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i didn't deflate balls - brady

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.

Irish/American 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: "I think everyone is obviously trying to figure out what happened."

However, his peers don't believe him. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said: "I think people sometimes get a skewed view of Tom Brady. "That he's just a clean-cut (guy), does everything right, never says a bad word to anyone and we know him to be otherwise."

Former Packers, New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell said: "I did not believe what Tom had to say. Those balls were deflated. Somebody had to do it."

Another former quarterback Troy Aikman agreed: It's obvious that Tom Brady had something to do with this.

"For the balls to be deflated, that doesn't happen unless the quarterback wants that to happen, I can assure you of that."