(Reuters) - Given Bill Belichick’s history, the Seattle Seahawks may wonder what tricks the crafty New England Patriots head coach could have up his sleeve for their Super Bowl clash.
As the National Football League investigates whether the Patriots used under-inflated balls during their 45-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday’s AFC championship, Belichick is not really interested in discussing the matter.
“Any questions on that you should talk to (the NFL) about,” Belichick told reporters this week while promising to “cooperate fully” with whatever the leagues wants.
There has been speculation the Patriots used under-inflated balls, which might be easier to grip and catch, during the rain-soaked game.
Whatever the outcome of the inquiry, Belichick, a three-time Super Bowl winner as Patriots coach, already has a history of pursuing any edge he can to win.
And his counterpart in Seattle, Pete Carroll, could be forgiven for wondering what unexpected roadblocks stand between his team and a second consecutive Super Bowl title on Feb. 1.
In 2007, the NFL fined Belichick $500,000 over what became known as “Spygate,” after a the Patriots were caught videotaping defensive signals from the New York Jets during a game.
The 62-year-old coach was even accused of deception by the Baltimore Ravens following their playoff game two weeks ago though the NFL later ruled that the Patriots did no wrong.
Baltimore cried foul when the Patriots used unorthodox offensive formations during their comeback win that did not allow the Ravens defense enough time to adjust to who was eligible to catch a pass.
“We ran it three times,” Belichick said unapologetically after the game. “We had six eligible receivers on the field but only five were eligible. The one who was ineligible reported he was ineligible.”
Patriots fans argue their coaching staff were merely smart enough to take advantage of the complex regulations that make up the NFL rule book, and that the Ravens were simply slow to catch on to what was happening.
“It was a real good weapon for us and we’ll have something in store next week,” quarterback Tom Brady said after the Baltimore game.
Media reports have said the NFL will wrap up its deflated ball investigation in the coming days. Whatever the outcome of the inquiry, the Seahawks no doubt will be on guard.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue