Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has long wanted control over the footballs he throws, to the point where he was the driving force behind a rules change that allowed visiting teams to provide their own footballs, rather than having both teams use footballs provided by the home team.
In 2006, Brady and Peyton Manning successfully lobbied the league to let every team provide its own footballs to use on offense. Prior to that, it was always the home team that supplied the footballs, which meant that road team quarterbacks didn’t get to try the footballs out until pregame warmups.
Brady said at the time that he appreciated the opportunity to address the league’s Competition Committee and get a rule change that he felt would be advantageous to himself and other quarterbacks.
“The thing is, every quarterback likes it a little bit different,” Brady told the Sun-Sentinel at the time. “Some like them blown up a little bit more, some like them a little more thin, some like them a little more new, some like them really broken in.”
Brady’s comments come into new focus this week as the NFL investigates whether the Patriots deflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game, in violation of NFL rules. After Patriots coach Bill Belichick said today that he knows nothing about how balls are prepared prior to games, increased attention has turned to whether Brady was behind deflating the footballs.