New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick could offer "no explanation" for how nearly a dozen of the footballs used in Sunday's AFC Championship game were underinflated.

Belichick said at a press conference Thursday that he had "no knowledge whatsoever" about the balls before finding out about them on Monday morning.


"I have no explanation for what happened," he said. "It's unfortunate that this is a story coming off two great football victories."

The NFL is investigating how 11 of 12 team footballs were underinflated for Sunday's semi-final game, where the Patriots, led by star quarterback Tom Brady, trashed the Indianapolis Colts 45-7.

Footballs used on Sunday were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below the league's requirement of 12.5-13.5 pounds per square inch, according to an ESPN report late Tuesday.

Softer balls give quarterbacks a better grip and are easier to catch.

"I have never talked to any player, staff member, about football air pressure," Belichick said. "We play with what's out there."

Belichick's Patriots were at the center of controversy in 2007 after they were found to have videotaped the coaching signals of opposing teams, leading to hefty penalties, including a maximum $500,000 fine for Belichick. Then-Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), a Philadelphia Eagles fan, called for an independent investigation into the allegations.

Lawmakers on Wednesday weighed in on Sunday's soft-ball controversy.

“From the beginning, we knew the Patriots would do anything they could to win,” said Colts fan Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsHow President Biden can hit a home run Former Trump intel chief Coats introduces Biden nominee Haines at hearing Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security MORE (R-Ind.). “We’re convinced that the score would have been just exactly the opposite had they not had deflated footballs.”

Others, such as Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), said the incident should be investigated but that the Patriots should "definitely, definitely" be allowed to play the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl on Feb 1.

"My personal mentality is to make things as difficult as possible for players in practice," Belichick said Thursday. "I'm sure that any current or past players of mine will tell you that the balls that we practice with are as bad" as they can be.

"However bad we can make them, I make them," he said. "Wet, sticky, cold, slippery."