SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The National Football League’s report on “Deflategate” found that New England Patriots employees likely deflated footballs and that quarterback Tom Brady was “at least generally aware” of the rules violations.
But on his Daily Madden segment with the KCBS morning crew on Thursday, John Madden said that this issue over game balls in NFL games is far from a new topic.
“This started back in 2006. Tom Brady was one of the leaders of it, as was Peyton Manning and I was indirectly involved because they talked to me about it, more specifically Peyton Manning,” Madden said. “They never got to practice or throw the game footballs until the game. The home team produced the football and when the ball comes out of the box, it has a slippery surface on it, and they let them rub that off.”
Madden said some teams had good equipment staff that made sure the game balls were rubbed down, while others did very little to them.
“They [Manning and Brady] said ‘let us practice with the balls. Let us have the footballs during the week to throw them a little and to break them in.’ That happened back in 2006 and this [deflategate] is probably a result of that,” said Madden.
Madden said players don’t target a specific inflation level, but just try to get the balls to “feel right” to them.
“They’ve always let them rub them down or rub them off or whatever the heck they do. That was always an equipment ball. Then the kickers got involved in it and they started doing stuff to the kickging balls and the started making separate kicker balls that you can’t do anything to,” said Madden. “It’s just something that has been there for a long time and has probably been taken advantage of one way or another, but I do think innocently.”
When asked why all quarterbacks shouldn’t just be able to set their own inflation, Madden responded with this:
“I think that was probably what they thought they had. I mean back in 2006 when they let them work with the balls during the week…I think they thought they had that,” said Madden.
In terms of punishment, Madden said he expects all parties involved to be disciplined in some fashion by the league.
“I don’t know the inner workings of this, but I would guess there would be some discipline,” Madden said.
Madden said he believes this has been a longstanding issue in the NFL, with teams and players taking advantage of the situation one way or the other, but as Madden said, he thinks they have done so innocently.