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Robert Kraft at Patriots sendoff rally: Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL 01.26.15 at 2:37 pm ET
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Robert Kraft said Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL at Monday's sendoff. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Robert Kraft said Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL at Monday’s sendoff. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Prior to the Patriots departing for Arizona on Monday, the team held a rally in City Hall Plaza in front of hundreds of fans.

Owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and several players addressed the crowd starting with Kraft.

“It’s now my pleasure to introduce the coach, who does his job better than anyone, the best coach in the NFL, Bill Belichick,” Kraft said before Belichick took the microphone.

The players who took the microphone offered words of encouragement for the fans, who have supported the team all year long.

“We have the greatest fans of all of football,” said Vince Wilfork. “That is one of the reasons why we play for our city and our organization. We love every bit of it, hopefully we have one more in the tank to finish it off the right way.”

Tom Brady will be playing in his sixth Super Bowl this week and told the fans they will need their support back home.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” Brady said. “It’s an unbelievable accomplishment for our team. It’s been a long ride. It started about nine months ago down in Foxboro and the win last weekend was awfully sweet. To do it in front of our crowd and the best fans in America, we’re going to represent you guys in Arizona as best we possibly can all season. Thank you guys for all your support. We’ll be needing you next Sunday night.”

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft, Super Bowl XLIX
Former Panthers GM Marty Hurney on MFB: ‘I never accused the Patriots of everything, but when something happens …’ at 1:29 pm ET
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Marty Hurney

Marty Hurney

Former Panthers general manager and current ESPN Radio host Marty Hurney joined Middays with MFB on Monday to discuss Deflategate and his history dealing with the Patriots. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Hurney, who ran the Panthers during their loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl 38 in 2004, discussed his recent comments on ESPN questioning the Pats‘ history with rule-breaking. He got some attention after bringing up unsubstantiated allegations about the Patriots taping a Panthers practice leading up to that Super Bowl.

“If it was anybody but the Patriots, it wouldn’t have been this big a story,” Hurney said of Deflategate. “My point was there are a lot of rumors around the league from 2001 to 2007. And you’re right, you know what? The Patriots won that game; we lost it. There’s a lot of things we could have done to win that game.

“And one of the bad things that I don’t like about what I said was it comes out and makes me sounds like I’m a sore loser. I’m the last guy that wants to take accomplishments away from players and coaches because I know how hard it is to win the game. You look at the Patriots, they have pretty much of a shoo-in of a Hall of Fame coach and Hall of Fame quarterback. I wasn’t trying to take anything away from that.

“I guess what I’m saying is when these things come up they raise questions that normally wouldn’t be raised.”

 

Added Hurney: “Before this Deflategate thing you would say, hey, Bill Belichick is a detail guy, he’s a good coach, he enforces it every day, it’s a product of good coaching. And that’s still the reason. But human nature, when you connect the two to Deflategate and then those statistics, human nature makes you just ask the question.”

Hurney insists that his comments were overblown and, ‘I never accused the Patriots of everything, but when something happens …”

Said Hurney: “I’m not trying to say, ‘Hey, everybody else is good and the Patriots are the evil empire.’ I’m not saying that. But what I am saying is that when this came up again and there were rumors over a period of time, you start to say, ‘Hey, is this a pattern of behavior?’ ”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Marty Hurney, Patriots,
Tom Brady on D&C regarding Deflategate: ‘My feelings got hurt. Then I moved past it, because it’s not serving me’ at 8:00 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, making his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show, acknowledged that his “feelings got hurt” during last week’s attacks on his integrity and again issued a staunch denial of any role in Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Brady insisted he has never told an equipment manager or ball boy to deflate a football after it was inspected by a game official, and that includes last Sunday’s AFC championship game against the Colts, when the Patriots’ offensive footballs were found to have been deflated more than the league rules allow.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “Look, I don’t want to keep getting into this. No, I didn’t and I haven’t and I never will. That’s obviously how I feel and the kind of person that I am.

“No one knows the facts. I picked 24 balls, that’s what I picked. Whatever happened after I did it and whatever the situation was where they measured them, I have no idea [about] any of those facts. I try to stay really humble and deal with the facts that I know. When you don’t know something, all I can say is I don’t know. I know that’s not always the answer that people want to hear, but that’s the reality.”

Asked if he had any idea why the balls were at the improper PSI, Brady offered no explanation.

“It’s all speculation,” Brady said. “I’ve tried to wrap my head around it, too. I’ve done that and I’m trying to move past that, because I continue to try to rehash things. I personalized a lot of things and thought this was all about me, and my feelings got hurt. Then I moved past it, because it’s not serving me. What’s serving me is try to prepare for the game ahead. I’ll deal with whatever happens later. I’ll have my opportunity to try to figure out what happened and figure out a theory like everyone else is trying to do. But this isn’t the time for that. Honestly, I’m not interested in trying to find out right now, because we have the biggest game of our season ahead.”

Brady said he’s turned a negative situation into a positive one by ignoring the critics and focusing on those who support him.

“Everybody’s entitled to their opinion,” he said. “Everyone will say, ‘God, it’s been a tough week for you.’ It’s been a great week for me. It’s been a great week for me to really be able to recalibrate the things that are important in my life and understand the people that support me and love me and care about me. That’s been the best thing to come out about this week.

“Like I said, it’s all part of the business. You deal with ups and downs, the good and the bad. I’m excited to play in the Super Bowl for the sixth time. It’s a pretty amazing accomplishment for our team based on where we started. That’s where I’m at. I’m at a great place. We’ve had a great week of practice. We’re going to go down and try to finish strong.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Deflategate, Tom Brady,
Bill Nye ‘Science Guy’ claims Bill Belichick ‘doesn’t make any sense’ in explanation 01.25.15 at 10:47 am ET
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Bill Belichick said the Patriots followed every rule to the letter. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images).

Bill Belichick said the Patriots followed every rule to the letter. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images).

And so it continues.

Less than a day after Bill Belichick offered his explanation of the team’s scientific investigation and study of Deflategate, a scientific expert has come forward and accused the Patriots coach of being flat out ignorant.

Bill Nye, a mechanical engineer who worked at Boeing before becoming TV’€™s ‘€œBill Nye The Science Guy,’€ was a guest on Sunday’€™s “Good Morning America,” claiming Belichick’s explanation “doesn’€™t make any sense.”

[Bill Belichick‘s entire press conference, including explanation is listed below]

Belichick did get validation from another science think tank based in Pittsburgh that includes experts from Carnegie Mellon. Thomas Healy, founder of HeadSmart Labs, claims that the conditions of the AFC title game would have caused a significant drop in air pressure by result of their simulation.

“We took 12 brand new authentic NFL footballs and exposed them to the different elements they would have experienced throughout the game.’€ said Healy, a masters student in mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon. “Out of the 12 footballs we tested, we found that on average, footballs dropped 1.8 PSI when being exposed to dropping temperatures and wet conditions.”

“During testing, 12 brand new footballs were inflated to 12.5 PSI in a 75 degree Fahrenheit room. This was to imitate the indoor conditions where the referees would have tested the footballs 2 hours and 15 minutes before kickoff. The footballs were then moved to a 50 degree Fahrenheit environment to simulate the temperatures that were experienced throughout the game. In addition, the footballs were dampened to replicate the rainy conditions.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Nye, Bill Nye Science Guy, New England Patriots
Amid impromptu press conference Bill Belichick offers high praise for players: ‘I’m proud of this team’ 01.24.15 at 8:50 pm ET
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Bill Belichick said he was proud of his team during Saturday's press conference. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick said he was proud of his team during Saturday’s press conference. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — This was a Bill Belichick no one had ever seen before.

The coach with over 40 years of coaching experience rarely ever gets as fired up and passionate about something as he did Saturday afternoon in an impromptu press conference to put an end to the Deflategate story this week — at least for the time being.

It was in that 25 or so minute press conference that he went off course a bit and discussed this year’s team and how hard they work when referencing the footballs the team uses in practice, as they are often messed with (ie. pouring water on them) to prepare the team for the toughest of playing conditions.

“Anyone who has seen us practice knows that we make it harder, not easier, to handle the football,” Belichick said. “Our players train in conditions that a lot of people would recommend that we not drive in. That’€™s what they do. They’€™re a physically and mentally tough team that works hard, that trains hard, that prepares hard and have met every challenge that I put in front of them. And I know that because I work them every day.”

“This team was the best team in the AFC in the regular season. We won two games in the playoffs against two good football teams. The best team in the postseason, that’€™s what this team is,” he added. “I know that because I’€™ve been with them every day and I’€™m proud of this team.”

Despite all the distractions this week, the team still has their biggest task of the season ahead — Super Bowl XLIX against the Seahawks Feb. 1 in Glendale. The team is looking to avoid losing three straight Super Bowl games and give Belichick his fourth title as a head coach.

He sent a strong message — he is moving on. Moving on to more important things like preparing his team, which he genuinely likes and believes in, for the Seahawks and next week’s Super Bowl.

“This is the end of this subject for me for a long time, OK? We have a huge game, a huge challenge for our football team and that’€™s where that focus is going to go,” said Belichick.

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Bill Belichick, Super Bowl XLIX,
Bill Belichick: Patriots have ‘absolutely followed every rule to the letter’ at 3:38 pm ET
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Bill Belichick said the Patriots followed every rule to the letter. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images).

Bill Belichick said the Patriots followed every rule to the letter. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images).

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick spoke Saturday afternoon for over 23 minutes on the Deflategate situation, maintaining the team didn’t do anything wrong and followed “every rule to the letter” after conducting an internal investigation.

Here is his partial opening statement:

“I want to take this opportunity to share this information. I’ve spent a significant amount of time this past week learning what I could learn, more than I could ever imagine to tell you the truth about ladders, air gauges, stitching, pressure, game day ball preparation, rub downs, so forth.

“I’m trying to be as helpful as I can here with everything I have learned. Having coached for 40 years in the National Football League, played for several years, growing up in a football family, being around this game my entire life, it’s clear that I don’t know very much about this area.

“Over the last few days I have learned a lot more than I ever knew, exceptionally more. I feel like this is important because there have been questions raised and I believe now 100 percent that I have personally, and we as an organization have absolutely followed every rule to the letter. I feel on behalf on everyone in the organization, everyone that is involved in the organization that I needed to say something.”

Belichick said he talked to people outside the organization and conducted their own internal study of the process. He said the Patriots’ process raises PSI approximately one pound. He also maintained the feel of the football is the most important part for the quarterbacks. The coach also stated the balls were never prepared in a heated environment and never were prepared outside or near the team’s locker room.

“In no time was the ball ever put in any type of a heated environment,” he said. “We rub it to get the ball to the proper texture. I don’t know what is vigorous, what isn’t vigorous — I mean we’re not polishing fine china here. We’re trying to get a football to the proper texture that the quarterback wants to grip it. Does that stimulate something inside the ball to raise the PSI? I would say yes it does.”

Belichick added: “In this case I can say that we are as far as I know and everything that I can do, we did everything as right as we could do it. We welcome the league’s investigation into this matter. I think there are a number of things that need to be looked into, on a number of levels, but that is not for this conversation. I am sure that will be taken up at another point in time.

“This is the end of this subject for me for a long time. We have a huge game, a huge challenge for our football team and that is where that focus is going to go. I’ve spent more than enough time on this and I am happy to share the information with you to try to tell you some of the things that I have learned over the last week, which I have learned way more than I have ever thought I would learn — the process, the whole thing is much more complex. There are a lot of variables that I was unaware of.”

The Patriots coach then took a few questions and Spygate was brought up, when it came to the Patriots “erring on the sign of caution.” Belichick was not pleased with the question.

“That’s a whole different discussion,” Belichick said. “The guy is giving signals in front of 80,000 people. OK, so we filmed them giving signals in front of 80,000 people like there were a lot of other teams doing at that time, too. Look, forget about that. If we were wrong then we’ve been disciplined for that.”

Added Belichick: “The guy is in front of 80,000 people. 80,000 people saw it. Everybody’s sideline saw it. Everyone sees our guy in front of 80,000 people I mean there he is. It was wrong, we were disciplined for it. That’s it. We never did it again. We’re never going to do it again. Any other thing that’s close we’re not going to do it either.”

The Patriots will now attempt to move onto the actual game, next Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Seahawks in Glendale, Arizona.

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Bill Belichick, Deflategate, Super Bowl XLIX
Former Patriots FB Dan Klecko: ‘[Deflategate is] really going to lock [Patriots] in on the us against the world mentality’ 01.23.15 at 5:51 pm ET
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Dan Klecko. (Getty Images)

Dan Klecko. (Getty Images)

Dan Klecko was a member of the Patriots from 2003-05 before playing for the Colts, Eagles and Falcons the rest of his career. Being around Bill Belichick and Tom Brady for three seasons and winning back-to-back Super Bowls with the team, he can offer a sense of what is going on behind closed doors leading up to the Super Bowl.

Klecko feels the team and Belichick will use this as an “us against the world” motivation mentality.

“[This is] going to make them hyper focused for the game,” Klecko said via phone on Friday. “It’s really going to lock them in on the us against the world mentality, and we all know what happened the last time something like this — got accused, or found — that was Spygate and they almost went undefeated and being the greatest team of all-time. It’s fun to watch on the outside because I know what is going on in that room.”

“You’ve seen it — ‘We’re onto Cincinnati.’ That’s the joke, but that is the truth,” he added. “This is Tom’s whatever year in the league, he can put this stuff out of his mind. I am sure they are thinking right now, the way we rectify this is — first of all we make the balls are what they want and we go out and smoke Seattle and then hand the balls to everyone and go, ‘There’s your answer.’ I think that’s how they rectify this.”

Klecko said he’s upset at all the criticism directed at Brady because a couple PSI really is not a huge advantage in the grand scheme of things, especially with other players in the league such as Aaron Rodgers saying he likes his balls on the heavier side.

“The biggest thing I keep coming back to that I am most pissed about is Tom. This is ridiculous,” said Klecko. “People really aren’t taking a step back and looking at this situation like it’s some big advantage in the game. The guys from ESPN are bashing Tom. The guys that lost to him. The guys that have agendas on TV. Every other quarterback you’re hearing, even active ones playing in the league, why is there no out cry? They know it’s not a big deal. [Colts tight end] Dwayne Allen came out and said they could have came out with soap bars and beat us. What’s the big deal here? I don’t think people are really taking a step back and looking.”

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Bill Belichick, Dan Klecko, Super Bowl XLIX
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