Belichick for the defense

Boy, you gotta hand it to Bill Belichick. Operating under an assumption that guides many coaches – that the best defense is a good offense – the Terse One held an impromptu news conference to reveal that the New England Patriots had conducted their own investigation into Deflate-gate, no doubt in an attempt to seize control of the narrative.

And guess what? The Pats have found that when you leave footballs on the field in cold, wet weather, yep, they deflate.

There you have it – an act of God, who has yet to hold his press conference or inform us of the results of his own investigation.

Good attempt to cut us off at the pass, Bill. But no first down.

If atmospheric conditions during the A.F.C. Championship game were the cause, then why didn’t the Colts’ balls deflate as well?

Belichick opined that he is no scientist or expert on footballs. But, he added, "at no time was there any intent whatsoever to try to compromise the integrity of the game.”

OK, let’s pause for a pet peeve – the misuse of the word “integrity.” It means “wholeness.” Alistair Cooke – the Anglo-American journalist who was perhaps best-known on this side of the Atlantic as the iconic host of “Masterpiece Theatre” – once demonstrated the correct use of the word by saying Marilyn Monroe had tremendous integrity: She was a screw-up onscreen and off. I myself wouldn’t agree with that assessment, but I get what he meant. You can be wholly bad (Hitler) as well as wholly good.  It’s all integrity.

What Belichick means is that there was no intent to act dishonestly. Uh-huh. Then the real Belichick asserted himself: "This is the end of this subject for me for a long time.”

Don’t bet on it. The very fact that Belichick went proactive after that debacle of a news conference in which his gruff routine combined with QB Tom Brady’s frat-boy charm to raise more questions – and ridicule – suggests that the Pats know this is a story that has legs.

But they’re the ones who are running scared.