Statement Analysis of January 22, 2015, Press Conference by Tom Brady
All Statement Analysis Material is copyrighted by Julia Bate
Transcription provided by www.ny.dailynews.com
Opening Statement of Tom Brady Quarterback, New England Patriots
Tom Brady: Obviously I’d much rather be up here talking about the Seahawks and preparing for the Super Bowl, which we’ve been trying to do for the last few days. I 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’ll do my best to provide the answers that I have, if any, and we’ll go from there.
StatementAnalysis: The first sentence that a person uses in an open statement, one in which there was no specific question asked, is of great significance. The first word Brady chooses is “obviously.” This adverb is a modifier defined as “easily recognized and understood.” He follows this word with a statement of resistance. He’d rather not answer questions about the deflated footballs. Brady’s statement to this point indicates truthfulness.
The last sentence of this opening statement reveals a change in emotion, as Brady uses a cluster of 10 pronouns. Also the phrase “if any” conveys that Brady decided that it was important for his audience to believe that he may not have any answers to provide.
Q: When and how did you supposedly alter the balls?
TB: I didn’t 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 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. That happened obviously on Sunday night. It was the same process that I always go through. I didn’t think anything of it. Obviously I woke up Monday morning and answered a question on the radio about it and that was the first I really heard about it.
Statement Analysis: Brady’s initial words “I didn’t have any—” demonstrates a lack of commitment to what he first thought of saying, which was likely similar to “I didn’t have any thing to do with altering the balls.” Instead of finishing the sentence he started, he changed to “I didn’t alter the ball in any way.” This is significantly different from committing to the statement “I didn’t have any thing to do with altering the balls.” The interviewer used the plural form “balls.” Brady made a word choice that was different from that. Brady used the singular form “ball.” This choice is a significant indicator that Brady is leaving out relevant information.
Brady then details his process of picking the footballs that he wants to use for the game. His statement: “To me those balls are perfect and that’s what I expect when I show up on the field” is immediately followed by “that happened obviously on Sunday night.” This statement calls for a follow-up question. As it stands, “that happened” is a sudden change of tense after 17 active verbs in the present tense, Brady makes an inappropriate language change to past tense passive voice. This is a strong indicator that he is distancing himself from his explanation.
Moreover, Brady once again uses the word “obviously” to highlight his desire for his audience to recognize that this is indisputable. Brady restates “obviously” shortly after that. He is using language to convince his audience. There is a significant difference between someone who is working to convince an audience and someone who is conveying information.
In the last sentence of this answer, Brady uses “it” inappropriately, which is an attempt to obfuscate. Initially in this answer Brady’s use of “it” refers to the process of picking the balls. In the next sentence “it” refers to the same thing, the process. The third time he uses “it” one is led to believe that he is still referring to the process of picking the balls. When he states, “that was the first time I really heard about it,” he is equating “the process of pick out the balls” with the questioner’s reference to the subject of “altering the balls.” This is a strong indicator of deception.
Notably, this somewhat accusatory question “When and how did you supposedly alter the balls?” solicits no verbiage of emotion. Statistically, an innocent person most often responds emotionally to a perceived accusation.
Q: This has raised a lot of uncomfortable conversations for people around this country who view you as their idol. The question they’re asking themselves is, ‘What’s up with our hero?’ Can you answer right now, is Tom Brady a cheater?
TB: 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.
Statement Analysis: The interviewer, in this case, formulated the questions in such a way that it gave Brady four choices. 1) He could ask the interviewer to rephrase the question; 2) he could answer all three questions—What’s up with our hero? Can you answer right now? Is Tom Brady a cheater? 3) he could answer the question most important to him; 4) he could obfuscate to deflect from answering any of the questions.
The best way to understand the significance of Brady’s answer is to consider that Brady is totally innocent of any wrongdoing. What would be most important for him to say in a relatively short press conference?
“…is Tom Brady a cheater?” Brady: “I don’t think so.” This is a noncommittal statement. He can not commit to stating, “No! I’m not a cheater!” This is the most significant answer that Brady gives that indicates deception on his part. Brady is demonstrating a high saliency toward deception detection. His brain is on high alert. This is known as “cognitive overload,” and is a strong demonstration of attempting to conceal information.
Another indicator of Brady’s attempt to conceal information is that his emotions become heightened. Immediately after the first statement, he chooses to say, “I feel….” This is the first time in the press conference in which Brady has used a word depicting emotion. If Brady were totally innocent of any wrongdoing in this case, one would statistically be more likely to find many references to emotions — statements about his frustration, disappointment, insulted by the accusation, angry that someone wrecked a time of celebration for him, etc., throughout the entire press conference.
In his third sentence of this answer, Brady changes his verb tense to future conditional: “I would never do anything to break the rules.” This statement is not the same as the present tense “I never do anything to break the rules.” Brady is speaking of the future, distancing himself from the present situation.
The word “never” raises a red flag, too. It is a near statistical impossibility for any of us to truthfully state that we “never do anything to break the rules.”
Brady follows this statement with what he “believes” about fair play, the National Football League, and the other teams in the league. He then makes a decision to emphasize a point. “…A very competitive playing field for all the NFL teams.” He immediately restates, “It’s a very competitive league.” His words indicate that Brady is highly sensitized to this fact. Most who are familiar with NFL games know that it is a competitive league. To Brady, at this point in the interview, he feels a need to emphasize the competitive factor. Because Brady answered with emphasis on competitiveness, which has nothing at all to do with the question of him being a cheater, there is a strong connection in Brady’s mind between the two.
Lastly, Brady makes a conspicuously conditional statement. To the sentence “… I’ll always believe in that [fair play]” he adds: “for as long as I am playing.” This qualifying phrase implies that when Brady stops playing, he will stop believing in fair play. But, more likely, this is a strong indicator that Brady is cognitively overloaded and has lost his control over telling his story.
Q: Some people think Coach Belichick threw you under the bus this morning, do you feel that way?
TB: No, I think everyone is obviously trying to figure out what happened. I think that’s the main thing over the last couple days. It’s 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 from when I saw the ball which was five hours before halftime, what exactly happened.
Statement Analysis: Brady reframes the interviewers words. Instead of answering “do you feel that way?” Brady chooses not to answer with the word “feel” but with “think.” He has decided not to reveal how he feels about this.
The pronoun “it’s” in the sentence “It’s trying to figure out what happened” is an illogical pronoun choice. Brady does not commit to stating either “I am/We are trying to figure out what happened.” This is an indicator that he/they already know what happened. Also indicative of his prior knowledge are the illogical changes in pronoun language: “I-everyone-I-it-I-I-anybody.” Language change is not random. Linguistic science reveals that pronouns change illogically when there is a change or heightened emotional response to a question.
Brady used two conspicuously unexpected language aberrations in the last sentence. “…People have been trying to figure out…what part of the process….” He does not finish this thought with a corresponding verb. He will not commit himself to finishing that sentence.
The other aberration has occurred earlier in the press conference. Instead of stating “when he saw the balls,” Brady changes the number to a single ball. This calls for a follow-up question.
Q: Do all quarterbacks doctor the balls and have you done anything differently from anyone else in the league?
TB: I’m not sure. I can only speak for myself. I think that there’s a process that everybody goes through breaking in footballs. It’s probably a lot like a baseball mitt when you’re a kid. I try to explain that to my friends a lot. When you use it and that’s your equipment, the 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 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 that’s what I expect to go out on the playing field with.
Statement Analysis: The interviewer makes the mistake of asking two questions in a compound sentence, thereby allowing Brady several choices. It is unclear which question: 1) “Do all quarterbacks doctor the balls? “or 2) “Have you done anything differently from anyone else in the league?” Brady is answering with “I’m not sure.” He chose not to clarify his response. This could be an indicator of concealing information.
What’s more significant in this statement is Brady’s recurring emphasis on wanting “to be very familiar with the equipment” and that “the football is something I handle on every play.” This will be further analyzed in the context of the question asked later in the press conference: “Did you notice a difference in the balls used in the first half and the second half?”
Also noteworthy is Brady’s correct usage of the plural form “balls.” This is evidence that Brady does know how to use the plural form correctly and reinforces the suggestion that his word choice of a single “ball” earlier in the conference was meaningful. Further questioning about “the ball” needs to be pursued.
Q: How important is it for you to get this out of the way and take this head-on so you can get focused on the Super Bowl?
TB: 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, we accomplished something really special getting to this point. I don’t like the fact that this is taking away from some of the accomplishment of what we’ve achieved as a team. I think hopefully our best is still to come. We’re going to work as hard as we can over the next 10 days to put ourselves in a great position to be prepared for the game.
Statement Analysis: The interviewer in this case poses a contradictory set of questions thereby allowing Brady to answer evasively. “…Get this out of the way” and “take this head-on” are contradictory. The first implies getting past the issue; the second implies facing the issue resolutely.
Brady offers an indistinct answer. “That’s where the importance is….” If one assumes Brady is answering the question of how important is it to get focused on the Super Bowl, then his following statement is disjointed from it. “I know this is a very important thing and that’s why I’m here addressing it.” He refers to the issue of the under-inflated balls as a “thing” and “it.” This is distancing language.
Q: Do you know the difference between an under-inflated ball and an over-inflated ball? Did you notice a difference in the balls used in the first half and second half?
TB: From the first half to the second half, I didn’t think twice about it. I didn’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.
Statement Analysis: The questions posed are closed-ended, requiring only a yes/no answer.Assuming Brady, a seasoned quarterback, is completely innocent of any wrongdoing in this case, what would be the most important thing to say in response to these two questions? What he chooses to state is that “From the first half to the second half, I didn’t think twice about it.” Brady decides not to answer either question. That is a significant indicator of concealing information. Further substantiating that indicator is the fact that Brady changes the number of times he didn’t think about it to “one.” Two sentences later, Brady has downgraded even more to “It wasn’t even a thought,” then an “inkling of a concern.” This is language used to convince someone. It is not the language of conveying facts. “Like I said” is another effort to convince.
“At that point” reveals that Brady is leaving out important information in the timeline.
This statement in response to these questions is deceptive.
Remembering Brady’s earlier emphatic statement that he was “very familiar with the equipment” and that “the football is something I handle on every play,” his answer to this question is in contradiction to what he stated earlier.
Q: What do you say to the skeptics that say, ‘The Patriots have had violations before. How can we possibly believe what Brady and the coach are saying now?’
TB: 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. If that’s what they feel like they want to do, then I don’t have a problem with that. 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 a part of being a professional athlete. We can only express to you what our side is and how we approach it. Then everyone is going to make their own [conclusion].
Statement Analysis: Brady did not answer the question about what he would say to skeptics. Instead, Brady employs broad generalizations here. “I don’t ever cast judgment on someone’s belief system. If that’s what they want to do, then I don’t have a problem with that,” is another example of a statistical near impossibility for anyone to truthfully say.
It is unclear from this transcript whether or not Brady finished his last sentence in this answer. It’s possible that he was going to say, “Then everyone is going to make their own judgment.” He might have caught himself before using the word “judgment” because he had just explained how noble it was not to “ever cast judgment.” This is the Analyst’s speculation and may not be accurate. It is mentioned because of Brady’s possible lack of commitment to finish his sentence.
Q: Are you comfortable that nobody on the Patriots side did anything wrong?
TB: I have no knowledge of anything. I have no knowledge of any wrongdoing –
Statement Analysis: Brady did not answer this “yes” or “no” question. “I have no knowledge of anything” is another statistically impossible statement for anyone to truthfully make. Being highly salient to deception detection, Brady immediately changes his language to a statement made several times in Bilchick’s press conference.
Q: Are you comfortable that nobody did anything?
TB: Yeah, I’m very comfortable saying that. I’m very comfortable saying that nobody did it, as far as I know. I don’t know everything. I also understand that I 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.
Statement Analysis: The interviewer poses an inane question. Brady indicates he is comfortable with that. “I don’t know everything” is an admission that he does know something. In the following sentence his word choice changes from “know” to “understand.” “I also understand I was in the locker room preparing for a game.” This verb is an illogical choice, unless he is speaking from memory. In his memory, he “understands” that he was “in the locker room preparing for the game” during the altering of the balls. Further substantiation that he is using language from the memory portion of his brain, Brady clarifies “I don’t know what happened over the course of the process with the footballs. I was preparing for my own job….” Altering the footballs was someone else’s job. Brady has narrowed down the time frame during which the deflation took place. This requires further questioning.
Q: A few years ago you said you liked the ball deflated. You were quoted saying you like throwing a deflated ball. Explain that comment in the context of what you’re dealing with this week.
TB: I obviously read that I said that. I like them at the way that I like them, which is 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 play. I would never have someone do something that I thought was outside the rules.
Statement Analysis: Brady doesn’t fully commit to saying he liked throwing a deflated football. He’s committing to having read the quote. This is distancing language.
Brady changes to future conditional verbs to express that he “would never do anything outside of the rules of play. To cover his bases, he extends his statement to include “never have someone do something that I thought was outside the rules.” His word choices underscore that he is not speaking about the past or present.
Q: So you never knowingly played with a football that was under 12.5-pounds?
Q: Have you tried to find out why the balls were under-inflated?
TB: That’s a great question. I think there are a lot of people that have more information than me. I only know what I’ve kind of gone through and the process I’ve taken as part of the game and the postgame, as well as trying to prepare for the Super Bowl. Yeah, I have questions, too. But there’s nobody that I know that can answer the questions that I have. I just have tried my best to focus on what I need to do, to be prepared for Seattle.
Statement Analysis: The question posed is requires a yes or no answer, which Brady demonstrated in the previous statement that he is capable of recognizing and responding “yes” or “no.” Brady decides this question needs more explanation. “That’s a great question” is a stalling technique. “…There are a lot of people that have more information than me” indicates that Brady is aware of a number of people who know what happened.
“I only know what I’ve kind of gone through…” is a very weak statement. As an experienced quarterback, Brady’s use of “kind of” is an unusual word choice unless he is speaking from memory of a single experience with which he was not as familiar.
Q: If you know the look and feel of the football that you like, do you think there could have been other games where you played with an under-inflated football?
TB: 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 –
Q: Are you wondering if you’ve played with an under-inflated ball before?
TB: I have no idea. I have no idea. This was the first that I’ve heard of it. Obviously on Monday morning, was the first that I heard of it.
Statement Analysis: The interviewer poses is a non-threatening yes/no question. “Are you wondering…?” Brady chooses not to commit to even wondering about under-inflated balls. Having been quoted as preferring to play with an under-inflated ball, Brady directly contradicts his previous statement. He uses repetition as a linguistic tactic to convince his audience. He repeats both statements. This answer is highly indicative of deception.
Q: If it’s found that someone improperly tampered with the balls, is it important to you that someone is held accountable?
TB: I’m not the one that imposes [that]type of accountably. It’s discipline and all that, that’s not really my job. Obviously I’d 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 play against the Seahawks. Because I can’t do anything with what’s happened in the past. I have to just go forward with the most awareness I can going forward and trying to be the best I can be for our team.
Statement Analysis: Brady does not answer the question “…is it important to you.” This lack of an answer is a significant response. His language “and all that” downplays the importance of accountability.
Q: How does it make you feel that they’re calling your team cheaters?
TB: 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 our 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. I think you can just go out and try to be the best you can be, deal with people with respect, with honesty, with integrity, have a high moral standard. I’ve always really tried to exemplify that as an athlete. I’ll continue to try to do that.
Statement Analysis: Brady answers “how does it make you feel” with the verb “think.” He’s choosing not to reveal his feelings. The frequent change in pronouns, i.e., “our team” becomes “your team” is indicative of heightened emotions in response to this question.
Q: Does this motivate you guys?
TB: We’ve had a lot of motivation. I would say we’ve got a lot of motivation as a team. I think our team has 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. We’ve 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.
Statement Analysis: Brady does not state that this controversy has provided motivation for the team. Other things have motivated the team, in his mind. Brady makes a conspicuous pronoun change in the last sentence. After using the first person singular and plural several times in this answer, he changes to the second person singular. Brady has chosen not to commit to the first person in this last sentence, which would have been “I can be the best teammate I can possibly be….”
Q: Did you address your teammates today and if so, what did you say to them?
TB: Those are very personal things with my teammates. That was very personal comments.
Statement Analysis: Brady’s language is openly resistant to answering this question. He uses repetition to strongly emphasize his resistance. The language change from “those” to “that” indicates concealment of information. “That was very personal comments” is sentence in which the singular relative pronoun “that” does not belong with the plural noun “comments.” This is a deviation from Brady’s normal speech pattern. It is indicative of him speaking of one very personal comment in particular. Brady’s heightened emotional state has interfered with his ability to cognitively edit his words at this point.
Q: Did you see the footballs before they went to the referees?
TB: Yeah. It’s always the same process. I get here – the playoffs I got here pretty early before the games. Then I go in there and I choose however many balls are necessary for the games. Sometimes it’s 12, 16, 18, 24. This last particular game was 24. 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 an opportunity to play with them. That’s what I thought I was doing.
Statement Analysis: The most significant linguistic anomaly in this statement is Brady’s change from the past tense “They were perfect” to the future conditional “I wouldn’t want anyone touching those….” “I would zip those things up….” Then an admission: “That’s what I thought I was doing,” a statement in the past tense again. By not employing the present or past tense, Brady is not saying that he didn’t want anyone touching those particular footballs. He’s not saying that he zipped those footballs up and locked them away until he got out on the field.
Brady’s repeated demonstration of high saliency toward deception detection clearly indicates that he was not a bystander in this situation.
Q: We’re you surprised when you heard those footballs had been deflated by two pounds?
TB: Absolutely. That was very surprising to me.
Statement Analysis: Brady elects to add “to me” next to the word “surprising.” A bystander to the controversy would be less salient and be likely not to find it necessary to add “to me” to this sentence.
Q: One of your teammates said this was a media thing. Is that your feeling? Is there a feeling behind closed doors that this is being blown out of proportion?
TB: No, it’s very serious. This is a very serious topic. Obviously the integrity of the sport is very important. I think there’s another focus that we have also as a team that guys are very focused on our opponent and the things that we need to do to try to be successful. Everyone is trying to figure out what happened. But at the same time, you have to prepare for the Seahawks also.
Statement Analysis: Brady’s changing pronouns and nouns is prominent in this statement. His change from “we” and “everyone” to “you have to prepare” is out of context and therefore a significant deviation. This requires follow-up questions to understand the reasoning behind his word choice.
Q: You laughed this off on Monday on the radio. Now you’re more somber about it. What happened between Monday and today?
TB: Look, that was real early in the morning. I got home at 12, one o’clock and woke up to do the radio interview and I was very shocked to hear it. I almost laughed it off thinking it was more sour grapes than anything. Then it ends up being a very serious thing when you start learning the things that –
Statement Analysis: Most noteworthy in this statement is Brady’s shift from the first person pronoun couple with past tense verbs to “when you start learning.” He chose not to say “when I started learning,” which would have been consistent with the pattern of this statement. This indicates concealment of information.
It is important to review the videotape to clarify whether Brady chose not to finish his sentence or was interrupted.
Q: When the start of the second half was delayed and the balls were swapped out, how did you guys on the sideline not know what was going on on the field with respect to the footballs?
TB: 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 turn around in the huddle and the ball was ready for play. So, I didn’t think anything of it.
Statement Analysis: The interviewer places Brady on the sidelines during the delay. Brady responds with “and then I turn around in the huddle….” Brady is leaving out information.
Q: Nobody said anything to you on the sideline? It was a good minute delay.
TB: I wasn’t paying attention to what was happening at that time. I don’t remember. 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.
Statement Analysis: Brady uses “obviously” as a word to connect with and convince his audience.
Q: The officials didn’t say a word to you?
Q: Do you feel like you had an unfair advantage over the Colts?
TB: I feel like we won the game fair and square. We ended up playing a great opponent and I thought our team went out and played a great game offensively, defensively [AND]special teams. It was a great accomplishment to reach the AFC Championship, to win the AFC Championship and then 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’ll 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.
Statement Analysis: What stands out in this statement is the lack of continuity between a previous answer Brady had given that “it’s very serious. This is a very serious topic. Obviously the integrity of the sport is very important.” In this statement “hearing the football issue has taken away a little bit….” This diminished emotional response is not what one would expect from a totally innocent bystander.
Q: Is this a moment to just say ‘I’m sorry,’ to the fans?
TB: I think it’s disappointing that a situation like this happens. Obviously I’d love to be up here talking about [the game], in a very joyful mood. These are the two best weeks of the year if you happen to be one of the two teams still playing. 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.
Statement Analysis: The interviewer’s question opens the door for Brady to talk about the fans. Brady chooses not to answer the question. Quite the opposite, Brady’s answer is filled with “I” pronouns. His last sentence “I don’t have some of those answers” indicates that Brady does have some of those answers that “you guys were looking for.”
Q: For the fans that are watching and looking into that camera, what do you say?
TB: I’m not sure. What would you like me to say? I’m not quite sure.
Statement Analysis: Brady’s statement is noncommittal. He asks for coaching: “What would you like me to say?” Assuming Brady is totally innocent in this case, what would you expect him to say?
Q: Does the league have a responsibility to button this up so everybody can move on?
TB: I think they’ll 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. Like I said, I know they’re doing their investigation. I don’t know what will happen after that.
Q: Do you feel like you’re hanging in the wind?
TB: No, 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.
Q: Did the league investigators talk to you?
TB: Not yet.
Q: You said earlier that first the issue seemed minor and then you became it was more serious. What was it that convinced you of the seriousness?
TB: 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 –
Q: What’s so serious about it to you?
TB: 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, the college kids, the high school kids. We want to be the ones to set the great example.
Q: Are you frustrated by this process? Are you surprised by the process of what the story has become? What do you hope the end result is going forward?
TB: I’m not sure if I have a hope. I haven’t put much thought into that. It’s been just a short period of time. I’d 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. I’m happy we have an opportunity to play in the next game. 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 only do something going forward.
Statement Analysis: “I’d really love to go out there and play a great game.” “Obviously, the NFL would love to figure out what happened in this situation.” These two statements are consecutive and highlight the difference between what Brady would love and what he thinks the NFL would love. He chooses not to include himself or his colleagues in the group who would love to figure out what happened. This word choice could be an indicator that he already knows what happened. It’s highly unlikely that an innocent quarterback would leave himself out of the group that would love to figure out what happened.
Q: The league has not spoken to or contacted you yet?
TB: No, but they may. They may. I think that’s obviously their choice.
Q: Do you find that odd though?
TB: Sure, yeah, they might. They might.
Statement Analysis: Brady obfuscates on a yes/no question. “Sure” is not “yes.” “Sure” is a term indicating some level of agreement with the speaker. Brady follows that with “they might” twice. He is thinking that the league might contact him, a subject first brought up in the previous question.
Q: It’s odd that they haven’t at this point. You’re the quarterback and you’re the center of this story right now and the league’s officials haven’t talked to you indicates to a lot of people they’re letting this drag on.
TB: I’m not sure.
Q: Have you been told they will talk to you?
TB: I’m not sure.
Statement Analysis: Brady did not answer this yes/no question. This analyst speculates that cognitively, Brady is still mulling over previous questions.
Q: There are people who are going to say, ‘You’re so familiar with the equipment, how could you not know?’ What would you say to them?
TB: I addressed that a little bit earlier. Like I said, I don’t put any thought into the footballs after I choose them. When you’re out there playing 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 it’s the same one I approved in the pregame.
Statement Analysis: Brady demonstrates resistance to having to answer a similar question again. Noteworthy is Brady’s word choice that switches from plural “footballs” to the singular “football.” In a previous answer, Brady indicated that he approves several balls for each game, in this game he cited 24 balls. Yet in this answer he makes the statement “I just assume it’s the same one I approved in the pregame.” Aside from being conspicuously different from his earlier answer, this particular sentence is structured as a true statement. This requires follow-up questioning to determine if Brady only approved one ball before this game.
Q: Do you break the balls in during practice?
TB: 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 day it may not. It depends on maybe how, I don’t know, the humidity in the air or how old the ball was. There are a lot of variables with obviously Mother Nature and the balls. Whatever feels good that day, those are the ones I would typically choose.
Statement Analysis: To this yes/no question, Brady answers with a noncommittal “certainly sometimes.” Next he changes his answer to “Yeah, we definitely do that.” This is a strong indicator of high saliency to deception detection.
Q: Those are the same ones that Bill Belichick squirts water on in practice?
TB: Yeah, he does that a lot. It could be, yeah. It definitely could be.
Q: You said you didn’t want the balls to be touched after you approved them. You didn’t notice that 15 percent of the air was out of the ball when you started using it? It didn’t strike you during the first half?
TB: I didn’t feel any different. I would just assume that 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. I’m not –
Statement Analysis: The first word of this sentence might be a typo on the part of the transcriptionist. The video needs to be reviewed to determine if it is a typo. If not a typo, “I didn’t feel any different” is not stating “It [the football] didn’t feel any different. The change of verb tense to conditional “I would just assume…” is not the same as continuing with the past tense verb which would read, “I just assumed….”
Q: Basketball players would know if the ball was off after taking two shots. Baseball players could pick up a bat and know if it was less than ounce different. You’re asking us to believe that you couldn’t tell 15 percent of the football was deflated and you didn’t notice?
TB: I wouldn’t know on a particular play. It was a very wet, cold, windy night. Like I said –
Statement Analysis: The conditional “wouldn’t know” followed by “on a particular play” is illogical and the two are indicators of a desire to conceal information.
Q: But [Colts linebacker] D’Qwell Jackson noticed.
TB: I don’t know. 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 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 wanted to do, then that’s what they wanted to do. That’s what their decision was. But I certainly didn’t. No, I did not recognize that. I did not feel a difference between the first half and the second half when supposedly they were inflated to the original or even more inflated. I didn’t notice any difference. I didn’t obviously think there was anything different between halves.
Statement Analysis: The most revealing word in this statement is “original.” If one believed that the footballs were at the standard inflation the word “original” would not be correct. Brady’s word choice is highly indicative that he knew there was a change from the original inflation level.
Q: When you initially tested the balls, did you think you would have noticed if the balls were under-inflated at that time?
TB: I don’t know. 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 ever squeeze the football. I just grip the football. I think there’s maybe a little bit of a difference of how I do that.
Q: What about the fact that you had better numbers after they exchanged the balls?
TB: 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 a great second half. It was due to great execution by a lot of great football player. Like I said, I know that’s obviously what they said. They inflated them. I didn’t notice a difference. I wish I could tell you something different. I just didn’t notice a difference.
Statement Analysis: “I wish I could tell you something different” is a clear sign that Brady does not feel comfortable not being able to reveal what he knows.
Q: Bill Belichick said the team will inflate the balls over the minimum requirement from now on. Is that going to be an adjustment if 12.5 pounds is what you like?
TB: I don’t think that would make much of a difference. Like I said, I didn’t feel any difference between what was a 13-pound football or an 11-pound football the other night. That is pretty irrelevant to me.
Q: Will you lobby the league to change the rules surrounding this situation?
TB: What situation, what process would that be – about us breaking in our own balls?
Q: Making sure the balls are the proper weight throughout the game.
TB: Yeah, if they want to do that I have no problem with that. I certainly.
Statement Analysis: “…If they want to do that…” indicates Brady does not believe the league makes sure the balls are the proper weight throughout the game currently. “I certainly” may be a typo. The video needs to be reviewed to determine if it is or if Brady was cut off in mid-sentence.