Tom Brady DeflateGate. Tom Brady’s Body Language in His DEFLATEGATE Interview - Is He Lying?

  Tom Brady’s Body Language in His DeflateGate Interview
 Is He Lying?
By Patti Wood MA, CSP
Body Language Expert

I read Tom Brady’s body language for CNN.  Notice how on the surface he appears fairly cool and smiles a lot. But here is the bottom line, his body language shows anger, nervousness and evasion and a content analysis of what he says shows evasion.  He does not talk about the day of the football game and says he didn’t notice that the balls were deflated and he does not say he didn’t ask for them to be deflated.

CNN Interview with Patti Wood:

The Five Most Compelling Clips and The Body Language and Script Analysis of quarterback Tom Brady.

I have the link to Tom Brady’s DeflateGate Interview below and the time codes where each section begins. My read is based on Brady having a baseline in interviews of being cool and collected and having fun, that he was prepared for the interview, and I compared his baseline to what it would be for an individual who has done nothing wrong and is wrongfully accused.

1.      Brady looks away, tongue clicks, and stalls and stutters, when asked, “When and how did you supposedly alter the balls?”
Starting at Time code: 32 When Tom Brady is asked about altering the ball. Brady first gives closed envelop lip cue that shows he is reigning in his true emotion and if you look at his eyes you see that emotion is anger. Also watch how he flips his chin up, in a way that seemly looks like I got this question but if you look at the micro facial cues actually shows he would like to say something more graphic and derogatory like, “Up yours!”

  • Then Brady looks away to escape the question and shakes his head no, but the head shake no comes after he speaks rather than before. That timing is SAY then Show. He says the words then shakes no that is an indication of deceit.
  • Then we hear Brady give a tongue click. He clicks his tongue on the roof of the mouth cleaning out the bad taste of the question, this is also a cue that means “I would like to spit at you.”
  • Then he gives a mistimed shoulder shrug. A mistimed shoulder cue is SAY the words then SHOW the body language rather than Show with your body language and then Say the words would have indicated it was an honest response.   He says, “I didn't...” then shrugs. To be clear, when you’re telling the truth you feel the true emotion in your limbic brain, you show it nonverbally also from your limbic brain then you say the words. So Brady should have shrugged then spoken.
  •  Let’s now look at the words he used in his answer so we can do a content statement analysis.  
  •  It is interesting that many news stories misquote, or only quote the last phrase of his answer. If you do that you can be fooled. You need to hear and analyze his full statement.  He should have given a straightforward smoothly stated answer. This was after all not a statement made in the heat of the moment. He was prepared for this interview.
What he said is:

“I didn't UHHHHH you know.” “Have any AHHH you know.” “I didn't try to alter to the ball in any way.” 

Again, people quote the sentence, “I didn't alter the ball.” But his full answer said so much more. The filler sound, “ahhh” is an indication he is going into his limbic brain to answer the question and he is under stress.  But, he is not sure what he SHOULD say so he says, “uhhh.” He then goes to the filler phrase, “You Know.” He says it twice. Then here is what is most revealing, he starts the sentence three times. That’s three stalled starts. Before he gives the answer, “I didn't alter the ball in any way.” That is beyond mere nervousness. And here is the other kicker, with that wording the response means very little.  We already know he couldn't have physically altered the ball, what we want to know is did he ask for it to be altered and did he know it was altered. I wished he had been asked if he asked for it to be altered or he knew it was altered.

2.      He avoids “Telling the Story of the Event.” He does not say what he did that day.
In analyzing deception it is important to ask for the story of the event. Then listen carefully. Does a suspected person tell the story of the event or do they avoid telling the story? Do they tell another story or do they enter the story before or after the event, but avoid the event.

An interesting way of detecting deception is to notice when the “suspected deceiver” begins to tell the story.  When Brady begins to tell a story he does actually tell the story of the day the footballs were found to be deflated. He instead starts a NEW STORY about his picking the ball process. Telling a different story allows him to sound and look truthful.  That is, “Look over there.” Deception technique. If you are asking someone you suspect of doing something wrong whether they did it, don’t let them distract you with other stories. Brady gave a charming story that had nothing to do with the event.

When he talks about, “I have the process I go through with the ball...” he gets to be very passionate and strong, but again the answer he gives doesn't mean anything.  His process would happen on an imaginary day, not the day the balls were supposedly deflated.  It would be as ridiculous as asking a robber if he robbed the bank, and letting the robber talk in details about his workout at the gym every day.

3.      He gives a cascade of anxiety cues like hidden lips as he gives his mash potato words.
Starting at Time Code 1:50 when Tom Brady is asked, “Is Tom Brady a cheaterTom gives a cascade of body language cues. First Brady gives a cover smile showing his teeth. He then gives a nervous laugh. He then rocks side to side which is a self-comfort cue. Then he pulls in and hides his lips and you may remember lips disappear when we don’t like what we hear so this shows he does not like the question and may hide his true answer. 

All of these movements serve as a way to delay his answer for a usually long time. All of those are cues of someone who is very nervous. They are not a full flag on the play that Brady is lying, but odd when he delays so long in answering that the actual answer is not a definitive statement. Instead he does all this stalling and gathers himself up and gives what appears to be a nice smooth honest answer, but notice the wording. “I don’t believe so. It’s a disclaimer phrase. That sounds like a lawyer prepped him to give that answer to save him legally. As a Media coach I would not recommend that kind of soft answer. I call words like believe and feel Mash Potato words.  They are words that hide the meat of the truth behind the mash potatoes.  He follows that statement with more mash potato words. “I feel like I’ve always played within the rules.”

Then he follows with a story that means nothing. He talks about his morals. He does not talk about that day and say he didn't notice that the balls were deflated and he didn’t ask for them to be deflated. . Brady says. “I would never do anything to break the rules. I believe in fair play, I respect the league and everything they’re doing to try to create a competitive playing field for all the NFL teams. It’s a very competitive league. Every team is doing the best they can to win every week. I believe in fair play and will always do that for as long as I’m playing.”
4.      Brady gives a “Dupers Delight” smile.
At time code 4:30 he gives this smile several times in the interview when he thinks he has gotten away with his answer. Here it is giving an off topic statement that anyone could say, “We are going to do our best… to be prepared for the game.” Then he gives his Dupers Delight smile. I think he is such a cutie pie, charm really works for him, most of the time. It does not here.

5.      Brady stutters and uses tricky phrasing, whispers and a tongue thrust.
At time code 7:08 -7:16 or 17 when talking about how he likes ball… “I would never do anything outside of the, THE rules of play. I would never you know have someone do something that I thought was outside the the the rules. The double “the’s” is a stalling technique. His gestures are in sync and that looks great and he gets very passionate, the gestures and passionate delivery tricks us into thinking he is giving a heartfelt answer, but then he uses the phrase “outside the rules of play.” That is like a criminals saying, “I didn't do anything bad” the word bad  is a matter of interpretation and the phrase, “outside the rules of play.” are a matter of interpretation. So in his mind he can believe he didn’t do anything wrong, because of the way he personally interprets the tricky phrase, “the rules of play.” Even with that cushion he still stumbles over his answer and the second time he says he does something very revealing he sucks in and whispers the rules” and sticks out his tongue in a tongue thrust. The whispered “the rules” indicates he is not certain. By whispering the dangerous word he hopes we can’t hear that he is lying. Truth tellers shout it from the roof tops. Then finally his tongue thrust shows he is angry at being pushed on it.

6.      Throughout the interview Brady gives many tightly closed upside down smiles.
This shows his displeasure and discomfort and hidden anger. 

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at