Super Bowl 2015: Tom Brady denies cheating after 'deflategate' scandal hits the New England Patriots

11 of the 12 balls used in the Patriots' victory over the Indianapolis Colts were found to be deflated below the required limit

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The Independent Online

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has protested his innocence after a number of footballs used in the win that took the team to the Super Bowl were found to be under-inflated.

ESPN has reported that 11 of the Patriots' 12 balls from Sunday's 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at the Gillette Stadium were below regulation pressure limits.

Brady, who will be aiming to pick up his fourth Super Bowl ring in Arizona on February 1, had an efficient evening as he threw for 226 yards.

The NFL is investigating the circumstances, which were a mystery to both star man Brady and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick when they spoke on Thursday.

Deflating a ball can, but will not necessarily, make it easier to catch. The saga has been dubbed 'deflategate' on social media.

Brady said: "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."

 

Asked directly if he was a cheat, Brady said: "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."

The 37-year-old added in a press conference, according to a transcript on the Patriots website: "I think everyone is obviously trying to figure out what happened.

"I think everybody has the right to believe whatever they want. I don't ever cast judgement 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."

Belichick also faces intense questioning over the situation, which could leave the Patriots facing punishment if they are found to have wilfully deflated the balls.

The Patriots head coach said: "The National Football League is investigating this situation. We have co-operated fully, quickly and completely with every request that they have made; [we] continue to be co-operative in any way that we can.

"I have no explanation for what happened. That's what they're looking into. So I can't comment on what they're doing. That's something that you should talk to them about."

The Seattle Seahawks await New England in the Super Bowl.

PA

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