A New England Patriots denial of any involvement in #DeflateGate was as certain as death and taxes. As soon as the NFL found that 11 of the 12 balls used in last weekend's AFC Championship game were underinflated – something that Tom Brady likes – everyone waited for the Pats to come forward and deny any wrongdoing.
What wasn't expected, however, was a denial so stupid it inspired a series of memes and turned Brady into an even bigger laughing stock than he was.
Head coach Bill Belichick put on his most perfect we-are-not-guilty face, saying things like: "I have never talked to anyone about football air pressure."
But all hell broke loose when his star QB took the podium to do the same. The three-time Super Bowl champ started off with: "I feel like I've always played within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules. I believe in fair play, I respect the league and everything they're doing to try to create a competitive playing field for all the NFL teams."
The 37-year-old then tore into a series of faux pas, telling the assembled group of reporters how he likes his balls to be:
"Everybody has a preference. Some guys like them round. Some guys like them thin. Some guys like them tacky. Some guys like them brand new. Some guys like old balls."
Once his rather awkward discourse about his "balls" was over, he then made an even more ridiculous reference. This time, he expressed his surprise at the amount of media attention DeflateGate is receiving. After all, in the words of Brady, "This isn't ISIS. No one's dying."
The Internet has poked fun at a lot less idiotic things than this. Hence, Brady getting away with it had no chance. Soon, this happened:
Who did this pic.twitter.com/hmOQFkpv3k— lindsey ok (@lindseyyok) January 22, 2015
Both Brady and Belichick did their best to play down the event and offered no insight whatsoever to what might have caused the balls to suddenly lose air pressure prior to the kickoff.
"My overall knowledge of football specifications, the overall process that happens on game day with the footballs is very limited," Belichick added. "I would say that during the course of the game, I honestly never – it probably has happened on an incomplete pass or something – but I've never touched a game ball. It's not something I have any familiarity with.
"Again, I was completely and totally unaware of any of this that we're talking about the last couple of days until Monday morning."
Such an excuse of ignorance coming from a famous control freak like Belichick somehow doesn't make any sense. Balls are the single most important thing in the game of football, and if a coach has no idea that all but one of his dozen matchday balls contains less air than what's standard, something's not right.
He negated himself in his very next sentence when he said how much he tampers with the balls in practice to toughen up his players.
"The balls we practice with are as bad as they can be," Belichick said. "Wet, sticky, cold, slippery – however bad we can make them, I make them. Anytime players complain about the quality of the footballs, I make them worse and that stops the complaining."
Add to it the Pats' history of resorting to dishonorable means to gain advantage of opponents, and it becomes clear someone isn't telling us the truth. Mind you, this is the same coach and the same franchise fined $500,000 and $250,000, respectively, in 2007 for videotaping opponents' defensive signals.
And, regarding Brady's moronic argument that media is blowing the whole thing out of proportion, yes, the woeful Indianapolis Colts would still have gotten beat even with normal balls, but as ABC News reporter Ryan Smith put it, it's about playing the game the right way.