Tom Brady has denied asking to use deflated footballs in the New England Patriots’ blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game, but as pressure mounts on Brady and the Patriots, one thing has become clear — he’s far from the only one doing it.
Sources say the Patriots played with balls purposely deflated to below the NFL’s standard for pressure. An investigation by the league reportedly found 11 deflated footballs among the 12 tested, leading to pressure on Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Both have denied asking for the deflated footballs, saying they have no idea how they could have ended up that way.
“I feel like I’ve always played within the rules,” Brady said, via MSN Sports. “I would never do anything to break the rules. I believe in fair play, and I respect the league.”
He added, “I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I have no idea what happened.”
While Tom Brady has denied asking for the deflated footballs, other quarterbacks have admitted tampering with game balls. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers admitted to submitting footballs to game officials that were a little bit off from the league’s standards.
But Rodgers said he prefers his footballs a bit over-inflated, not deflated.
“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 Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brad Johnson admitted that he paid to have footballs scuffed up before Super Bowl XXXVII, a game his team went on to win.
Matt Millen, a former quarterback who now helps design footballs for the equipment company Baden, said it is not hard to deflate a football.
“I’ve seen somebody say, ‘Hey, stick a needle in there for a second just to get the air right,'” Millen said.
Millen added that there are several advantages to deflated footballs.
“If you’re going to be challenged to handle the ball in either very cold conditions or wet conditions, then having the ability to grab the ball and squeeze it, you’re going to have more of a chance to remain in contact with the ball,” he said.
It is unclear what penalty Tom Brady and the New England Patriots could face if the league finds that they purposely deflated footballs.