FOXBORO, MA – JANUARY 22: New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady talks to the media during a press conference to address the under inflation of footballs used in the AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

FOXBOROUGH, MA — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke with reporters this morning about his seventh trip to the Super Bowl and his quest to win a record fifth ring for a quarterback, but seemed to have briefly slipped into a moment of accidental candor — nearly admitting that all of his previous Super Bowl appearances were owed to New England’s proud tradition of cheating.

Asked a question about whether he was motivated to win this year and force Roger Goodell to hand him the Lombardi Trophy after the commissioner suspended him for four games at the outset of the 2016 season, Brady said he was not and then went into a long monologue on his true motivations.

“I’ve never felt this good about being in the Super Bowl,” he said. “There’s always been a nagging thought inside of me during our previous six times in this game, that maybe we didn’t really deserve to be here. But I feel good and just clean and innocent this time and I’m really motivated to win my first Super Bowl without cheati- … shit.”

The quarterback then laughed awkwardly, while turning bright red and stumbled to continue his train of thought.

“I mean, I’m … you know … motivated to win my first Super Bowl … against the, you know, Falcons,” he said. “Never met them in a Super Bowl before and they’re a real good team.”

Brady then excused himself from the press conference and walked off the stage as Bill Belichick glared at him from the side of the room. The Patriots have long stonewalled the media and the league office on the details of their operation, outside of terse denials in regards to their cheating, but Brady’s slip up was a rare crack in that facade and a shocking mistake by the 39-year old veteran.

But while reporters scurried to send out the news of Brady seemingly admitting to cheating, others question whether the “slip up” was planned misinformation.

“If the Patriots put it out there that they’re not cheating this year, the hope could be that everyone will think they’re finally being honest and not cheating,” read a New York Times editorial. “Meanwhile, they’ll continue and expand their cheating right in front of us. It’s a brilliant sleight of hand.”

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