PHOENIX — Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s pre-emptive strike the previous night took the issue of air pressure in footballs on Super Bowl media day and, well, deflated it.

Not only was the topic rarely raised in questioning of players from both sides Tuesday, but Kraft’s protesting how his franchise is being portrayed seemed to provide the last word on the issue – for now.

In a short appearance, Kraft assessed the impact of his strong statement delivered when New England arrived Monday. During that statement, he said he expects an apology from the NFL when its investigation finds the Patriots did nothing wrong.

“To be honest, I think by and large except for our quarterback they don’t pay much attention to it,” Kraft said of the Patriots’ reaction to the under-inflated footballs controversy. “I think they think it’s a bunch of hogwash. Bill (Belichick) does a good job of making them understand what they have to focus on.

“I’ve gotten a lot of positive comments from them. I just said what I believed.”

Beyond that, the NFL’s investigation of deflated footballs used by New England in the AFC championship victory over Indianapolis gave way to questions about players’ favorite musicians, movies and clothing.

The always dashing Belichick, wearing a hoodie, of course, jeans and flip-flops on the podium, deflected any and all references to the subject. Not that there were more than two or three queries.

Quarterback Tom Brady, clearly at ease and having fun with the varied topics, barely was approached about the issue.

Same thing for the rest of the Patriots, who figure the investigation will stretch well beyond Sunday’s title game.

For All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, there was an entirely different line of questioning he was thrilled to avoid.

“It feels good not to get any questions asked about my health, no doubt,” said Gronkowski, who was hobbled for the 2012 Super Bowl loss to the Giants. “It feels good to be 100 percent healthy and 100 percent ready to roll for this game, and not get a million questions like last time about my ankle.”