Believe it or not, Tom Brady is not unique. As it turns out, virtually every quarterback who has ever played the game of football – at least in the NFL – has certain preferences regarding the balls they throw.
“I think the thing that everybody has to understand – and I know it’s the Super Bowl and it’s the AFC Championship Game and it’s the Patriots,” former NFL quarterback and current NFL analyst Trent Green said on Gio and Jones. “But every quarterback has done something to the football. Nobody takes the football directly out of the box brand new (and uses it in a game). You get a brand new football out of the box, there’s a layer of film (on it). All you have to do is throw a brand new football for any amount of time, and your hand is going to turn orange because of what comes off the football.
“So most teams, what they’ll do is they’ll just get a wet towel or something like that, try and rub it down just to get it worked in, maybe put it through the ball machine a few times,” Green continued. “Some guys will even use it in practice for a coupe days before they think it’s game-ready. That’s just to soften up the leather on a football. It’s no different than a new pair of shoes that you put leather stuff on to try and soften them up because they feel better after a few days. (It’s) the same thing with a football when you have a leather football. You need to work it in a little bit just to make it feel more comfortable.”
While conventional wisdom says a deflated ball is easier to throw – at least in wet, cold conditions – Green felt otherwise.
“I didn’t like them deflated,” he said. “I didn’t like it to feel like a Nerf football where it was too squeezed. You’d squeeze it too much. It just didn’t feel right. So it’s interesting how this is kind of blowing up – and obviously for good reason when you consider 11 out of 12 footballs had been altered.”
Still, for Brian Jones, this is much ado about nothing. In fact, for many people, this is much ado about nothing.
“I think it’s being made a bigger deal than what it is,” Green admitted. “No. 1, it’s the Patriots and their track record of things that have happened in the past. And the second (thing) is it’s the AFC Championship Game, so you’re getting ready for the Super Bowl and everything’s big news going into Super Bowl week. Just when you think this is going to go away, you’ve got Media Day coming up in a few days, and it’s going to be brought up all again. And you understand it because of the enormity of the game. (But) I really don’t think that you can either credit or blame (the footballs) for how (the AFC Championship) turned out.”
All that said, Green believes the Patriots, if found guilty, could be facing a substantial punishment. He doesn’t expect Bill Belichick to be suspended, but a ball boy or equipment manager will likely be fired, and the Patriots will likely face a hefty fine and the loss of at least one draft pick.
“I think it’s going to be huge,” Green said. “When you look at what happened with the Spygate deal and the fact that they made a significant fine at that time ($500,000), I think that they’re going to try to make a statement with it.”