minimize, what the subject does, however, is confess that he knows what he did was wrong, but that it should be judged in comparison to something much worse: "no one's dying." This is an admission of wrong doing, with the purpose of introducing something much worse, in order to alleviate guilt. Note that he not only introduces terrorism and death, but does so in the negative, with "this isn't ISIS." This will likely bring much criticism to the subject. It is a "red herring" that shows the necessity of "changing the topic at hand" to: a. reduce guilt b. change people's minds Please note his need to minimize.
Q: Do you think this got blown out of proportion for absolutely no reason?
TB: I think the integrity of the game is very important. Yeah, integrity of the game is very important.
He avoids the softball question. (see above: ISIS)
Q: Have you reached out to the equipment staff to see if they did anything to the footballs?
TB: Yeah, and they haven’t, and I believe them, and they also know how I like the balls, and I tell them how great they are before the game – ‘Perfect job, great job’. So, they know how I like it, and that’s exactly the way they are.
This is consistent with his "baseball mitt" reference.
Q: You and Bill Belichick both said that you don’t know what happened, though you are generally regarded as being two of the most prepared guys in football. If you were sitting here or back at home, would you believe that you guys don’t know anything about how the footballs were deflated, or would you be skeptical?
TB: Everybody can have an opinion, and I think that whatever opinion people have, that’s OK by me.
please note that he allows for the opinion of guilt; something the innocent do not allow for.
I think I put myself in this position where I can stand up here and deal with that. I know what I go through on daily basis. I know the process that I take. I also know what’s in my control and what’s out of my control. I think a lot of my whole life has been about focusing on the things that are in my control and trying to do the best with that opportunity and the best I can with it. If I don’t know something, I don’t know something. I don’t know what to say other than that. I just know the process that I go through and I’m very comfortable with it. Hopefully we can go forward and play a great game a week from Sunday.
We find similar language in the unreliable denial of a steroid user. The steroid user works very hard and disciplines himself nutritionally, which, without these two elements, he would not have success. The steroids allow for faster recovery from the hard intense workouts. Therefore, the user references how hard he works, rather than the use of the steroid. To Brady, the deflated football is one tiny aspect of preparation which, without his talent and dedication, would be meaningless. It is to excuse or minimize something that is not strong in his thinking, even though it is precisely what the public wanted to know.
Q: When you were driving home Sunday, is this the last thing you thought you’d be talking about in your press conference?
TB: Yeah, absolutely. Like I said, I had no – yeah. Thanks guys. I think Stace said, ‘That’s it,’ about 10 minutes ago, so thank you guys.
Tom Brady likely did not alter the footballs, himself, but it is something done by the team equipment managers to Brady's precise and personal approval. By this time, they know what PSI he wants, so there is little or no need to discuss it with him.
Tom Brady also recognizes that this is a form of "cheating" technically, but likely believes it is part of the game that all teams do, along with other activities that are employed by his team.
Expect the New England Patriots to receive some form of correction from the league.
They know what they have done. It is likely something done for so long that there is no need to "think about it" during the game. It appears, by his language, that this is routine, and that the footballs should be tailored to fit his hand perfectly, like a baseball mitt is broken in to fit the hand of the specific user; rather than being shared with others. He knows, the coach knows, and Tom Brady reveals to us that there are other things that his organization has done that are wrong, but not as bad as terrorist killings . We may eventually get a confession from one of the employees, perhaps after the subject retires.