The New England Patriots may be finally turning the corner on “Deflategate.” On their first full day in Arizona ahead of the Super Bowl there on Sunday, they took part in what’s called Media Day, where the focus was no longer on the underinflated footballs used in the AFC championship game, even if it wasn’t exactly on the game of football either.
After so much talk about underinflated footballs, what could be better than a lot of hot air?
Thousands of fans filled the pro basketball arena in Phoenix, paying for their seats to watch hundreds of journalists from around the globe ask hard-hitting questions and make Patriots coach Bill Belichick squirm.
Well, not exactly.
"Last three movies I saw were 'Unbroken,' 'American Sniper,' uh ..." Belichick said, laughing at bit before answering.
Talking about his favorite movies was actually the closest Belichick got to talking about Deflategate.
"'My Cousin Vinny,' yeah, put them all in there."
That’s the movie Belichick alluded to when he tried to throw water on the firestorm over whether the Patriots tampered with game balls. Pats quarterback Tom Brady was hardly asked about the scandal, though he did talk about dealing with distractions.
"I’m focusing on the game. I’ve been able to do that the last two or three days, to really hone in on what the important part of this week is, and that’s our upcoming challenge," he said.
And football air pressure was no more of an issue than with the Seattle Seahawks. Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse was trying to rein in lobs like this one from someone dressed in a superhero costume:
"I have one more question! Do you find yourself ever playing in slow-motion to be more awesome?"
"I want to be so fast, that my super power will be super speed, to where everything would be in slow motion," Kearse said.
Deflategate sucked none of the hype out of what’s always a goofy day in the lead-up to the Super Bowl. And that was just fine with one couple here, Steve and Lana Freeman. He’s a Pats fan. She’s a Seahawks fan.
"You know, it’s been rehashed over and over and over again in the media this week. So it’s just like: Let’s just move on with it," Steve Freeman said.
"I think it takes away from kind of the whole hype of the Super Bowl if they’re just focusing on that and the cheating allegations and all this stuff," Laura Freeman said. "They’ll figure it out later on. Even though I’m a Seahawks fan, the Patriots are a great team. I think it’s going to be a really good game."
Patriots owner Robert Kraft says sentiments like those were exactly why he decided to speak out about Deflategate on Monday.
"I’m a fan at heart," Kraft said. "And I want to enjoy this game. And I want to make it clear how we do things. I believe in my guys. We’re gonna have a fun time the rest of this week and have a great game Sunday."
And with that, Kraft said more about Deflategate than all of the Patriots combined.
This segment aired on January 28, 2015.