Is ‘Shocked’ Bill Belichick’s Body Language Believable in Press Conference? He Issued ‘No Knowledge’ Denial of 11 Deflated Footballs.

Accurate Body Language LLC Analysis of
New England Patriots Head Football Coach Bill Belichick
Press Conference – Gillette Stadium

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I'll start by addressing the football issue here... 1

NFL investigation concluded that 11 of the 12 footballs used by New England Patriots during their AFC Championship Game win over the Indianapolis Colts were deflated footballs.  On Thursday, January 22, 2015, New England Patriots Football Coach Bill Belichick addressed media questions at a press conference.

Body Shifting

“Alright…I’ll…a…start off by addressing the…a…the football issue here…” 

  • Belichick swings and shifts his body off-center, right, and left as he settles into the beginning of his press conference. Body shifting is another indicator of his initial discomfort or unease in addressing the deflated football issue.
  • As Coach Bill Belichick begins his press conference, he has difficulties saying his first sentence in one smooth fluid flow.
  • His start and then hesitation pauses suggest that this is not an easy topic to discuss for him.

I'll start by addressing the football issue here... 1

  • Notice his chin wrinkles as he pulls his lips together tightly and creates a slight frown with downward corners at the edge of his mouth.  This facial micro-expression cluster reveals sadness.
  • He has multiple lip presses and audible lip smacks possibly from dry mouth, discomfort, or stress.
  • When people don’t like what they hear, when they are upset, or feel distressed, lips often roll inward, press together in thin horizontal lines, and then disappear…
  • He has downward eye gaze and deep vertical lines in-between eyebrows.  However, his deep vertical lines appear to be a permanent or normal part of his facial features.
  • Overall, Belichick shows a mixture of sad, as well as angry facial expressions as evidenced by pursed tight upper lips and puffed underneath lower lip.

I was shocked 2

“When I came in Monday morning, I was shocked to learn of the news reports about the…ah…footballs.” (lip smack)

  • His second sentence has a noticeably smoother fluid flow until the slight pause and difficulty at the end of saying…’footballs.’
  • Belichick’s speech is calm, stable with normal range speed, rhythm, and volume.
  • Experiencing ‘shock’ would be an immediate and reasonable initial reaction for someone without any knowledge of, or involvement in, the incident.
  • He placed stronger verbal emphasis on the word ‘shocked’ compared to his other words.
  • Belichick’s emphasis on ‘shocked’ is true to what an innocent person would feel upon hearing the unexpected news of eleven under-inflated footballs during the Patriots vs Colts game on Sunday, January 18, 2015.

I was shocked 3

  • As Belichick is saying he is shocked, he looks up at the media crowd both right and then left.
  • Rather than avoid eye gaze as he did at the beginning of the press conference, he is now not afraid to look at, speak directly to, and address the press with this pivotal sentence of his innocence.
  • Deceptive people lack emotional descriptive words because they wouldn’t feel ‘shocked’ if they were involved in the incident or crime.
  • Pupils appear to be within normal range and not constricted.

I had no knowledge

“I had no knowledge whatsoever of this situation until Monday morning…”

  • Within 3 sentences and looking directly at the press reporters, Belichick was able to verbalize a strong, direct, and complete denial of any knowledge of the under inflated ball situation.  
  • If a person can’t state a strong denial within three sentences, then that would be a “hot-spot” of discomfort or deception and an area requiring further investigation.
  • His statement of, “I had no knowledge whatsoever of this situation until Monday morning…” is important because a deceptive person would be unable to say this straight-forward denial.  
  • A deceptive person will avoid answering accusatory questions (e.g., Bill Cosby) or use a variety of diversions, distractions, long-winded, zig-zagging non-answers (e.g., Anthony Weiner) in order to deflect from clearly saying, “I didn’t do it” or what Belichick said, “I had no knowledge whatsoever of this situation until Monday morning…”

“I’ll say, I learned a lot more about this process in the last 3 days than I knew, or had talked about it in the last 40 years, that I’ve coached in this league.”

  • He then goes on to explain that he learned a lot more about the process within the last 3 days.  If he were involved, he would already know about the process and wouldn’t have to “…learn a lot more about the process in the last 3 days…” A deceptive person would not think to say this sentence of what he did not know and then learned in the past 3 days.
  • Belichick delivers these two sentences smoothly without the earlier hesitations.
  • His grammar and use of contractions (e.g., I’ll, I’ve) are correct regarding the unfolding of the events and the learning about the process of the situation.
  • When people are attempting to deceive, they often slow down their language and speech because they need to think more about what to say and how to say it. As a result, deceptive people lack the use of contractions.
  • These two sentences are credible and reasonable for someone who is honest and who was not involved.

Tongue Exposure

“…ahh…I had no knowledge of the various steps involved in the game balls…and the process that they went through that happened between when they were prepared and went to the officials…and went to the game…so, I learned a lot about that…”

  • He clearly and directly states that he had no knowledge of the various steps involved.
  • However, at the end of this statement, Belichick sticks out his tongue! This quick, and ever-so-slight, micro-expression shows his distaste for learning about this whole process!

I understand that each team has the opportunity to prepare the balls

“…ahh…I obviously understand that each team has the opportunity to prepare the balls the way they want…give them to the officials…and the game officials either approve or disapprove the balls…and that really was the end of it for me.”

  • This is the part that is within Belichick’s knowledge as he uses ‘obviously’ because he is aware that each team selects 12 footballs to give to the game officials to approve or disapprove.

“…ahh…until I learned a little bit more about this in the last couple of days…”

  • He corrects himself regarding  when his knowledge or involvement ended, “…and that really was the end of it for me” by adding “…ahh…until I learned a little bit more about this in the last couple of days…”
  • Belichick continues to address the press reporters with connecting eye-gaze as he takes the audience through how he remembers the chronological football procedure and the unfolding learning of the event.

“Let me just say that my personal coaching philosophy…my mentality…has always been to make things as difficult as possible for players in practice…”

“…and so with regard to footballs, I am sure that any current or past player of mine would tell you that the balls we practice with are as bad as they can be.”

“Wet…sticky…cold…slippery…Whatever…, however bad we can make ‘em, I make ‘em…”

“…and, any time the players complain about the quality of the balls…the footballs, I make ’em worse…and that stops the complaint.”

  • Once again, he looks directly at the press as he is describes his personal coaching philosophy in great detail (e.g., “Wet…sticky…cold…slippery…”).
  • Instead of going ‘easy’ on his players, his coaching style makes the practice conditions and the handling of the football as tough and as bad as they can be, much to the complaints of his players.

My personal coaching philosophy 4

  • Notice the slight raising of the chin and the lift of the base of his nose as he looks down at the press. These are gestures of personal power, superiority, and feeling proud of his personal coaching philosophy.
  • In the entire passage below reveals Belichick’s core-VALUE system. Without interruption, Belicheck clearly explains again…in great detail, and with great ease, numerous believable and credible sentences of making sure his football players practice, play, and prepare in the toughest situations possible.

“So, we never use the condition of the footballs as an excuse. We play with whatever, or kick with whatever we have to use. And, that’s the way it is.

That has never been a priority for me. I want the players to deal with as hard a situation in practice than they’ll ever have to deal with in the game. And, maybe that’s part of our whole ball security philosophy.

I’m trying to coach the team…and that’s…that’s what I want to do.

I think we all know that quarterbacks, kickers, specialists have certain preferences on footballs. They know a lot more about it than I do. They’re a lot more sensitive to it than I am. And I hear them comment on it from time to time. I could tell you that they will tell you, there is never any sympathy whatsoever from me on that subject. Zero.

And, Tom’s personal preferences on his footballs are something that he can talk about in much better detail and information than I can possibly…possibly provide.

I can tell you that in my entire coaching career, I have never talked with any player, staff member about football air pressure. That is not a subject that I have ever brought up.

To me, the footballs are approved by the league and game officials pre-game and we play with what’s out there. And, that’s the only way that I have ever thought about that.

I’ve learned about the inflation range situation. Obviously, with our footballs being inflated to the 12 1/2-pound range, any deflation would then take us under that specification limit. Knowing that now, in the future, we will certainly inflate the footballs above that low level to account for any possible change during the game.

So, as an example, if a ball deflated from 13 to the 12.9, it wouldn’t matter. But if it deflated from 12.5 to 12.3, it would. So, as an example, we will take steps in the future to make sure that we don’t put ourselves in that type of potential situation.

The National Football League is investigating the situation. We have cooperated fully, quickly, and completely with every request that they have made. We continue to be cooperative in any way that we can. I have no explanation for what happened. And that’s what they’re looking into. So, I can’t comment on what they’re doing. That’s something that you should talk to them about.

Again, my overall knowledge of football specifications, the overall process that happens on game day with the footballs is very limited. I would say that during the course of the game, I honestly never – probably happened on an incomplete pass or something – touched a game ball. It’s not something that I have any familiarity with on that. Again, I was completely, totally unaware of any of this that we’re talking about the last couple days until Monday morning.

So, based on what I know Sunday night, thinking back on this, which I’ve done several times, I really can’t think of anything that I would have done differently based on what I knew then, based on what I know now.

I told you the one change we would make the initial start level of the football pressure, but that’s really about it.

It’s unfortunate that this is a story coming off of two great playoff victories by our football team and our players. But again, we’ve cooperative with the NFL investigation and will continue to do so.

And we will turn all of our attention and focus onto the Seattle Seahawks – a very well-coached, talented, tough, competitive football team. We’ve spent the last four days, three days with our preparations, so forth, for the trip. Those are coming to a conclusion. We’re wrapping that up and starting our preparations today for the Seahawks, practicing through the weekend. So, we’ll have a good, solid opportunity to get ourselves ready to go before we head down there.

Again, I have no further comment on the NFL investigation and I’ve told you all I know about the subject from my perspective. So, that’s where we are.

  • A deceptive person who wants to cheat and make things easier would not spend this much time and effort talking about his personal VALUE system.
  • A deceptive person wants to AVOID talking about the sensitive issues at all costs.  As a result, a deceptive person will be guarded, evasive, and redirecting any attention away from the issues.
  • Belichick does not show avoidance or guarded behavior. He specifically addresses various topics relating to the football issues.
  • With ease and flow, Belichick is able to explain the toughness of his personal coaching philosophy, mentality, and ball security philosophy.
  • For all of the reasons and examples cited in this Accurate Body Language analysis, Bill Belichick is credible throughout the press conference.

 “From Head-to-Toes, the BODY Always Shows…the TRUTH!!”

“Get-to-the TRUTH!” Janette Ghedotte is an EXPERT in Human Behavior & Communication:

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