Brad Johnson paid a bribe to tamper with footballs at the Super Bowl

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Former Buccaneers quarterback Brad Johnson has admitted to paying a bribe to have the footballs tampered with before the 2003 Super Bowl.

Johnson, whose Buccaneers beat the Raiders at Super Bowl XXXVII, said he paid $7,500 to some people he did not identify so that they would scuff the balls set to be used in the Super Bowl, making them easier to grip. According to Johnson, there were 100 footballs set aside for the game, and the people he bribed tampered with all 100, to Johnson’s specifications.

I paid some guys off to get the balls right,” Johnson told the Tampa Bay Times. “I went and got all 100 footballs, and they took care of all of them.”

That’s a shocking admission — Johnson is confessing that he cheated to help his team win the Super Bowl, and that people who work for the NFL accepted a bribe to help one team cheat in the Super Bowl.

Jon Gruden, who coached the Buccaneers in that Super Bowl, said today on ESPN Radio that he was aware that Johnson was concerned about being able to grip the balls in that game, but Gruden did not say whether he was aware of Johnson breaking the rules to get an advantage.

Johnson’s comments will be big news this week, as the NFL investigates whether the Patriots violated NFL rules by tampering with the footballs in their AFC Championship Game win over the Colts. There is, however, one key difference: Johnson says he had all of the footballs tampered with, meaning that if the balls were easier for the Buccaneers to throw and catch, they were also easier for the Raiders to throw and catch. The Patriots are accused of deflating only the balls that they used on offense, giving them an edge over the Colts.

The NFL is already investigating whether the Patriots cheated. Now the NFL should broaden its investigation, find out who Johnson bribed, and make sure nothing like that ever happens again.

197 responses to “Brad Johnson paid a bribe to tamper with footballs at the Super Bowl

  1. Story drops just after state of the union. I swear the nfl has a reality TV team that just leaks stories to the media for extra attention through out the year. As they say any publicity is good publicity. Be it bad or good.

  2. Is this going to become another “Well, everyone is doing it” type thing? Why bother having rules at all then. Ugh.

  3. …what a dope to even admit something like that. Why? Is it because you NEED to SEE your name in the news Brad? Now other dopes will say…”Oh..thats why the Bucanneers won the Super Bowl” No, they won because they had a great defense and Calahan was also a dope & did’nt change his playbook that Gruden already knew.

  4. I assume they use new footballs for the Super Bowl.

    They should allow teams to play with these footballs for a day or two prior to the game to break them in, then weight/test them immediately before the game for proper inflation, etc.

  5. This is just great. If a low level scrub like Johnson has that kind of access I can only imagine what the superstars of the league can do.

  6. As a fan of the team which finished 2nd in that game, I really don’t care. Sounds more like Johnson is looking for attention.

  7. “The NFL is already investigating whether the Patriots cheated. ”

    No, that’s already been proven, twice. What needs to happen now is swift punishment. Suspending Bill from the Superbowl would suffice.

  8. This is story for teams coming from loser franchises that have nothing else to hang their hat on. If the NFL cared about this before, they should be in charge of the balls at the game site. The Vikings put them in ovens before the refs measure them, the packers like the over-inflated, the Giants like them like sand paper. The only reason this is a story is because people love to hate winners.

  9. Great for the NFL, all this controversy will mean viewership. People will tune in to see what the Patriots do next.

  10. We’re 2 more quarterback admissions away from “ruining” 13 out of the last 14 Super Bowls, hence this becoming a non issue… over to you Peyton and Ben

  11. I just wanna say I’m glad I go to PFT every morning. It makes my morning so much more interesting.

    But this…this is getting juicy. Even by PFT standards.

  12. “Now the NFL should broaden its investigation, find out who Johnson bribed, and make sure nothing like that ever happens again.”


    Isn’t that like closing the barn doors AFTER the horses have already run free?

  13. So, are we putting an asterisk next to the Bucs championship? Are Raiders fans going to bleat for the next decade plus about how they got screwed out of a championship in the same way they cry about the Tuck Rule?

  14. This is very simple to handle. The NFL needs to follow the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson precedent and immediately suspend the Patriots organization (at least 8 games) for damage to the integrity of the game. All members of the organization should be forced to go through training, counseling and pay a fine until they can be considered for reinstatement.

  15. Who cares? Like honestly, does it really give the opponent an edge?

    I think this is one of the most overblown stories in the history of the NFL

  16. I just lost a to not respect for Brad Johnson. I always liked his play and thought he was a stand up QB… So much for that.

  17. “meaning that if the balls were easier for the Buccaneers to throw and catch, they were also easier for the Raiders to throw and catch”

    Except the specs were specifically made for Johnson. Not everyone likes the ball the same way, just compare Brady (underinflated) to Rodgers (overinflated).

    Sounds like cheating to me.

  18. How can Johnson or anyone for that matter have sole access to Super Bowl balls that he can do whatever he wants with whenever he wants… That’s just crazy and incompetent of the NFL

  19. Are you kidding me? Did Johnson just come out and say this, at this time? What is he thinking? Why? The NFL might start to mess with the whole Tampa Bay SB win, you never know. Hey Brad is your life super boring or something, need some attention huh? Unbelievable.

  20. Bottom line: people in sports cheat. If you really want your kids not to learn the wrong lessons, maybe you should raise them to not like sports.

  21. Why on Earth would he come out now and say this?
    What does it benefit Brad Johnson to come out & publicly say this? I’m wondering why he feels this will be good to do….Must be a reason….

  22. Snow plow guy, spy gate and now this. You could day the Pats have a long history of cheating.

  23. There was once a time where I didn’t have to be paranoid over inflation standards for footballs.

    Those days are gone.

  24. This is the same Super Bowl where the Raiders claimed Gruden knew all their plays, and Tim Brown accused the Raiders OC of purposely tanking the game.

    Thanks for taking the heat off the Pats for about 15 minutes, Brad.

  25. cbirish says:
    Jan 21, 2015 9:23 AM

    We’re 2 more quarterback admissions away from “ruining” 13 out of the last 14 Super Bowls, hence this becoming a non issue… over to you Peyton and Ben

    well Peyton wouldn’t have got there if the Colts didn’t pump fake crowd noise into their stadium while teams were trying to run plays, also turning up the locker room heat to unacceptable levels during games.

    Ben is a felon and should have been in jail.

    I think that covers it!

  26. “Johnson says he had all of the footballs tampered with, meaning that if the balls were easier for the Buccaneers to throw and catch, they were also easier for the Raiders to throw and catch.”

    Rich Gannon, Oakland QB, threw 5, FIVE!, interceptions.

    Yeah, the ball was perfect for him.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2003 Champ (*)

    And remember that it was an equipment staff member of the Colts who “found” the deflated football. And that the Colts head coach lied. And an Indy reporter made the story public. Lots of potential haters here.

  27. The NFL is the biggest and longest running soap opera ever! I don’t need daytime television! I got the NFL. My team is out of it (and likely out of it next year) so I say bring on all the controversy possible. My last hope for this is a way to get a tie in the SB. Can’t stand either team.

  28. I thought the tv show “The Shield” was inspired by corruption in the LAPD. Guess it was actually corruption in the NFL.

  29. The NFL needs to start playing games on weekday afternoons, when the soaps are on. A natural fit!

    “Today’s game is brought to you by DUZ. When you want to white wash something, reach for DUZ! In the NFL, everyone DUZ it!”

  30. They could be playing with overcooked cucumbers for all I care, its not enough to overcome the “the other coach knows my offense and I dont care” factor…

  31. This misdirection is brought to you by the NFL, courtesy of the Patriots….one man cheating VS an organization cheating…’ll need to do better.

  32. i guess the question is how are all these people handling the balls….. EASY BUTTON!

    Guess the refs have to check the balls… like in high school?


  33. I’m a Raiders fan but after the huge defeat Oakland had in this game i cant moan about this.

    What lost this game was the Raiders stupidly not changing their offensive game signals, Gannon threw something like 12 ints all year, in this game 5 ints. Obvious what the issue was not ‘soft balls’

    But something should be done about this as at some point it will affect a game

  34. The Patriots are idiots. I’m not going to argue that. But how can any adult who takes himself seriously really pretend to care about this? Playing around with the footballs feels much more like gamesmanship than “cheating” to me, and the idea of investigating someone playing around with the footballs over a decade ago is incredibly silly.

  35. I kind of like these sorts of shenanigans. It reminds me of a lesser version of Jason Grimsley crawling through the ventilation ducting at Comiskey Park to retrieve Albert Belle’s corked bat from the umpire’s lockup.

  36. “Now the NFL should broaden its investigation, find out who Johnson bribed, and make sure nothing like that ever happens again.”

    Or we could all start acting like grown-ups and recognize that this sort of thing goes on all the time and you’ll never, ever be able to stop it.

  37. Scuffing, roughing up or breaking in the balls isn’t illegal though, is it?

    I’ve always heard that teams routinely “prep” the balls in a way that their QB and/or kicker prefers- the issue with the Patriots is that they changed the inflation of the ball, which is actually regulated by the league.

    I believe there’s an important distinction there.

  38. sapp mentioned this on nfl network last wk. but he didn’t say it was the SB. at the same time he said aaron rodgers likes over-inflated footballs.

  39. Bostick says now that the onside kick ball in Seattle felt underinflated which is why he was unable to handle it. The mystery continues……

  40. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

    Underinflating footballs: cheating
    Overinflating footballs: gamesmanship

    Paying someone to scuff up footballs: cheating
    Scuffing up footballs yourself on sideline: gamesmanship

    Running sprinklers on field all night: cheating
    Forgetting to cover field so it becomes a swamp: gamesmanship

    Using drugs to improve your abilities: cheating
    Using deer antler spray or non-FDA approved stem cell procedures to recover from injuries faster: gamesmanship

    Bribing refs: cheating
    Partying with refs on your private bus: gamesmanship

    Using legal formations opposing coach doesn’t understand: cheating
    Using illegal formations that refs don’t spot: gamesmanship

    Using an underinflated ball for kicks: cheating
    Gouging opposing QB’s eyes when refs aren’t watching: gamesmanship

    Being vague on an injury report if you are the Patriots: cheating
    Being vague on an injury report if you are anyone else: gamesmanship

    Stealing signals with a videocamera: cheating
    Stealing signals with binoculars and a parabolic sideline dish: gamesmanship

    Violating an imaginary salary cap during an uncapped year: cheating
    Violating an actual salary cap but winning the Super Bowl that way: gamesmanship

    Hitting opponents in the head for money: cheating
    Hitting opponents in the head for free: gamesmanship

    Ignoring concussion protocol so key player stays in game: cheating
    Pretending you didn’t just see your QB get hit in the head and instead checking his neck or hand so key player stays in game: gamesmanship


  41. This story is absurd. No one with the capacity to think rationally thinks under-inflated footballs had anything to do with that game last weekend. LMAO!! The underinflated ball somehow made the Colts defense swiss cheese, their receivers below average, and their running game non-existent. Oh, wait. They’ve done that against every good team this year other than tanking Denver.

    Those balls really helped big Brad in the SB. If I remember correctly, he didn’t do anything and Tampa defense had a couple pick-6s.

    This is merely a distraction people. Wake up. This keeps everyone from talking about the real issues, which is that NFL officiating is embarrassingly incompetent and has had a direct outcome on multiple playoff games.

    Also a good cover while they build their fortress around Phoenix stadium and take over the city for 10 days.

  42. Now the NFL should broaden its investigation, find out who Johnson bribed, and make sure nothing like that ever happens again.

    Strike the Tampa Bay win from the record books.

  43. It’s clear to me that there should be more discussion on how the physics of the football can differ based on player preference. But as a Bucs fan, I’m blown away by this admission.

    I’m personally in favor of allowing QBs to play with balls that are more suited to their preferences (within reason of course). It’s clear the Pats are guilty of deflating the footballs, that much is clear. What is not clear is if this particular charge is really all that damning. I’m of the opinion that had Spygate never happened, this would be a non-issue. In the case of Belichick, context is king.

    For those that argue that the Pats should be taken out of the Super Bowl for this transgression, or for that matter who state that Tampa should vacate their championship, just stop.

    This isn’t college athletics. The nature of “cheating” is not so rampant that it really affects the outcomes of professional games to such a great degree. By comparison, paying college players on the side would be closer akin to a pro team setting up a guy’s contract so his cap hit is the veteran minimum but then paying him millions off the books. In that scenario, a team could sign anyone!

    Belichick, and the Pats by extension, have made it clear that they are willing to massage the boundaries of the rules in order to gain an advantage. Belichick’s ideals are similar to NASCAR – “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying”. This is not to say that everyone in NASCAR cheats, but it speaks to the truths that if you want to win, you’ll look for every avenue that could give you an up on your opponent. When Derek Jeter does this, it’s called gamesmanship.

    I applaud Johnson’s admission, even if the timing is regrettable. He is a standup guy, and I would bet that he honestly doesn’t feel like it’s a big deal. The balls were scuffed, yes, but he still had to throw them, his receivers still had to catch them, and his defense still had to stop the other team from doing the same thing.

    The Pats beat the Colts. As much as it pains me to say it, they won. Now we get to watch two of the games’ best go at it. It will be a great Super Bowl. And sadly, at much as it hurts, I’d rather see Belichick pull it off. I can’t handle Pete Carroll having multiple titles. I’ll never hear the end of it from my boss.

  44. -Tuck Rule

    Just the ones we know about. Imagine what’s lying under the rug.

    Quick question, how come no one regarded Bill Belicheck as “one of the greats” during his 5 seasons as Head Coach with the Cleveland Browns? (36-44 record)

  45. I’m a die hard Raider fan and this isn’t the same situation, at least as it’s presented. Presumably the 100 footballs were altered prior to their being checked 2 hrs before game time. So all the footballs would have passed the ref’s inspection and would’ve been the same for booth sides. The Pats situation appears as though the alteration (deflating) was done post-inspection and to only their footballs.
    I have no problem with what Brad Johnson is claiming. However, I think if the Pats purposely deflated their footballs there should be strict punishment – e.g. loss of all 2015 draft picks, Belichick and all others involved suspended 1 year. This is worse than bounty-gate of which there is no proof that it gave the Saints an appreciable advantage.

  46. I know this sounds loony but if the that NFL official accepted a bribe then it’s not far from reason to think another one or ones did this past weekend. How else could you explain none of the refs noticing during the game that the balls were that deflated? Did Irsay bribe someone to frame the Pats?

  47. Here’s how to fix this

    1) NFL distributes new balls for practice every week

    2) NFL collects these balls on Friday

    3) NFL inflates balls to “standard” pressure (presumably these balls have been “scuffed” during practices) and inspects every ball for flaws.

    4) NFL distributes balls during games. Teams not permitted to have any inflating/deflating equipment on sidelines.

  48. So, $7500 for 100 balls?? That’s $75 per ball, not much money. Also, that’s a weird amount. Why not an even $8K? How did they arrive at that amount?

  49. Just the fact that each team is responsible for supplying the balls that only they will use is an open invitation for this kind of thing, doncha think?

  50. IT DOES MATTER!!!! So Patsy’s ran the ball on the Colts, but when they needed to throw they had an advantage. Maybe some of those throws get away from Tom Shady and Colts get the ball and some momentum. BellaChick has been cheating since he was with the Giants. Ask him how the old Meadowland gate doors opened and closed, depending who was kicking the field goal, causing the infamous winds to unleashed or tamed. NFL is starting to look like WWE, the fix is in.

  51. Some things are best to leave in the closet. Brad’s bed just became significantly less comfortable. OR, perhaps, the NFL is getting a head start on deflategate…

  52. If the psi in the ball is such a critical element to the game, then why are teams allowed to handle them at all? Why doesn’t the league merely add one more staffer to each site and place them in charge of the footballs? My guess is that it’s two things – money, but just as importantly, there simply isn’t enough of a competitive advantage that could be gained from doctoring the balls to such a minimal degree that the game officials couldn’t tell the difference when they handle the ball on each freaking play!

  53. Question: was this actually “cheating”, as in “breaking explicit rules”, or was this something not specifically restricted and perhaps even somewhat common practice?

    Also, to “loyalraven” above, dang son, you’re an idiot. You’re putting the “tuck rule” in with those other two things? WTH does a stupid NFL rule that was properly interpreted in the favor of the Patriots have to do with cheating? Fool.

  54. First 6 years of Bill Belicheck’s career as a Head Coach: 41-55
    After Tom Brady’s arrival: 170 – 54

    without Tom Brady there would have been no “legacy”

    Bill Belicheck is overrated and he’s even been caught cheating – in the Super Bowl. Enough said.

  55. “That’s a shocking admission — Johnson is confessing that he cheated to help his team win the Super Bowl, and that people who work for the NFL accepted a bribe to help one team cheat in the Super Bowl.”

    Not a Bucs fan, but how can you “cheat” when both teams are using the same balls? It’s not like only the Bucs had the scuffed footballs to use. It was the same in the Patriots game – both teams used the same footballs.

    I am not saying it was appropriate at all that Johnson paid guys to scuff up footballs to help him gain what he thought would help him win. That is complicit behavior, and it is absolutely not OK. Admitting he did what he did is pretty “ballsy”.

    Let’s see how the league handles it.

  56. “Now the NFL should broaden its investigation, find out who Johnson bribed, and make sure nothing like that ever happens again.”


    Isn’t that like closing the barn doors AFTER the horses have already run free?

    Those horses ran free.. one of them passed away… its name was “fail mary” and the GB fans are still beating on it.

  57. At the end of the day, it comes down to the fact that the Patriots tried to cheat by giving Brady under inflated balls.

    Whether it affected the game or not or whether another team has done this before is completely irrelevant.

    They got caught trying, time to pay the piper.

  58. Former players also came out after Bountygate erupted to say that they had been on teams where pay-for-performance or “bounty” systems had been run on their teams too, but the NFL stuck its fingers in its ears and said “Nope nope nope we found our scapegoat not listening.” All of these big scandals are ones that undoubtedly involve other teams too, but you can’t punish everyone. You can make an example of someone, though. I just wonder if once again the Patriots, if guilty, will get off rather easily considering Roger Goodell’s relationship with Robert Kraft. He was just at Kraft’s AFCCG pre-party this past weekend.

  59. As an unwavering Raiders fan from the late 70’s, I honestly say this stunning admission, while disturbing, had nothing to do with the Bucs being the better team that game. What most people forget is that Barret Robbins lost his mind that week, and was AWOL, which completely changed up the Raiders protections. Not saying Tampa didn’t have a great defense, but I truly believe they might have had a more difficult time forcing 5 picks had it been Robbins in there calling protections instead of Adam Treu.

    That said, this scandal, that game and the tuck rule are completely different issues. There is a clear pic of Brady with both hands on the ball before Woodson’s arm comes down. At that point, the “tuck” was over, and if nothing else, it falls under the category of called a fumble on the field, not enough evidence to overturn. Either way, the NFL had their plan for the Patriots to win after 9/11, and carried out their little scenario. Does it still sting, yes, it does as a fan of the team and one who thought there was integrity in the NFL. I have now become a bitter old guy that realizes there is no integrity whenever big money is involved.. Does anyone truly believe that when there is that much money involved, the people who control that money are willing to just leave everything to chance?

  60. I recall Brad Johnson saying the same thing about the footballs a few years ago before the Bucs championship game reunion, I think in 2010 or 2011. Teams do this all the time but because the Patriots did it, suddenly it becomes a huge story.

    Both the Bucs and Pats were the better teams and blew out the Raiders and Colts. It’s over, let it go and let’s get on with the game. Everyone knew the Colts were in over their head, a deflated ball didn’t make any difference.

  61. I just think that if the NFL was really serious about cheating, they would tell the Pats that they were forfeiting the last game, and that Indianapolis would be the AFC’s representative in the Super Bowl. The NFL would never do that for one huge reason: viewership. Fewer people would watch in the first place, and after the first quarter when Seattle was already blowing out the Colts, probably half of the viewers would stop watching.

  62. Wow, Brad Johnson wants to come clean about being a cheater so he can highlight how a team might want to modify the footballs… wow… the only thing I got from this is that BJ is a cheater.

  63. This was just the start to the cheating that occurred in that game. Raiders never stood a chance.

    The NFL is being exposed. The mere fact NFL employees are identified as accepting bribes should be evidence enough that MUCH more is going on.

    Also, Brad Johnson is an idiot for coming out and saying this

  64. As a Patriots fan, this is extremely upsetting. I finally understand what my parents meant by saying they weren’t mad, they were disappointing. If the allegations are proved true, I will have a difficult time getting revved up for the SB and enjoying a possible victory.

  65. Better read the original article in the Tampa Bay Times again. Johnson made this admission years ago. The Times was just bringing it up again.

  66. Brad Johnson didn’t win the Super Bowl, the Bucs Defense scoring 21 points did.

    The Buccaneer defense scored as many points as the Raiders entire team did.

    Gramatica’s pair of fieldgoals and a TD run by Alstott iced that game.

    However, it could be argued that Gannon uncharacteristically threw 5 interceptions due to the ball, so yeah, there’s that. I’d love to see what he has to say on the issue.

  67. Indy supplied their own balls… I’m sure they were to Lucks liking like every other QB. The Patriots have nothing to do with those. The whole point of the rule is to allow each QB to have the ball prepped the way they like. Otherwise they would just play with new footballs provided by the officials like every other sport.

  68. Couple things worth mentioning here before (too late) everyone freaks out…

    1) Brad Johnson said this years ago…and he said it, because it’s not a big deal, because:

    2) The whole reason the NFL gives the teams 12 footballs to prepare is BECAUSE no team wants to play with slick footballs fresh out of the box. Every NFL team scuffs their footballs. It sounds like in this case, the NFL did not give the teams 12 footballs to prepare for their offense, probably because of some money-grab promotional bullspit they use Super Bowl balls for.

    3) Both teams used the balls…I’m sure Rich Gannon appreciated the gesture…and It’s worth mentioning that Gannon didn’t throw 5 interceptions that night because he was throwing the ball inaccurately, but instead because he apparently could not see Bucs defenders breaking in front of his receivers…which was the case on all 5 INTs.

  69. The hatred and disdain by NE for the TMZ media atmoshpere at the SB will be unprecedented. The run up to the game will only foster and build the rage. The fuse has been lit and will culminate in an explosion of epic porportions.

    You’ve got one pissed off team on your hands Seattle. Run for cover. The league office has officially doomed you. If they suspend BB before the game, dear God I will pray for your souls and safety.

  70. Since when is scuffing balls the same as intentionally deflating footballs by 20%?

    Again, just more scapegoats to deflate (pun intended) the actions the Pats deliberately chose to do that are clearly against the rules.

  71. bwisnasky:

    Great post, I hear you loud and clear.

    PS: I also go back to the late 70’s with the Raiders. We’ve seen bad times before and we’ve seen the good times too.

    Good times are just ahead. 🙂

  72. People seem to think that ultimately not needing to cheat condones cheating. It does not. Outcome is irrelevant. It does not matter if Johnson was the “reason” why the Bucs won. It does not matter if the Pats “needed” to cheat on Sunday. All that matters is that they cheated. Get it through your heads.

  73. that’s not the only controversy that surrounds this game (Super Bowl XXXVII)-Bill Callahan (the Raiders coach) who was despised by the players on the team-was accused by Tim Brown and Jerry Rice of changing the game plan almost right before the game to help Bucs coach Gruden and to spite the Raider organization (that he hated)—Callahan denied it and Brown later stated he had no proof but this “cloud” remained over this game for years

  74. Superbowl matchup:
    Pete Carroll cheated at USC (Reggie Bush) vrs. Bill Belacheat.

    What message do these guys send to all the kids playing the game?

  75. Seems pretty obvious that the Refs in the Patriots game didn’t get their “compensation” & only addressed it because they needed to make it clear to all organizations that the only way to get away with cheating is if the refs get PAID first!!

  76. Nobody involved with the Patriots would do anything to those footballs without Mr. Tom Brady knowing about it. They wouldn’t know whether to over inflate or under inflate the balls without knowing what Brady favored. Did Brady pull a Brad Johnson and pay people to manipulate the footballs? We’ll find out eventually, there’s too many people involved for everyone to keep there mouth shut. There’s always a rat.

  77. The NFL is just a reality TV show. I started believing just a couple weeks ago when the Lions got so blatantly screwed. The NFL used to do a good job of hiding it but now its just out in plain view. That is why I have decided not to spend another dime in merchandise and attendance at the stadiums. What a effing joke this league is right now.

  78. i’m glad he came out and made this statement, it must clear his conscience to put it on the political correct side.

    I would like to know how the Equipment Manager ensures Aaron Rodgers footballs are ‘max’ or overinflated. Then I would also like to know all the NFL teams and the ‘inflation’ practices AFTER the officials check.

    WHOEVER dreamed up this rule KNEW Quarterbacks still have preferences… WHY ? because they give the balls immediately back after checking and two hours YET.. before game time… COME ON MAN

  79. The biggest advantage Gruden had in that SB was that he had coached the Raiders the year before and knew them inside and out. No biggie, just sayin’….

  80. What Johnson admitted to doing affected all players equally.
    What the Patriots are accused of doing only affected the Patriot offense. There is a difference. ALL players were able to grip the ball better in 02. Only the Patriots were gripping the deflated balls in 15.

  81. Why not just either 1) remove teams from being responsible for their own balls, and let the league control the footballs at all times during games; or 2) remove all these rules. It seems there is no agreement whether a ball that is more or less inflated is better. So why not just let teams choose what they want

    [all of that is no excuse for Brad Johnson, or the Patriots, or anyone else. Even if a rule is stupid, if it is there, you have to comply with it]

  82. Seems pretty obvious that the Refs in the Patriots game didn’t get their “compensation” & only addressed it because they needed to make it clear to all organizations that the only way to get away with cheating is if the refs get PAID first!!

    It also raises the question about how frequently & for how long the New England balls have been tampered with? Just because it was addressed this time doesn’t mean officials ignored it on countless other games!!!

    The very least NFL response should include suspending Brady from the Super Bowl & 3 more games next season (4 games total), because there is absolutely no doubt he knew about the ball changes & almost certainly made it happen…CHEATERS!!!

  83. really? he didn’t have to do it, the Raiders were beaten real bad in that Super Bowl by themselves. the only reason I found is that this guy was horrible, so maybe like insurance policy.

  84. It looks like the Oakland Raiders just got their fourth Super Bowl win.

    If Goodell wants to stop the cheating, he needs to reverse the SBXXXVII result and give that Lombardi trophy to the Raiders. Otherwise, this garbage is going to keep on happening. That kind of punishment is the only thing that will put an end to this once and for all.

  85. Scuffing the balls should have prevented Rich Gannon from throwing what, 8 interceptions that game?

  86. We will get to the point when it will turn out that almost every team uses deflated footballs…maybe next year passing yards & QB ratings will be lower as the NFL now pays more attention to it

  87. fwippel says:
    Jan 21, 2015 11:13 AM
    It looks like the Oakland Raiders just got their fourth Super Bowl win.

    If Goodell wants to stop the cheating, he needs to reverse the SBXXXVII result and give that Lombardi trophy to the Raiders. Otherwise, this garbage is going to keep on happening. That kind of punishment is the only thing that will put an end to this once and for all.


    Now that’s funny!

  88. I referee in a local recreational football league. Teams bring their own balls, sometimes we see rubber or odd-sized balls and we show both teams and they say,” yeah, whatever”, and we just play ball.

    If you want the league to supply common greasy new balls to both teams, prepare to see a lot of errant throws and dropped passes.

    1-2 PSI? Please, pick up a football at your local sporting goods store and tell me how much difference it makes and how much it changes the game. What next, golfers all use the same clubs, players all wear the same gloves?

    Be honest, if the Pats lost, no one would really care.

    Haters are gonna hate and fill their minds with crazy conspiracy theories, meanwhile, Brady is going to win his fourth of six superbowls and go down in history as the greatest QB of all time.

  89. Rule 2. Article 1. – 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.

    So I would like to know again why this is the Patriots fault?

  90. It’s different. He says he paid a guy to “scuff up” the footballs, i.e. break them in, get some of that “worn” feel to them. But he didn’t have the footballs underinflated.

  91. If Brad Johnson can do this during the super bowl, just imagine what other qbs are doing to get the upper hand.

  92. The Raiders must have scuffed up their balls, too, because the Bucs had no trouble hanging on to Gannon’s passes.

  93. I find this more troublesome than what the Pats are being accused of here. It is not so much what he had done to the balls; it’s that he felt it was necessary to pay someone to alter the game balls prior to the he biggest game of the year. Also, he seems oblivious to how this would be viewed as wrong. If Brad Johnson actually paid someone to affect the game, who’s to say that people with more money don’t routinely buy other types of advantage. Inexplicable rulings and missed calls of blatant violations now have a legitimate fear of being bought and paid for. Throw in the fact that league officials are now directly involved in game altering decisions via replay and it isn’t that much of a stretch to wonder if outcomes are nudged towards whatever team makes the league the most money moving forward.

  94. I think this whole thing is getting way overblown. We’re not talking about stealing another teams playbook or infiltrating team meetings or greasing game balls up to make them harder to grip or anything like that we’re talking about QBs liking the ball a certain way which I personally don’t understand what’s wrong with that or why it’s seen as giving themselves an “unfair advantage”. Players are allowed to play without wearing hip pads and knee pads because they run faster and move better without em couldn’t that be called an unfair advantage as well? And what if a QB handles the ball better when it’s inflated to NFL specifications and not broken in in any way? Would you say the NFL is causing an unfair advantage for that QB? Unless there’s legitimate research to really show that these things make a big difference I don’t see why this is even a controversy. Why not let each QB do what he wants to the ball within reason to get it the way he likes it?

  95. In MLB, they let new balls be roughed up by a pitcher after the ump throws it to the mound during a game. They just can’t use any foreign substances or tools on them.

  96. 2020 Hall Of Fame Ballot…
    Tom Brady*
    Bill Belicheat****

    …public perception of these two is now offcially set and I’m lovin’ every minute of it as Ive been wanting payback for the Tuck Rule since that Saturday night of December 2002.

    Sorry Pats fan. The truth hurts and karma is a…

    “Tainted lloooveee whooaaaa tainted looove!”

  97. This isn’t new. And the fans and the media’s “holier than thou” shock is amazing. Has anyone ever heard of Gaylord Perry. What a joke.

  98. Belichick obviously put him up to it. He was a great big cheaterpants, even back then.

    Belichick also cheated to get the Pats cheaper airline tickets from city to city, and cheated to save his players 15% on car insurance.

    I also think he might have framed Roger Rabbit.

  99. All of these stories just show you how ridiculous this whole thing is. If it’s not the air in the ball, it’s stickum on the hands or I dunno a boatload of PED’s which nobody talks about

  100. If Mr. Johnson is being truthful, then he orchestrated through his cheating, a false victory.

    I have no problem with the tile being vacated and the player’s winning amounts being returned. What a low life.

    His parents, wife, and kids must be so proud. Change the name on his jersey to Cheater.

  101. As a Vikings fan, I have loads of respect for both Brad Johnson and Rich Gannon.

    Whilst both teams would have used the same balls, it may have been that Gannon might not have had the same issue gripping the ball that Johnson had, meaning that by having the balls scuffed, the Buccaneers gained a competitive advantage.

    Without the scuffed balls, then Gannon might have had the same success, whereas Johnson might have thrown poorly or even fumbled.

    Saying all this… how on Earth can tampering be done on game balls when they are constantly being handled by officials, who should be able to notice when a ball isn’t fit for purpose during the game!

  102. Right. Because no one would ever again take a bribe after the NFL punishes these guys 10 years after the fact.

    For the right amount of money anyone and everyone’s integrity is for sale and don’t let anyone try to tell you differently.

  103. @ewitkowski ..
    Yeah, he was SO bad, he was a Super Bowl winning QB. How horrible.

    You WISH you had his athletic ability (which included being a very good baseball and basketball player too.)

  104. I’m thinking that after everyone is caught and punished they should do away with the rule – or lighten it up a LOT.

    As long as an offense is using a regulation football, they should be allowed to inflate/deflate it however they like. As long as both sides have that option, it’s still fair, and it’s one less regulation for the NFL to have to deal with (or fail to deal with as the case may be).

  105. I’m not a Pats fan, but why is it always Tom Brady’s fault for the Raiders downfall. I guess it is never Al Davis’ fault for trading Jon Gruden. Had Al not traded Gruden, they would have won 3 more Super Bowls by now.

  106. I don’t know. I think the fact the Raiders were using the EXACT same Gruden’s playbook hurt them in that game far more than “scuffed” balls. The Bucs knew all the plays!

    And I dont blame the Bucs for that. That’s not cheating. That’s the Raiders fault.

    Not to mention Barrett Robbins little psychological breakdown where he went AWOL before the game.

  107. Anybody ever been to Cooperstown and looked at the plaques for Whitey Ford, Gaylord Perry, or George Brett. Just wondered if they used the words cheat, cheated, or cheater. Sure do pull out those words when it’s about the New England Patriots. It’s sports – not the ordaining of a priest or pastor. Everybody – yes everybody – tries to find or create an edge. It’s just a football folks. Not placing a bounty on an opposing player to be seriously injured – or stepping on a quarterback’s injured calf. It’s also not pumping in recorded crowd noise to be played when the visiting team is on offense. It’s not opening doors at one end of the stadium so the wind is against the opposing kicker. It’s not jamming the visiting teams sideline radio signal. It’s just a football that even officials couldn’t tell the difference when 2 of them handled them on every play. It’s professional sports – not something as morally incorruptible as how we elect our leaders.

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