Brad Johnson: I did tip the ball boys, but I did nothing wrong

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Former NFL quarterback Brad Johnson admits he paid ball boys who broke in the footballs before the Super Bowl in 2003, but he says that story is getting blown out of proportion.

Johnson said on PFT Live that he resents the stories that came out this morning suggesting that he bribed ball boys to tamper with footballs before the Super Bowl. Johnson told Mike Florio that he and the other quarterback in that Super Bowl, Oakland’s Rich Gannon, talked about it beforehand and both agreed that they didn’t want to play with the slick, brand-new balls that the NFL was using for the Super Bowl. Johnson said he didn’t personally tamper with the footballs, but he did pay the people who had the balls to break them in and make them easier to handle.

“Both Rich Gannon and I, we had played together in Minnesota, we both agreed,” Johnson said. “I never saw the footballs, Rich Gannon never saw the footballs. And we played, no one complained.”

Johnson said Gannon knows that the Raiders weren’t cheated in that Super Bowl.

“I talked to Rich Gannon this morning and he said, ‘This is way blown out of proportion,'” Johnson said.

Johnson admitted that he gave the ball boys a “tip” but he said he doesn’t remember if it was $7,500 and doesn’t remember who the ball boys were.

As for the accusation that the Patriots deflated footballs in violation of NFL rules before Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, Johnson said that’s not the same thing that he did before the Super Bowl.

“That doesn’t have anything to do with me,” Johnson said. “I don’t know anything about what they’re talking about, deflation of balls.”

What Johnson knows is that he did ask for the footballs in that Super Bowl to be prepared a certain way. Even if he doesn’t think there was anything untoward about that.

108 responses to “Brad Johnson: I did tip the ball boys, but I did nothing wrong

  1. As long as BOTH teams used those same balls, this is a non-story. It would only be an unfair advantage if ONLY the Bucs use the balls that were scuffed up.

  2. Why these guys even offer this stuff for public consumption is beyond comprehension. Do your spot, speak in cliches and platitudes and move on.

    Some of these guys are so incredibly stupid, you wonder how they were ever able to comprehend a playbook.

  3. And this is why the two week lull between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl is so brutal…

    We have a story that was told years ago by Brad Johnson hilariously blown out of proportion in light of this whole deflated ball nonsense, and when put into perspective by rational educated human beings, we see that Johnson and Gannon agreed that they wanted to have the footballs broken in, and Brad tipped some ballboys.

    The end result was a blowout win by Tampa that had nothing to do with the size, shape or texture of the football and everything to do with the fact that Tampa had an all-time great defense with multiple HOF players and a coach that knew everything there was to know about the opponent, right down to mimicking Rich Gannon in practice leading up to the game.

    The Patriots were beating the Colts if they played with inflated balls, deflated balls, beach balls, baseballs, basketballs, ping pong balls, whatever. The Colts overachieved due in part to having a young stud QB and the Pats were the more complete team.

    On to Arizona for what should be an exciting matchup between New England and Seattle. Enough of the deflategate, please.

  4. Yes he asked for the balls to be PREPARED A CERTAIN WAY….because the teams are allowed to PREPARE THE BALLS A CERTAIN WAY before every game. There is no rule against scuffing up the balls. Maybe the NFL doesn’t want their pretty little commemorative Super Bowl footballs to get scuffed up, but this is not the same.

  5. This is the point. All pro QBs do this, whether it’s changing the inflation levels, or soaking the balls in water, or running them over buffing machines to give them an artificially rough surface for better handling. Even a cursory google search turns up articles about Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, and others doing this. Nobody likes to use brand new balls even in high school, let alone in the NFL — and it has been this way for decades. For some people to claim the very practices that built the league now somehow undermine it is truly bizarre.

  6. commenter says:
    Jan 21, 2015 2:35 PM
    Scuffing up a football is quiet different from altering it’s weight and size.
    ___________________________

    No it aint. Same thing. It allows the QB to get a better grip. And the RBs and WRs too.

  7. Cool, lets all make up a bunch of conspiracies for the next two weeks. “Belichick somehow deflated the kicking ball in addition to bribing me to miss the potential game-winning fieldgoal in Super Bowl XXV” – Scott Norwood

  8. Scuffing up a football is quiet different from altering it’s weight and size.
    ——————————————————
    what you mean is scuffing up a football is different from altering its pressure. It didn’t weigh 13lbs then change to 11lbs. We’re talking pressure and I’m sure the football didn’t change in size.

    Both methods are to enhance the grip. But again, it goes back to QB preference.

    Assuming the refs did their job (doubtful without any documentation of the actual pressures prior to kickoff). The patriots probably filled the ball with hot air in the locker room knowing they would pass the pressure test and deflate to a reasonable level on the field.

  9. Scuffing up a football is quiet different from altering it’s weight and size.
    ===

    2 PSI isn’t going to affect size and is only going to affect weight by a gram or less. Unless you’re a habitual cocaine user, I challenge you to detect a gram’s difference in the mass of a 400 gram object.

  10. Evidently anything less than $7501 is still considered a “tip” and not a “bribe”.

    I’ll have to remember that next time I’m “tipping” a city official to dispose of some radioactive waste …

  11. Johnson admitted that he gave the ball boys a “tip” but he said he doesn’t remember if it was $7,500 and doesn’t remember who the ball boys were.
    ——————————————————

    Find those ball boys, I bet they remember.

  12. Just another casualty of war. Glad he said something about this, I always thought he was a decent guy.

    Nothing to see here people, move along.

  13. Is even “tipping” a ballboy ethical? regardless of $20 or $7500? I know I’m not allowed to “tip” my child’s soccer referee so I can’t imagine pro sports players are allowed to either.

  14. “I do not have a dog in the fight,but there was no harm no foul, the colts got taken to the wood shed end of story!”

    Glad to know teams are permitted to cheat as long as the game isn’t close. I missed that amendment.

  15. I could hear the reverse “Beep, beep, beep” as soon as I saw the original quotes earlier today.

  16. This is getting ridiculous. No more reports. No more “gates”

    Pitchers use spit.
    Pitchers use files/sandpaper.
    Hitters cork bats.
    Hockey players use illegal sticks.
    Receivers use stick-em.

    You use whatever advantage you feel you can get away with; and where you can bear the consequences.

    The league is BEGGING for someone to alter the balls if they are inspected 2 1/2 hours before a game – and then returned to the team. Why inspect them at all?

  17. I finally bothered looking at the rules at issue here. Did you know that they require the refs to take any number of steps if there are any perceived issues with the game balls?

    “The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications. A pump is to be furnished by the home club, and the balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game.”

    “In the event a home team ball does not conform to specifications, or its supply is exhausted, the Referee shall secure a proper ball from the visitors and, failing that, use the best available ball. Any such circumstances must be reported to the Commissioner.”

    So apparently the Patriots also used mind control powers to trick the refs, and also tampered with dozens of game balls while simultaneously evading the numerous cameras filming the sidelines at all times. It just makes sense.

  18. pretty sure there are no RULES regarding slickness of the balls.
    there is however, a RULE regarding PSI of balls to be used during games.
    just like there are RULES regarding videotaping other teams defensive signs.

    I am just a diehard REDSKIN fan, so don’t mind my opinion or the fact my team treated the uncapped year as uncapped.

  19. “I don’t remember if I tipped the ballboys $7500” is something that no one has ever said truthfully. You ain’t that rich, Brad.

  20. One thing that’s not being mentioned is that a deflated ball is less likely to be knocked out of someone’s arms (RB or whoever has the ball, for The Patriots). I do not think for a second that it would have made a difference in this blow out, but a turn over here and another there could have made for a closer game (they might have lost by only 20 :). I think the SeaChickens just picked up another million fans, maybe two million. I’m rooting for them now, before I was only hoping for a scoreless tie..

  21. Can PFT please do 100 more articles on this subject. It’s a stupid rule to start with. I’m sure the majority of players would like a SLIGHTLY less inflated ball to throw and catch.

  22. How are some people still saying Brad cheated when Gannon was in on it? Not to mention the original article is nearly 3 years old.. Nothing to see here.

  23. “More people run over by the runaway train.”
    —————————————————————

    The difference is Johnson willingly stepped in front of the runaway train. What an idiot.

  24. Everyone just calm down.

    It seems like every QB has a personal preference towards the football.

    Johnson likes em scuffed, Brady likes em soft, Rogers likes it super hard, Eli has his thing…and on and on. Look – even kickers squish the ball on the tee to try and get them to their liking.

    Indy has twice complained to the NFL about the Pats balls. Seems like sour grapes to me, even after Pagano came out publicly and said, “Wasn’t us who complained”.

    Solution?

    $9 Bilion a year in revenue – the NFL can afford to have paid employees look after the balls. Everyone plays with the same ball.

    Everyone stop your whining.

    – Neither a Pats or Colts fan

  25. How are people saying that scuffing up the footballs and deflating the footballs are the same thing? Do those people know anything? or are they just blindly defending the Patriots?

    The NFL gives the balls to all teams to scuff up and get them into whatever condition they want them to be in before each game. The balls are given back to the officials and they are checked to make sure the pressure is correct before they are given back to the teams.

    Scuffing up the footballs is ALLOWED by the rules and is encouraged. Deflating the football is NOT ALLOWED by the rules. Therefore, they are NOT the same thing.

  26. .
    Has anyone considered that there could be a simple homemade tool to deflate an exact amount out of a ball? This could probably fit in the palm of a hand and start with the inflation needle and then some type of small storage that would hold…say…~2psi…?

    I could probably make one of these in my garage tonight and if I were on a sideline with rain gear on I could probably take exactly 2psi out of balls without anybody noticing.

    Just a thought…I would only do so if the guy that prefered a lesser inflated ball in such rainy conditions knew it was about ~2psi that provided the edge in the grip/throw.

  27. The hot air angle is looking more likely to me, actually.

    Things we know:
    We know that the ball at 50 F (exterior ambient) measured 10.5 PSI gauge. That’s an absolute pressure of 25.2 PSI.

    Things we assume:
    A football has a volume of 2 liters. (Think about a two-liter Coke bottle and a football. Both are a foot long, but the football has pointy ends and is a little fatter in the middle.)

    Things we derive:
    Rearranging the ideal gas law to find the number of moles of gas particles in the football. (PV/RT=n)
    This works out to .1476 mol air. With that number, we can again rearrange the ideal gas law to solve for pressure at a various temperatures given a constant volume and number of particles. (P=(nRT)/V)

    Results:
    Temp(F) ::: Pressure (PSIa) :: Pressure (PSIg)
    60 ::: 25.69 ::10.99
    70 ::: 26.19 :: 11.49
    80 ::: 26.68::11.98
    90 ::: 27.18 ::12.48
    100:: 27.67 ::12.97
    110:: 28.17 ::13.47

    So yeah… That’s probably how they pulled this off. Inflate with hot air and let it cool down. It wouldn’t even be so hot that you’d think it was weird. It would also explain why the Colts balls didn’t change as much. The Colts balls fell from 70ish to 70ish whereas the air in the Pats balls fell from 95 or 100 to 50. That’s twice as much of a temp drop.

  28. I’m dying to know how the Patriots did it. I hope it’s nothing as mundane as having a ballboy use a needle under a towel. Maybe they filled the balls with 200 degree air, would that even be technically illegal?

  29. This is hilarious. The media pulling out all the tricks to try and get a rise out of anyone lame enough to believe that this had any effect on the game between New England and Indianapolis.

    Keep finding ways to hate on the Patriots, as they continue to find new ways to win. I’m not even a pats fan and I think this outbreak of news towards “Deflationgate” is ridiculous.

  30. “The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications. A pump is to be furnished by the home club, and the balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game.”
    According to this, the balls are not given back to the teams but stay in the possession of the referees until the start of the game.
    If that’s true either the referees didn’t do what they were supposed to do, or any opportunity to alter the balls would have had to have occurred on the sidelines in front of lots of people and cameras.

  31. Another cheater and a fixed superbowl. Hell, they probably all are. Didn’t see it from Brad Johnson of all people. Bill doesn’t surprise me but B. Johnson does.

    Honestly, who really believed the NFL had integrity anyways?

  32. “Maybe they filled the balls with 200 degree air, would that even be technically illegal?”
    ===
    I don’t think you could go that hot because the surface of the ball would be too hot to handle.

    There will probably be another rule next year saying you have to fill the balls with room temperature air.

  33. Always amusing watching someone trying to jam toothpaste back in the tube.

    Did I say bribe? I meant tip.

    He just used the superbowl ball scuffing service.

  34. The NFL’s new Bellichick rule –

    All teams use the identical balls and if they’re tampered with in any fashion they balls have a self destruct mechanism which blows red paint over your entire bench, and your team forfeits that game as a LOSS!

    You do not pass go, you do not collect $200, and you for certain don’t get to progress forward to a SB as a team.

    Cheaters need consequences, for without them they’ll continue their cheating ways!

    New England should not be the AFC representative in the SB if it’s proven they cheated to get there. This is common sense to anyone with an ounce of INTEGRITY!

  35. @smasonsmith,

    the Ideal Gas law only works if you use the temperature in degrees Kelvin.

    #Physics

    Patriots: you were going 55 in a 54,

    hate on haters.

  36. the Ideal Gas law only works if you use the temperature in degrees Kelvin.
    ==
    Or if you use a calculator that does unit conversions for you.

    Which I did. So pound sand.

  37. This whole thing is just crazy!!! Talk about a story taking a life of its own. People are hilarious. Let’s get a hobby

  38. EVERY QB has the football altered to the way they like it. Some have them scuffed up by brillo pads, some over-inflate, and some under-inflate.

    The QB on your team does not use an NFL football as it comes straight from the box — he has it affected to the way he likes it. That is a fact.

    Next question.

  39. commenter says:
    Jan 21, 2015 2:35 PM
    “Scuffing up a football is quiet different from altering it’s weight and size.”

    Thank you for broadcasting your ignorance by talking about the balls weight. The 2 lb difference is in air pressure, but since air doesn’t weigh anything (duh), this does not change the weight.

  40. ………And we played, no one complained.”

    ********************************************************

    This is it in a nutshell. Nobody complained, so we played. Aaron Rodgers has over inflated footballs submitted to the refs. Often times, they come back to the team with the air still in them. He likes that. They play. Nobody complains. No story.

    The Patriots beat the Ravens, and one of the things they did was run some plays with various unusual players and numbers as eligible and ineligible receivers. Jim Harbaugh (Harbawl) whines after the game because he lost, and he never loses a game straight up. He feels because his team was not coached up on this and struggled to figure it out, that it was somehow unfair, though perfectly legal. Belichick is lauded as a genius and Harbaugh is (perhaps somewhat unfairly) depicted as being outcoached, which bruises his ego. He’s told he needs to understand “the rules.” The following week one of his former assistants is coaching against Belichick and the Patriots, and during the week, maybe Pagano and Harbaugh talk about things Pagano might be able to use to defeat the Patriots, as we know Harbaugh would like nothing more. Harbaugh says “Hey, since we’re talking about knowing the rules, you might want to point out that some of the balls might be under inflated.” At the very least you can create the aura of wrongdoing and we know how the media will eat that up, post spygate. At halftime, the Colts think they are still in the game at 17-7, so Pagano starts the inquiry, which he later denies, because he knows that this is something that is loosely enforced and by being seen as launching a complaint it might make him look bad. The Pats take the backup footballs and blow the doors off the Colts, 28-0, with a monster 3rd quarter in response to the slight. After the game Indy slinks off and nobody wants to talk about ball pressure.

    The bottom line is that people only care because it is the Patriots, and it was only reported because coaches like Pagano and Harbaugh are tired of being portrayed as stooges in the media because they got out coached. There is some bitter jealousy in the coaching ranks. If this were the Jacksonville Jaguars nobody would care. Heck, it WAS the Green Bay Packers and nobody cared. Seattle beat Green Bay so they aren’t complaining. Had the COlts won they wouldn’t be complaining.

    Can you imagine if Green Bay won? We’d have vegas lines for wagers on whether the over inflated ball or the under inflated ball would score more points. I wish it WERE Green Bay because we could point out how ridiculous this is.

    It has not been said or proven that the balls were tampered with. They may simply have not been inspected. If they were submitted with low pressure and not inspected, the league has to bit the bullet and admit it, and then make a statement about what they will do from this point forward. They also need to admit this is not unique in the league, but perhaps now they will close that door. A good first step would be to hire full time officials. If they want to issue a fine for submitting under inflated balls, fine, but the league would have to take the brunt of this as not having followed the proper protocol. However, this would look duplicitous in light of the fact that Aaron Rodgers said he often does this and has never been confronted about it. I am sure others do it too. It seems like a very loosely enforced “rule.”

  41. I am AMAZED at the ignorance regarding this.

    Pretty much ALL teams “scuff up” the footballs they provide before a game. I remember reading an article about how meticulous Peyton Manning is about it, even participating in it to be sure they are to his liking.

    There is no rule against it, and it makes perfect sense.

    What Johnson and Gannon agreed to was simply that all the balls would be scuffed up and it benefited both (or not) equally.

    WHY IS THIS EVEN A STORY?

  42. A gentleman agreement between honorable players who had to handle throwing the ball. Something Belicheat and the NE ilk would know nothing about. Both sides benefited equally so no “real” foul. Unlike last weekend. While Luck was throwing slick new footballs in the rain, Brady was throwing a Nerf.

  43. Did everybody forget that game? Gruden knew the entire Raider playbook and the Bucs defense destroyed ’em. Brad Johnson had nothing to do with that victory.

  44. “annekayeantiques says: Jan 21, 2015 2:37 PM

    why would he admit this”

    because every qb has different preferences when it comes to the ball , and they all get the ball they like . aaron rodgers admitted he likes a over inflated ball , i hope that investigation doesn’t start anytime soon . this is a nothing story , every nfl insider is saying it without really coming right out and saying it .

  45. “Thank you for broadcasting your ignorance by talking about the balls weight. The 2 lb difference is in air pressure, but since air doesn’t weigh anything (duh), this does not change the weight.”
    ———-
    Um, you are dead wrong. Before you go calling someone ignorant, I suggest you at least have a clue as to what you are saying. Doofus. Typical low wattage voter on display.

  46. Thank you for broadcasting your ignorance by talking about the balls weight. The 2 lb difference is in air pressure, but since air doesn’t weigh anything (duh), this does not change the weight.
    ————-
    You are wrong. Air DOES have weight. What are you saying?

  47. @akboots
    You are technically correct… but bear in mind that the difference in “weight” of 2 lbs of compressed air would be undetectable.

  48. Frazier28/7 says: Jan 21, 2015 4:28 PM

    Did everybody forget that game? Gruden knew the entire Raider playbook and the Bucs defense destroyed ‘em. Brad Johnson had nothing to do with that victory.

    ************************
    Yeah, Gruden threw the TD passes, not Brad.
    SMDH….

  49. Both QBs in that game wanted the balls scuffed a little. No big deal.

    The Bucs didn’t need to cheat in that game. The Raiders just weren’t smart enough to change their playbook around, the Bucs practically knew everything they were going to do.

  50. Air has a mass of 1.29 kg per cubic meter. Converting to g/l is left as an exercise for the reader.

  51. The amount of tinkering ,to the very instrument of the game of football the, football itself , is going to be changed forever. This might very well change many of the leagues qb’s ability to handle and effectively throw the ball. This is a water shed moment in NFL history and the game will never be the same again.

  52. Personally, I think it’s stupid for the NFL to try to force players to play at a high level with a totally slick, brand new football.

    Inflation is one thing but those new, unscuffed balls are bad for football. Why not just douse the balls in Olive Oil before the game to make them slicker.

  53. Seems like a gentlemen’s agreement that most teams in the league have. Then the sore losers Colts go and cry about it cause they can’t win anything. Now they go and ruin it for everyone else.

  54. That’s pretty awesome if he paid $7500 bucks to a guy just to scuff footballs. A millionaire giving a good tip prior to the SB is better than him blowing them off.

  55. tony2308 says:
    Jan 21, 2015 5:48 PM
    Seems like a gentlemen’s agreement that most teams in the league have. Then the sore losers Colts go and cry about it cause they can’t win anything. Now they go and ruin it for everyone else.

    ——

    The Colts have won a Super Bowl more recently than the Pats. Not sure if that matters to you.

  56. The Colts have won a Super Bowl more recently than the Pats. Not sure if that matters to you.
    ===
    Was Andrew Luck even in college yet by then?

  57. Comparing this to a banana curve in hockey is dumb. getting caught with that will cost you 2 minutes.

    This is closer to 500cc driver in golf or a few extra hp in nascar. its against specifc rules. doesnt matter if you’re 10 strokes or laps ahead of the field. its a DQ.

  58. his is closer to 500cc driver in golf or a few extra hp in nascar. its against specifc rules. doesnt matter if you’re 10 strokes or laps ahead of the field. its a DQ.
    ===
    In golf, maybe, but NASCAR docks points and fines teams based on the severity of the infraction. This is a P1 on NASCAR’s scale.

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