Brady’s ‘Deflategate’ denial full of hot air

The tool of the trade for an NFL quarterback is a brown leather football.

Nobody in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts knows the feel of a football better than New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Including 28 postseason games, Brady has played in 237 NFL games and attempted 8,203 passes.

So how could Brady not have known the balls used by the Patriots in the first half of last Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts were deflated by 1 to 2 pounds per square inch?

Brady, a three-time Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Famer from Northern California, said Thursday he was “as surprised as anybody” on Monday when he learned of the underinflated footballs, and that he “would never break the rules.”

Sorry, Tom, but is that your nose growing?

It would be easier and more understandable to point the finger at the usual suspect, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who already has one strike against him because of the 2008 “Spygate” scandal.

But even Belichick backpedaled Thursday and even threw his star quarterback under a bus: “Tom’s personal preferences on footballs are something he can talk about.”

Brady had his chance to come clean, but all he did was soil his impeccable reputation.

What should be done if there is proof Brady deflated the footballs or instructed a ball boy or equipment manager to do his dirty work?

A large fine? Suspension? Divorce from supermodel Gisele Bündchen?

What’s just as disappointing as the denial or the act of cheating itself is that it was so unnecessary. Brady could have been throwing a box of rocks to his receivers and still easily beaten the Colts.

The integrity of the NFL has been damaged. And that leaves everybody who cares about the sport deflated.

– Victor Contreras

What to watch

NBA, Kings at Warriors, 7:30 p.m., CSNCA: The Kings will have their hands full against the team with the best record in the NBA, including 19-1 at home.