Former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake can’t figure out what the big deal is with Deflategate.
Blake spent time with seven different teams, and he says he always instructed ball boys to take air out of footballs to improve his grip.
“I’m just going to let the cat of the bag, every team does it, every game, it has been since I played,” Blake said on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, via NJ.com. “Cause when you take the balls out of the bag, they are rock hard. And you can’t feel the ball as well. It’s too hard. Everybody puts the pin in and takes just enough air out of the ball that you can feel it a little better. But it’s not the point to where it’s flat. So I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s not something that’s not been done for 20 years.”
Blake said his pre-game ritual always included checking footballs and taking some air out if they were too hard to grip.
“Well, I would say [to a ball boy], ‘Take a little bit of air out of it. It’s a little bit hard,'” Blake said. “And then he’d take a little bit out and I’d squeeze it and I’d be like, ‘OK, it’s perfect.’ That’s it.”
With the Patriots now facing scrutiny for using under-inflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game, Blake is wondering why this is suddenly an issue.
“I guess it wasn’t a big deal back then, but it is now,” he said.
It’s a very big deal in the media. It may not be a big deal to NFL players, some of whom say deflating footballs is just part of the business.