SAN MATEO (CBS SF) – Junipero Serra may be destined for sainthood, but a famous alum of the local high school named in his honor may not be if it turns out he’s the one behind the deflated footballs in last Sunday’s AFC Championship game.

On Thursday morning, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick flatly denied that he had anything to do with the deflation of 11 balls used in the blowout victory over the Indianapolis Colts, raising suspicion on the player most likely to benefit, quarterback Tom Brady, a San Mateo native and Serra high grad.

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The discovery of the allegedly doctored balls may not have swung the outcome 7-45 victory by the Patriots but it has called into question the fair play of the Patriots, a team which has faced fines for bending the rules. In fact, all time touchdown leader Jerry Rice and former head NFL Referee Mike Pereira have called deflate-gate “cheating.”

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

While attempting to remove himself from the spotlight, Belichick did little to help out Brady.

“Tom’s personal preferences on his footballs are something that he can talk about in much better detail and information than I could possibly provide,” Belichick said.

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According to published reports, Brady said in 2011 that he likes playing with deflated footballs. So is it plausible that Brady had something to do with the game balls?

In a KCBS interview Wednesday, John Madden says he believes Belichick when he says he wasn’t involved.

“That would have to be driven by the quarterback. I mean, that’s something that wouldn’t be driven by a coach or an equipment guy or something. The quarterback—you wouldn’t do anything to adjust the amount of pressure in a football if a quarterback didn’t want it, believe me.”

Later, Madden said he believes Belichick that it was the first he heard about it:

“You hate to make examples of what you can see because then that sounds like your accusing someone but I can see that being between a quarterback and the equipment guy.”

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Brady has so far stayed silent on the matter, but he’s expected to take questions from reporters Thursday at 1 p.m. Pacific time.