The week began with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady laughing off the suggestion that the team had deflated footballs used on Sunday against the Colts. When Brady, who said in 2011 that he likes deflated footballs, meets with the media on Friday, he probably won’t be doing much laughing.
He’ll be reacting to a bunch of questions about the situation, and he may specifically be faced with a pointed question regarding the opinions of Hall of Fame coach John Madden.
“That would have to be driven by the quarterback,” Madden told The Sports Xchange on Wednesday. “That’s something that wouldn’t be driven by a coach or just the equipment guy. Nobody, not even the head coach, would do anything to a football unilaterally, such as adjust the amount of pressure in a ball, without the quarterback not knowing. It would have to be the quarterback’s idea.”
Madden’s position makes a lot of sense. Quarterbacks are particular about their footballs. Anybody doing anything to the footballs without the quarterback’s knowledge or consent would be asking for a tongue lashing. In Brady’s case, his tongue wouldn’t be needed to formulate the various “F” words that would be hurled at he who messes with the quarterback’s primary tool.
“He is the effected,” Madden said. “He is the only guy. I heard some of the pundits saying the ball is easier to catch, but that would never, ever, ever be done for that unless the quarterback wanted it. You wouldn’t do something for a receiver to catch the ball if the quarterback couldn’t throw it. So it’s going to be done for the quarterback.”
Madden’s compelling, commonsensical take will make the potential conclusion that a ball boy went rogue ring hollow. The ball boy would be going rogue not only against the rules but also against the wishes of the quarterback. So if anyone connected to the Patriots was taking air out of the footballs, Madden’s explanation makes it clear that the quarterback either knew about it and did nothing to stop it — or deliberately requested it.
Now here’s the part where hundreds of Patriots and Raiders fans argue in the comments regarding whether Madden’s remarks were motivated by the tuck rule.