tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN January 22, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
dn't. it was the right thing to do. richard roth cnn new york. >> richard roth thank you. thank you so much for being with me here on this thursday. let's take it to washington now. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. what did tom brady know and when did he know it. i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead." the sports lead. the patriots' head coach says he's shocked and has no idea if his quarterback cheated. now suspect number one, quarterback tom brady, is going to speak to reporters in just minutes. now, if he admits guilt in deflate-gate could he find himself sidelined for the super bowl? the world lead. he's behind bars accused of aiding the french terrorist who shot up that kosher supermarket, but now his lawyer says yeah he's guilty. he bought tear gas grenades used in the attack but the lawyer says he didn't have a choice. and the buried lead. a real life episode of "ncis."
the commanding officer at gitmo shipped back stateside as the navy looks into whether he slept with a married woman whose husband's lifeless body was just pulled out of the sea. good afternoon. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we will begin with the sports lead. you're looking right now at live pictures from foxborough gillette stadium, where any minute now, we will hear from one of the most recognizable figures in sports new england patriots quarterback tom brady, about the scandal taking the air, pardon the pun, out of his team's countdown to the biggest game of the year the super bowl. tom brady's expected to reveal what if anything he knew about his team using those deflated footballs during last sunday's afc championship game versus the indianapolis colts. according to an espn report 11 of the 12 game balls used by the
patriots did not have enough air in them presumably making it easier to throw the ball or to catch the ball. this morning, patriots head coach bill belichick made it clear he would not be taking the fall for his qb or for anyone on a news conference belichick pleaded ignorance, saying he has no idea how his team's footballs got so deflated. >> i have no explanation for what happened and that's what they're looking into. i was completely and totally unaware of any of this that we're talking about in the last couple days until monday morning. >> keep in mind of course belichick is famous for being something of a control freak, for knowing all the details. he also said that footballs come down to tom brady's personal preference and if the media wanted more information, well we would have to ask tom brady about it. so did the coach basically throw his qb under the bus? let's bring in cnn's rachel
nichols. what are you expecting to hear from tom brady in just a few minutes? >> reporter: there's a lot of pressure on tom brady and remember at the beginning of the week he did his weekly radio spot and he laughed the whole thing off as ridiculous. he is not going to be able to do that today, especially since after more digging, we have found he is on record from 2011 talking about the fact that he likes to throw a more deflated football. here's something else interesting, jake. in 2006 tom brady along with peyton manning went to the nfl owners, went to the competition committee, and he lobbied to change a rule. what was that rule? it used to be that the home team supplied the footballs for both offenses and he said hey, i want to be able to supply my own footballs so that they're the way i like them. and he got that rule changed. now, what that means is that quarterbacks can scuff up the ball ahead of time get that waxy stuff off of it. they can even soak the ball in water ahead of time. that makes it more impervious to rain and other weather conditions.
but you can't deflate the football. that tells you how serious deflating the football is. that means that it gives you such a competitive advantage, the nfl doesn't want you to do it. we'll have to see if that happened actively here on the patriots sideline. >> obviously the super bowl every year it's one of the most watched, if not the most watched event in american television tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake and the nfl does not want people turning away because of a cheating scandal, although it does seem like no matter what tragedy or whatever befalls the nfl -- >> reporter: there is nothing that seems to make americans not watch the nfl. >> but here's the question. because you know this stuff better than i. first of all, if the balls are deflated why doesn't that also help the opposing team and second of all, aren't the officials supposed to handle the ball and make sure they're okay? >> reporter: this is the rule change that tom brady was involved in lobbying for in 2006. it used to be that the home team
provided all the footballs, all the footballs were the same. but the way the new rule came in is that each team gets to bring its own footballs and have 12 footballs into play with its own offense. so the patriots had their 12 footballs, the colts had their 12 footballs, and only your offense is supposed to be throwing to your receivers, your offensive player. the reason they got tripped up in this game is that the colts intercepted one of tom brady's footballs. they took it to the sideline they took it to their own equipment manager and said this doesn't feel right. the reason that they were even on alert for this to begin with is that they played the patriots earlier in the season and on an interception when they similarly got one of the patriots tom brady footballs, they took it back to the equipment manager and said this just feels more squishy than a regular football. so they were on alert for this and it also opens the door to the question was it just this one game. because we have heard a lot of people say in the past few days hey, the colts won by such -- the colts lost rather by such a big margin the patriots beat them in so many ways does it
matter how inflated or deflated the football was. well if this was a systemic way to go around the rules game after game after game it really brings the integrity of all of these games and the way the patriots approach them into question. >> stay with us. i just want to go right now to alina machado, who is inside the room that we are looking at live pictures of where tom brady is set to speak. what can you tell us? >> reporter: we know that brady is expected to come out here around 4:30 eastern time. when he comes out here he's going to face a packed house. i counted at least 22 23 cameras. this mroom is packed with reporters waiting to answer questions. media availability was not supposed to happen until tomorrow but the team moved it up to today after coach belichick made his remarks this morning. we know tom brady is in a meeting right now. we don't know who is involved in that meeting or what the meeting is about. earlier we spent time in the patriots locker room talking with the players. most seemed reluctant to talk to
reporters but the ones that did speak with us downplayed the controversy and much like belichick, insisted that they practice using footballs that are less than perfect so implying that they don't need to use underinflated footballs in order to perform well. they also said that their focus right now is on the super bowl. now, even though there were some other players in the locker room star players like julian edelman, brady was noticeably absent. as rachel mentioned, he laughed off questions about the controversy earlier this week during a live radio interview. it would be very interesting to see what he has to say in just a few moments. >> we are going to come back to you in a second. rachel i want to turn back to you for one second because have you heard through the grapevine any of the teams that played the patriots this season making similar claims about footballs feeling unnaturally or abnormally squishy or is the colts the first time that a team actually made that allegation?
>> reporter: well the colts had questions about this earlier in the season so it wasn't just this one game. there were rumblings from the ravens when they played them the previous week a much closer game there were questions about some of the balls but then they came out publicly and said that they had no issue. this is also partly a sort of he said/he said kind of who's going to tattletale situation as well where the culture of the nfl really punishes not only the team that's done something wrong but there's a lot of turning back when someone has gone outside of the fraternity to tell on them. that's what happened in the spygate situation. remember the jets coach at the time eric mangini who used to be an assistant coach for the patriots and knew this practice of taping the other offense's signals and defensive signals which is against the rules was going on. he reported it when he saw them doing it to them in a game. not only did the patriots get heavily fined for doing it but eric mangini was heavily
criticized for quote, tattletaling and people were saying quote, he shouldn't have done that and it went outside of the way things should be. i think you have other teams reluctant to quote, tell on the patriots if they have experienced that but the nfl, now that they are investigating, they will be able to open some of those doors. the side note to that, by the way, is the nfl realized it is under a ton of scrutiny. the much much more serious issue of domestic violence that has echoed through this season one of the allegations there is that they didn't get it right over and over again, not just with the punishment but the way that they investigated and didn't take it seriously enough. they want to make sure that it's an integrity of the game issue, while not as serious as domestic violence that they do get it right this time. >> stay with us rachel. i want to bring in jermaine wiggins along with business analyst andrew brandt. jermaine first let's get your initial reaction to everything that has happened today. >> you know what it's funny to me to hear a lot of this stuff. to me i look at it like this.
there's no advantage by using a smaller football. then for rachel to come out and say that you know this is something that they have done in the past so it took -- tom brady has 143 career interceptions. what about the 142 interceptions? nobody said anything. nobody noticed anything. when they felt the football. i look at it like this. every team doctors the football. every quarterback doctors the football. they mess around with it they get it to their feel they want it to feel comfortable in their hand. it doesn't give a team an advantage. i have caught footballs that were hard i caught footballs that were soft. to me it's all about the quarterback's preference and that's the biggest thing here. this is a joke and it's the new england patriots it all goes back to spygate, back to the way bell belichick's personality is. everybody looks at him like he's arrogant so he's got a bull's eye on his back. >> i want to give rachel an -- >> reporter: i got to jump in here. i was going to say, i never said that, jermaine. obviously we don't know what tom brady has or hasn't done in the past. >> but rachel -- >> reporter: all we reported is
the colts came out and said and we can also say look there's no question that underinflating a football is an advantage otherwise it wouldn't be against the rules and you wouldn't have quarterbacks talking at length about the fact that an underinflated football an overinflated football. who likes to hold the football a certain way. footballs are scuffed up they are doctored they are all kinds of things within the rules that you can do ahead of the game but there are certain things that are against the rules. the reason they are against the rules is the nfl competition committee has decided that those things give you a competitive advantage. those are the rules of the game. we don't know what the patriots did. it's possible that the patriots will say hey, we inflated the game -- the ball to the absolute minimum and then the temperature dropped, maybe dropped it a little bit lower than that. that's why our footballs went under. we don't know whether tom brady is going to come out here and say they did it on purpose or whether it was circumstance. we have to find that out. we can't cast blame right now. but there's no question that the rule is in place for a reason.
>> the only reason why i said that is because you said now these games go into question his career goes into question as far as how he uses the football how the football was manipulated. believe me when i tell you, i have caught over 200 footballs and to tell you this it's about the quarterback's preference. the smaller the ball it's not going to travel as far, it's not going to come out as fast it's not going to be more accurate because there's less air in the football. every quarterback has a certain preference. we all know about the aaron rodgers stuff where he said he likes to go -- he overinflates them because he likes a ball that's harder. we know about the brad johnson stuff where he said he wanted to scruff up his footballs before the super bowl, he paid to do that. quarterbacks that have played we saw the tweets from matt leinart, everybody does it and it doesn't give a team an advantage. the reason why, because one team uses their own balls and the other team uses their own balls. they're not using the same footballs. >> i want to bring in andrew brandt if i can. thanks for joining us. bill belichick of course is a known micromanager and he said
today he had no idea about any of this until monday. he never had any discussions about inflating balls before until this happened. do you buy that? >> i suppose i do. i mean i think what we first have to decide is that this "everyone does it" argument and it wouldn't have affected the game because they won by 35 points those are irrelevant. what we're talking about is two tenets of the nfl, competitive balance and integrity. this upsets the competitive balance if they are not playing by the rules, they are not playing the way everyone else is playing. as to belichick, he threw his cards on the table. he pushed his chips in. he says he did not know and i think you have to take him for his word. i'll say this. i have been around the nfl 25 years as an agent and as a team executive with the packers. i didn't know any of this stuff before this week administration of footballs and how it's done and ball boys and officials and how much time they have. but i was front office. i was business. i was not coaching. i was not football operations.
it does seem to strain the belief that someone with that much power in an organization would not have any discussions about football pressure over all these years. so we will see. i think the nfl's concern is competitive balance. every team is paranoid that other teams get a little bit of advantage and they are looking at this and saying did the patriots get advantage. it's not about everyone doing it. it's not about winning by 40 points. did they get an advantage. that's what we're looking at. if they are underinflated, at whose direction. we will hear from brady about that. >> i want to bring in christine brennan, "usa today" sports columnist. she joins us by phone. we saw some serious punishments during the scandal with the new orleans saints and, you know the hit lists. do you think tom brady could be even suspended if it's revealed he had anything to do with this and if not, do you think he should be?
>> jake it's a great question. i don't think he will be suspended for the super bowl. i think that's of course something on everyone's mind. i think he will play in the super bowl no matter what. but i could see a fine i could even see suspension starting next year. i could see that. i think it depends on what we hear from him and you know as you are preparing for this press conference this has become one of the most important press conferences certainly this year and there have been a lot this year including roger goodell, the ray rice incident. this has exploded as we have watched and covered it the last few days. this is tom brady's reputation his career everything on the line. the golden boy now going to face the toughest 20 30 minutes of his career. and how he handles that i think will speak volumes about punishment about what roger goodell thinks because bottom
line, little or big, funny, not funny, whatever we think of this it is now a huge story in the nfl and it's a big deal in the nfl, even if it's not the world's biggest thing, it has become that. that's what brady is looking at in these important minutes ahead. >> absolutely. this is very suspenseful. we have one of the most famous and successful quarterbacks in the nfl just literally days before the most important sports event of the year. this is an important moment not only in sports but also in business and in american culture. all of you stay where you are. we will take a very quick break and when we come back we will talk more about this press conference and this scandal. she inspires you. no question about
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surprised? in fact, america is now the world's number one natural gas producer... and we could soon become number one in oil. because hydraulic fracturing technology is safely recovering lots more oil and natural gas. supporting millions of new jobs. welcome back. we are waiting for tom brady, the new england patriots quarterback, to come out and speak to the press. this is him? this is him. we will take a listen. >> how you doing? obviously i would much rather be up here talking about the seahawks and preparing for the super bowl which we have been trying to do for the last few days but you know coach belichick addressed it with you guys this morning and i wanted to give you guys the opportunity to ask questions that you want. i will do my best to provide the answers that i have if any, and
we will go from there. >> when and how did you supposedly alter the balls? >> i didn't you know 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 balls that i want -- 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 footballs 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 you know 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 i always go through. i didn't think anything of it. i woke up monday morning and answered a question on the radio about it and that was the first i really heard of it. >> reporter: what do you think happened? >> reporter: this has raised a lot of uncomfortable conversations from people around the country that you, three time super bowl champion and two time mvp as their idol. the questions they are asking themselves is what's up with our hero. will you answer now, is tom brady a cheater? >> i don't believe so. i feel i 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 always believed in that for as long as i'm playing.
[ inaudible question ] >> no i think everyone is obviously trying to figure out what happened. i think that's the main thing over the last couple days 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, you know from when i saw the ball which was five hours before halftime, what exactly happened. >> reporter: do all top quarterbacks doctor the balls? do you feel you have done anything differently than anybody else in the league? >> i'm not sure. i can only speak for myself. i think that there's a process that everybody goes through breaking in footballs and it's probably a lot like a baseball mitt when you're a kid.
i try to explain that to my friends. when you use it and that's your equipment, a 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 you know 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 then that's what i expect to go out on the playing field with. >> reporter: -- get this out of the way and take this head on so you can get focused on the super bowl? >> 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, you know we have accomplished something really special getting to this point. you know i don't like the fact that this has taken away from some of the accomplishment of what we have achieved as a team. i think hopefully our best is
still to come. we are going to work as hard as we can over the next ten days to put ourselves in great position to be prepared for the game. >> reporter: could you tell the difference from quote unquote, underinflated ball to overinflated ball and did you notice a difference in the balls that were actually there for the second half? would it make a difference? >> i didn't -- from the first half to the second half, i didn't think twice about it. i don'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. >> reporter: what do you say to the skeptics who say the patriots have had issues before how can we possibly believe what brady and the coach are saying now?
>> well 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 and i don't, you know that's what they feel like they want to do then i don't have a problem with it. 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 part of being a professional athlete. we can only express to you what our side is and how we approach it and then everyone is going to make their own -- >> reporter: as a follow-up, are you comfortable within yourself that nobody on sunday on the patriots side did anything wrong? >> i have no knowledge of anything. i have no knowledge of any wrongdoing of -- i'm very comfortable saying that. i'm very comfortable saying nobody did it as far as i know. i don't know everything. i also understand that i, you know 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. >> reporter: three or four years ago, you said that you liked the ball deflated. you were quoted saying you like throwing a deflated ball. you actually joked about gronk spiking it because it oozes out a little bit of air and you like a softer ball. explain that comment in context of this week. >> yeah i know i remember you know i obviously read that i said that. you know i like them the way i like them 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 the play. i would never, you know have someone do something that i thought was outside of -- >> reporter: so you have never knowingly played with a football that was under 12.5 pounds of
pressure? >> no. >> reporter: can you try to find out why the ball in the last few days why the balls were so underinflated? obviously it's important to you and the reputation of the patriots. have you tried to find out or should you have tried to find out why the balls were underinflated? >> that's a great question. i think there's a lot of people that have more information than me. i only know what i have kind of gone through and the process that i have you know taken as part of the game and the post-game as well as trying to prepare for the super bowl. so yeah i have questions, too, but you know there's nobody that i know that can answer the questions that i have. so i just have tried my best to focus on what i need to do to be prepared for seattle. >> reporter: you know the look and feel of footballs you like. do you think there could have been other games where you played with underinflated
footballs since the football you played with is obviously something you preferred? >> 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 -- >> reporter: have you said hey, i played with an underinflated ball before? >> i have no idea. i have no idea. the first i heard of it obviously monday morning was the first i heard of it. >> reporter: if it's found that someone did improperly tamper with the balls in some ways would you like to see someone held accountable? >> i'm not the one that imposes those type of accountability discipline all that. that's not really my job. obviously i would 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 get
ready to play against the seahawks because i can't do anything of what's happened in the past. i have to just go forward with the most awareness as i can going forward and trying to be the best i can be for our team. >> reporter: everybody is entitled to their opinions and beliefs, right? but how does it make you feel that they are calling your team cheaters two weeks before the super bowl? >> 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 your 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, you know. i think you can just go out and try to be the best person you can be deal with people with respect, with honesty, with integrity, have a high moral standard and i have always really tried to exemplify that as an athlete and i will continue to try to do that. [ inaudible question ]
>> we've got a lot of motivation. i would say we've got a lot of motivation as a team. you know i think our team's 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. and we have 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. >> reporter: would you address your teammates today and if so what did you say? >> those are very personal things with my teammates so that's -- it was very personal comments. >> reporter: when you pick out the balls, is that before [ inaudible ]. >> yeah. it's always the same process. i get here you know the playoffs i got here pretty early
before the games and i go in there and i choose however many balls are necessary for the game. sometimes it's 12, 16, 18, 24. this last particular game was 24. when 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 had the opportunity to play with them and that's what i thought i was doing. >> reporter: [ inaudible ]. >> absolutely. absolutely. that was very surprising to me. >> reporter: one of your teammates said this is a media thing, it gives us something to talk about. is there a feeling behind closed doors that we are blowing this out of proportion or is it a serious thing? >> no it's very serious. this is a very serious topic. obviously integrity of the sport is very important.
i think there's another focus we have also as a team that guys are really focused on our opponent and the things we have to do to try to be successful. everyone's trying to figure out what happened but at the same time you've got to prepare for the seahawks also. >> reporter: you laughed this off on monday though. you laughed this off on the radio. suddenly today you're a lot more somber about this. what happened between monday and today? >> look that was real early in the morning, i got home you know at 12:00, 1:00 and woke up to do the radio interview and i was very shocked to hear it so i almost laughed it off thinking it wasn't -- that was more sour grapes than anything. it ends up being a very serious thing when you start learning the things that were being said. >> reporter: the start of the second half was delayed. the balls were swapped out. coach says he knew nothing about it which you have to take him at his word but the game was delayed. how did you guys on that sideline not know what was going
on on the field? with respect to the balls and there was obviously an issue with the balls. >> 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 turned around in the huddle and the ball's ready for play. so i didn't think anything of it. >> reporter: nobody said anything to you on the sideline? it was a good minute delay between the start, when you got ready and lined up and before you had your first snap. there was a good minute delay. nobody said anything? >> i wasn't paying attention to what was happening at that time. i don't remember you know 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. >> reporter: the officials did not say a word to you? >> no. >> reporter: a lot of fans right now -- >> reporter: you don't feel like you had an unfair advantage with the balls? >> i felt like we won the game fair and square.
we ended up you know playing a great opponent. i felt 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 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 will 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. >> reporter: a lot of fans right now are disappointed just in the situation right here. for those, is this a moment where you should just pause and say whether it was by design as you suggest it wasn't, or just accidental is this a moment to just say i'm sorry to the fans of the nfl and to the fans of tom brady? >> well i think it's disappointing that a situation like this happens. obviously i would love to be up
here talking about in a very joyful mood these are the best two weeks of the year if you happen to be one of the two teams still playing. it's a great -- 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. >> reporter: the fans are watching they're looking in that camera. what do you say? what do you say to fans of patriot nation? >> i'm not sure what would you like me to say? i'm not quote sure. >> reporter: you can say whatever you like. you're the guy. [ inaudible question ] >> i think they will 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. so like i said i know they're doing their investigation and
i'm sure -- i don't know what will happen. [ inaudible question ] >> 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. >> reporter: did the investigators from the league talk to you? >> not yet. >> reporter: your perfect ball is -- >> reporter: you said earlier that first it seemed lighter, then you became convinced it was more serious. what was it that convinced you on the seriousness? >> 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 -- >> reporter: what's more serious to you? what's the biggest problem? >> 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 college kids high school kids. we want to be the ones that set the great example. >> reporter: are you frustrated by this process, are you surprised by the surprise what the story has become and what i guess do you hope the end result is going forward? >> i'm not sure if i have a hope. i haven't put much thought into that. it's just been a short period of time. i would 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 so i'm happy that we have the opportunity to play in the next game and 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 really only do something going forward. >> reporter: the league has not talked to you yet? they have not contacted you, spoken to you? >> no. but they may. they may. i think that's their -- i think that's obviously their choice. >> reporter: do you find that odd, though? if they wanted to put this behind us get ready for the super bowl they would have contacted you? >> sure. yeah, they might. they might. yeah. >> reporter: it's odd that they haven't at this point. you are the quarterback and the center of the story right now and the league's officials haven't talked to you. it indicates to a lot of people they're letting this twist in the wind. >> i'm not sure. >> reporter: have you been told they will talk to you? >> i'm not sure. >> reporter: there are people who say you are so familiar with the equipment, how could you not know the ball was underinflated. what would you say to that? >> well i addressed that a
little bit earlier in that like i said i don't put any thought into the footballs after i choose them. when you're out there playing, you know 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 that it's the same one that i approved in the pregame. >> last question, guys. [ inaudible question ] >> 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 it may not. it depends maybe on how, i don't know the humidity in the air or how old the ball was. there's a lot of variables with obviously mother nature and with the balls. whatever feels good that day, those are the ones that i typically choose. >> reporter: those are the same
ones that bill puts some water on in practice? >> he does that a lot. they could be. yeah. definitely could be. >> reporter: you look at the balls before the game and pick the ones you want. you said earlier you didn't want them to be touched. you didn't notice 15% of the air was out of the ball when you started using it? that's a little hard to believe. at no point, it didn't strike you during the first half? >> yeah ron, i didn't feel any different obviously. i would just assume 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 and i'm not, you know -- >> reporter: basketball players can tell you if the rim's six inches off. they can tell you from taking shots. baseball players pick up a bat can tell you it's less than an
ounce different. you ask us to believe you who makes your living with footballs, 15% of the ball was deflated and i didn't even know it? >> i wouldn't know on a particular play. it was a very wet cold windy night. like i said -- >> reporter: have you asked -- >> you know what 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's 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 want to do that's what they want to do. that was what their decision was. i certainly didn't -- yeah certainly i did not recognize that. i did not feel a difference between the first half to the second half when supposedly they were inflated to the, you know original even more inflated, i didn't notice any difference.
i didn't obviously think there was anything different between halves. >> reporter: you initially tested balls and they met your approval do you think you would have noticed if the balls were underinflated at that time? >> yeah but 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 would ever squeeze a football. i just grip the football. i think maybe there's a little bit of a difference in how i do that. >> reporter: you did say that -- >> reporter: you had better numbers after that happened when the exchange was made you went 9 for 9 in the third quarter after the supposedly underinflated balls. >> 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 great second half
it was due to great execution by a lot of great football players. like i said i know that's obviously what they said they inflated them and i didn't notice a difference. wish i could tell you something different. i just didn't notice any difference. >> reporter: -- bill said that possibly a future fix could be to inflate them a little bit more so that if they deflate during the course of the game it won't go under that bottom level. will that take any adjustment for you, if 12.5 is what you like? >> i don't think that would make much of a difference. like i said i didn't feel any difference between what was 13 pound football or 11 pound football the other night. it's pretty irrelevant to me. >> reporter: you were instrumental in helping the league change the rule that lets
teams bring their own balls to games on offense. >> yeah. >> reporter: will you now help lobby the league to change the rules surrounding this situation? >> what situation, what process would that be? of us breaking in our own balls? >> reporter: making sure the balls are the proper weight throughout the games. >> 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. you know 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 and every batch comes, they're different. you've got to feel them and you try to go out and 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 into the game with. >> reporter: would you go to the league and say let's change these rules, let's make sure i'm never touching the ball that i believe is the proper weight? >> absolutely. if they want to check that i would love them to be at 12.5. i think that's the perfect fit for me. i know there's other quarterbacks like i said that may prefer more than that. but that's what works for me. it's all a very individual very individual thing. >> reporter: you're saying the refs might have missed this? >> am i saying that? >> reporter: is it possible the refs missed this and didn't catch it? >> you know i don't have any -- 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 and really until monday morning i had no idea what happened with the balls. >> reporter: who handles the balls after the ref hands them back? >> i have no idea. that's not part of my process.
>> reporter: ball boy, equipment manager? >> i have no idea. i'm preparing for the game. i would never be part of that. >> reporter: if you had a ball at practice and said i might like this ball for the game where would that ball go? >> the quarterbacks always throw the balls and if we like a ball we [ inaudible ]. >> reporter: has the nfl contacted your reps, agent, anything? >> as of this morning -- i'm not sure. i would say that. i'm not sure. they may or may not have. i'm supposed to you know talk to my agent after and that may be one of the things that he wants to talk about. >> reporter: tom, have you heard from any former teammates, current nfl players, you don't have to say who they are, obviously, but have you gotten any opinions pro or con about what's going on with deflate-gate and the patriots? >> i've had a lot of great support from a lot of people and i think in a situation like
this it's really -- 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 okay, you know. 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 are going to take all my mental energy for the next ten days. >> reporter: did this get blown out of proportion for absolutely no reason? >> you know i think the integrity of the game is very important. yeah. the integrity of the game is very important. >> reporter: have you personally sought out anyone from the equipment staff just to ask them
if they did anything with the footballs? >> yeah. they haven't and i believe them and they all said no that how i like the balls and i tell them how great they are before the game, and how, you know perfect job, great job, so they know how i like it. that's exactly the way they are. [ inaudible question ]
opinion. i think that whatever opinion people have that's okay by me. 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 a 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 in a week from sunday. >> reporter: when you left the field on sunday and drove home sunday night, is this the last thing you would ever think you would be talking about the thursday before you guys depart to arizona? >> yeah absolutely. like i said i had no -- yeah.
thanks guys. i think they said that's it about ten minutes ago. thank you, guys. good-bye. >> that was tom brady, quarterback of the new england patriots which will be going to the super bowl in a couple sundays, admitting nothing. he did not cheat, he said. he says he did not alter or deflate footballs in any way. he doesn't know what happened. let's go to our panel to talk about what we just heard from perhaps the most recognizable face in today's national football league cnn's rachel nichols, cnn sports analyst christine brennan, former patriots player jermaine wiggins and espn sports business analyst andrew brandt. rachel let me get your reaction. brady denied having anything to do with the footballs in sunday's game. this is a guy who has said in the past he likes his balls a little bit soft yet today, he says that he can't really tell or he couldn't at least during the colts game whether it was inflated properly or not.
>> reporter: frankly, the most significant revelation in that news conference was that he said that no one from the nfl has contacted him yet about this. remember we heard as early as monday that the nfl was indeed launching an investigation here. today is thursday. the game is played on sunday. i'm not sure who they have been talking to if they haven't spoken to tom brady yet. i think that's one of the big questions coming out of this. as for what tom brady actually said his story is that yes, it is important to him that those balls are at a certain psi, 12.5 which is the bottom of the legal limit within the rules for the nfl and that it is in fact important enough for him that he goes through the pile of balls before a game and sort of holds them and compares them and decides with all the other factors we talked about that are legal to do, you are allowed to scuff up your ball, you are allowed to see which laces you like, things like that, but that he says once he gets on the field, that sort of drops out of his mind and his story is that he wouldn't be able to feel the difference at that point if the
psi on the ball is lower. as far as he's concerned, he didn't feel any difference between the first half and the second half. people are going to have to decide whether to take him at his word or not and if the nfl investigation goes forward, again, you would hope that they would talk to tom brady and they apparently are going to have to talk to the people who had the chain of custody of the footballs after the officials checked them before the game before they got on the field because tom brady said he has nothing to do with it. something happened to those footballs. they were different when they got on the field from when the officials checked them a couple hours earlier. >> to jermaine wiggins, former new england patriot himself. what did you make of the press conference? >> you know what i think tom did a great job. i implore anybody who asked those questions to see how the ball feels, to think about that when 300 pound men are trying to tear your head off and no wait a second this ball feels a little different. to me i understand what tom's saying. when you're in the heat of the game you're in the heat of the battle you're not thinking about how the football feels, how much air is in it too much air in it. you are trying to go out there and not get your head knocked
off, especially for tom, he's trying to read defenses trying to figure out where his receivers are, and he's trying to stay upright. i look at this as tom saying you know what hey, i like them a certain way and i understand that. as a former player you like the feel, the texture, you want to see if it's sticking in your hands a little bit. you want to feel how your grip is. i understand exactly what he's saying. after that he said clearly, hey, i don't have no control over what happens with the balls after i make the decision on which balls i want, because now i'm focused on the football game i'm in the locker room trying to go over last minute adjustments and get ready for the game. i implore anybody to say hey, this ball's got a little bit of air in it with 300 pound maniacs coming after you. >> whether or not you believe him, he went out and took a bunch of questions for a long time not easy questions. that's a lot more than we get from public officials in washington, d.c. and the state capitals quite often. alina machado is inside the room. tom brady is normally a rather
soft-spoken guy. how did he seem inside the room there from your view? did he seem nervous, did he seem at ease? what did you see? >> reporter: it seems to me like he was pretty calm. he did face a grilling as you mentioned. he did face some very tough questions from a number of reporters out here and there was a lot of skepticism. there were a lot of people who were really questioning how could he be so familiar with his equipment and yet not know that the balls were underinflated, yet each and every time he was very consistent. he said he did not know he did not -- he wasn't focusing on the foobls footballs, he was focusing on the game. he also said he had sought out the equipment staff and specifically asked them did you tamper with the balls and they told him they had not done anything to the balls and he believed them. i think his demeanor here was one that was very calm and he was very -- he seemed to be sincere in the sense that he was trying to answer as many
questions as he can. he said he didn't touch the balls, he didn't order anybody to touch the balls. we have to wait and see what ends up happening. >> andrew brandt, what duid you make of it? was this enough to put the whole controversy behind him? >> unfortunately, i don't think so. what we do have is the two leaders of the organization on the football side tom brady and bill belichick, saying they have no knowledge. we are left with my colleague chris mortensen's report that 11 of the 12 balls were underinflated. the question becomes at whose direction. i think we read between the lines a little bit here. he says which rachel noted, the league has not contacted him which surprises me to no end, because we just went through the report that criticized the nfl for shoddy investigation of the ray rice matter. now we have comments by the nfl that they are interviewing that they are going through. i have been around nfl investigations. they roll up, they talk to everyone. you figured they talked to the equipment staff, the coaches, the players, front office maybe
even ownership, and now we hear they haven't. but he did mention his agent. i think they have talked to middlemen. maybe it's his agent, maybe a lawyer maybe the nfl p.a. about getting to tom brady but there's no subpoena power here. he doesn't have to talk. so we'll see if there's more to this investigation that we don't really know because the nfl is supposedly getting to the bottom of this and they can't get to the bottom of this without talking to tom brady. maybe there is some negotiations going on about what they are going to ask tom brady and when and who could potentially be thrown under the bus. i'm just speculating here. >> christine, i want to read a quote from former dallas cowboys quarterback troy aikman. he said quote, now twice under bill belichick and possibly a third time they have cheated, meaning the patriots and given themselves an advantage. to me the punishment for the patriots and/or bill belichick has to be more severe than what the punishment was for the saints. what do you make of that? >> it's a good point.
i think the bottom line with this almost half hour long press conference which was extraordinarily long i was very surprised, instead of a resolution there are more questions. this story just rolls on and on and on. so i think we will get answers eventually. there is no doubt tom brady, he has spoken with p.r. people and lawyers, you have to surmise that so if he's not telling the truth, and the nfl, again, i'm shocked as well that the nfl hasn't talked to him already, but the nfl will speak to him. so if that was not the truth, that 30 minutes was not the truth, then he's in really big trouble because the answers came over and over again in the tom brady way and if that turned out to be a lie, then my goodness who knows what the punishment could be. but right now, we have no resolution. so while i think troy aikman brings up a great point, as a journalist i know you would agree, rachel would as well we
are dealing with the facts as we have them. right now we are still searching for a lot of answers. >> rachel tom brady was asked point-blank should he or should someone from the patriots apologize even if nothing had been done intentionally to skirt the rules of the game in so many words, brady said no not really. rachel do you think that he or anyone from the patriots owes fans an apology of any sort? >> reporter: it really depends on what happened which we still don't know. look i don't think that the footballs let the air out of themselves. so we know we can pretty much rule that out. the question is was it some sort of equipment malfunction, was it possibly weather related. there has been questions raised that maybe the patriots footballs were at the lowest possible legal limit within the rules, the colts footballs were maybe in the middle of that span within the rules and that if the temperature knocked them both down the colts would still be in the rules, maybe not to the bottom where the patriots would be knocked out, who knows, maybe that happened. although the temperature was 51 degrees at kickoff.
we don't know. we don't know if somebody actually took an air pump and let some air out of the footballs. until we know that it's hard to say whether they owe anyone apology or some fine money or some suspension time. i would like to know however, which means i would like the nfl to ask some questions and while andrew is exactly right, they don't have subpoena power and that was a problem in the ray rice investigation, the patriots have come out and said we are cooperating fully, we have instructed everybody to cooperate fully with the nfl. if they are telling the truth and they have instructed everyone to do that and the nfl is telling the truth that they are fully investigating this i would like some answers and i would like them to talk to some of the key players. >> andrew let's remind people this is beyond a sports story, not just a game. i believe the top 20 most watched broadcasts in american broadcast history are all super bowls. last year's super bowl was the most watched television show in the history of the united
states. what kind of impact could this scandal have on the game, if any? >> yeah the if any is the real question. business is booming. that's why with all the credibility issues around roger goodell this fall after the release of the videotape in the elevator with ray rice on september 8th business is booming, owners are 100% behind him. we have record television ratings, we have the buffalo bills just sold for a billion four. there's a player friendly collective bargaining agreement in place. all those metrics are booming but let's look at it this way. we have the biggest event of the year next week. what are we talking about? underinflated footballs. that's the issue. what rachel raised is we've got to get to this. we've got to get to the nfl now, having a press conference making a statement, getting in front of this before we get to arizona on sunday and monday and talk about the game for a week hopefully so we're not talking about this.
the nfl has to answer why haven't they talked to tom brady, what's going on with the investigation. we were told this would take two or three days. we are almost at that point. if not a penalty, which we don't expect before the super bowl are we going to get some kind of statement from the nfl. this is where this stands right here, right now. >> all right. andrew, thank you so much. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i now turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, isis death toll. the u.s. estimates that coalition air strikes have killed 6,000 fighters including half of the terror group's top command. is the tide finally turning? ally collapses. yemen's government falls apart after a rebel onslaught, raising new concerns about the fate of hundreds of americans and the u.s. battle against al qaeda. suicide or murder? a prosecutor is found dead after his investigation sug