John Madden thinks he knows who is to blame for the New England Patriots’ latest cheating controversy — none other than Tom Brady himself.
The Patriots are accused of purposely deflating game balls used in the AFC Championship Game, in violation of NFL rules. The league reportedly found that 11 of 12 balls tested were under-inflated, and while no concrete allegation has been leveled against the Patriots, many believe the team famous for illegally videotaping their opponents’ defensive signals in “SpyGate” is again guilty of cheating.
Madden said if the allegations are true, there would be only one person on the Patriots who could or would have ordered the balls to be deflated.
“That would have to be driven by the quarterback,” Madden told The Sports Xchange on Wednesday. “That’s something that wouldn’t be driven by a coach or just the equipment guy. Nobody, not even the head coach, would do anything to the football unilaterally, such as adjust the amount of pressure in a ball, without the quarterback not knowing. It would have to be the quarterback’s idea.”
Madden added that he believes Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who said he knew nothing about any efforts to deflate the balls.
“Yeah, I believe him,” Madden said. “I can see — and you hate to make examples of what you can see because that sounds like you are accusing someone — but I can see that being between the quarterback and the equipment guy.”
“He is the effected, he is the only guy,” Madden said, referring to the quarterback. “I heard some of the pundits saying the ball is easier to catch, but that would never, ever, ever be done for that unless the quarterback wanted it. You wouldn’t do something for a receiver to catch the ball if the quarterback couldn’t throw it. So it’s going to be done for the quarterback.”
Others seem to have backed up John Madden. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he has advocated for footballs to be of a certain pressure, though he disagrees with letting the air out of the ball.
Rodgers said he likes balls to be inflated to the maximum amount allowed by the league — and maybe even a little more.
“The majority of quarterbacks, I would say more than half, are maybe on the other end of the spectrum and like it on the flatter side,” Rodgers said. “My belief is that there should be a minimum air-pressure requirement but not a maximum. There’s no advantage, in my opinion — we’re not kicking the football — there’s no advantage in having a pumped-up football.”
Former Super Bowl winning quarterback Brad Johnson said he has also manipulated game balls, admitting that he paid $7,500 to scuff up footballs before Super Bowl XXXVIII.
The NFL has still not officially accused the New England Patriots or Tom Brady of deflating game balls, and has yet to officially announces its findings from the deflated ball investigation.