Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese has a simple take on Deflategate: It never should have been an issue because the minimum air pressure in a football never should have been a rule.
Griese says it’s ridiculous that the NFL even has the rule that resulted in Patriots quarterback Tom Brady getting suspended because quarterbacks should simply be allowed to put however much air in the football they want.
“You know all this business about Deflategate and all that other stuff, what’s wrong with taking a little bit of air out of the ball and still making it legal?’’ Griese told Don Banks of Patriots.com. “It’s a passing league anyway. You want quarterbacks to be able to throw the ball in December when it gets colder and the ball gets slick, which it does, or in the rain when it gets slippery. Why not take a little air out of the ball? Lower the amount of air you can have in the ball, and if some quarterbacks like it harder, then you can pump it up a little. Change the degrees of error a little bit. It’s just a comfort level thing. The balls back when I played were a lot different than they are today, and I had small hands, so it was really a problem for me at times.’’
Griese’s view is quite a bit different from that of his old coach, Don Shula, who calls Bill Belichick “Beli-cheat” and who said in comparing his Dolphins to the Patriots, “Always done the right way. We didn’t deflate any balls.”
But while Shula may not agree, Griese raises an interesting point: Why is it in the NFL’s interests to force quarterbacks to use footballs that they think are too hard or too soft? If a quarterback thinks he’ll play better with a football that has a little more air or a little less air, the NFL should let him do so.