FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (CBS Connecticut/AP) — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says he didn’t touch or think about the footballs used to get his team into the Super Bowl after he picked out the ones he wanted to throw.

Brady said Thursday that he didn’t know how New England ended up using underinflated balls in its win Sunday against the Colts in the AFC Championship game.

Brady says he doesn’t know the protocol for handling game balls after he chooses them a few hours before game time and that he didn’t alter the footballs whatsoever.

“I have a process that I go through every game, and I pick the footballs that I want to use for the game. Our equipment guys do a great job of breaking the balls in, they have a process that they go through,” Brady said. “When I picked those footballs out, at that point, to me they were perfect. I don’t want anyone touching the balls after that, I don’t want anyone rubbing them, putting any air in them, taking any air out. To me those balls are perfect and that’s what I expect when I show up on the field.”

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Like his coach Bill Belichick said a few hours earlier, Brady said he learned about the issue the morning after the game.

Brady says he has not been contacted by the NFL as the league investigates whether the team cheated.

Brady says the issue is one thing the team has to deal with as it prepares to play the Seahawks for the NFL title on Feb. 1.

The Patriots quarterback added that everything will be fine in the end.

“This isn’t ISIS,” Brady said. “No one’s dying.”

The offhand comment comes as two Japanese men are being held hostage by ISIS. The terror group is demanding $200 million for their release.

During an earlier press conference Thursday, Belichick said he was “shocked to learn” about the deflated footballs.

“I would say I’ve learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I knew or have talked about it in the last 40 years that I’ve coached in this league,” Belichick said during an 8 1/2-minute opening statement during an 11 1/2-minute news conference. “I had no knowledge of the various steps involved in the game balls and process that went through.”

Belichick did not specify who in the Patriots organization was responsible for the underinflated balls, or absolve anyone besides himself of potential wrongdoing.

Softer balls are generally considered easier to throw and catch, and quarterbacks, specialists and equipment managers are known to have very individualized preferences in how footballs are readied for games . Belichick said he was unaware of the process for game balls until the accusations were raised.

Belichick said he sometimes hears quarterbacks, kickers and other specialists talk about their preferences.

“I can tell you and they will tell you that there is never any sympathy from me whatsoever on that subject. Zero,” Belichick said.

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The NFL requires balls to be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pound per square inch. Under league rules, each team provides 12 balls for use on offense. Referees approve the balls more than 2 hours before game time, then keep the balls until they’re turned over to ball handlers provided by home teams just before kickoff.

“I would love for them to be at 12.5. I know that there’s other quarterbacks that may prefer more than that,” Brady said. “But that’s what works for me. It’s a very individual thing.”

Belichick said the balls used by the Patriots offense are inflated to the “12 1/2-pound range” and “any deflation would then take us under that.”

Going forward, he said, the Patriots will inflate footballs to a safe level to prevent them from dropping under allowable air pressure during games.

“We will take steps in the future to make sure that we don’t put ourselves in this type of situation again,” he said.

The coach who has won three Super Bowls said he generally forces players to practice under bad-ball conditions.

“Anytime players complain about the quality of the footballs, I make it worse and that stops the complaints,” he said. “We never use the condition of the footballs as an excuse. We play with whatever or kick with whatever we have to use.”

Belichick declined to answer several questions after his opening remarks, answering several of them by saying: “I’ve told you everything I know,” and “I don’t have an explanation.”

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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