Former NFL quarterback A.J. Feeley says the Patriots were breaking the rules about properly preparing footballs long before Deflategate.
Feeley said on 97.5 The Fanatic that when he was playing for the Dolphins in 2004, he saw Patriots quarterback Tom Brady using old, broken-in balls at a time when NFL rules said that teams had to use new balls provided by the league.
“Prior to Tommy and Peyton Manning going to the league and saying, ‘Let us doctor our balls’ we used to all play with the same balls,” Feeley said. “Somehow this beat-up ball from the ball boy was getting thrown in on offense for New England, yet when we were on offense this orange brand new ball was getting thrown in.”
Feeley says Brady was getting an advantage, and Feeley had a problem with it.
“He’s getting his own balls thrown in on offense,” Feeley said. “That was an issue to me at the time. . . . We saw it then.”
If the Patriots were cheating to gain an advantage over the Dolphins in 2004, it’s odd that no one said anything about it until 2015. Maybe no one said anything because they didn’t think it was a big deal. This week the NFL showed that it thinks tampering with the footballs is a very big deal.