Aikman: “I can’t imagine that Tom Brady did not know…my guess is that it was his request.”
Glazer: Colts Were Tipped Off By Baltimore Ravens
Reports continue to surface that the New England Patriots tampered with the air pressure of the footballs used in last Sunday’s 45-7 AFC Championship Game victory over the Indianapolis Colts. To address the various aspects of the controversy, FOX Sports NFL contributors Mike Pereira, Troy Aikman and Jay Glazer joined host Mike Hill on FOX Sports 1’s AMERICA’S PREGAME, Wednesday evening.
Former National Football League Vice President of Officiating and current NFL on FOX rules analyst Mike Pereira reviews the pregame protocols and says taking air out of the balls is by definition cheating: “Each game, 36 balls are brought into the officials’ locker room. Twelve from each team and then the home team provides 12 backup balls, if needed. The referee has a pump and a needle and with the help of the kicking ball coordinator, he checks them and if they’re between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch, he marks them and they’re good to go. They leave the locker room before the game and go into the hands of the ball boys, and the extra balls are put at the replay monitor where there is a guard standing by that monitor. Well, somebody got to somebody and took a couple of pounds out of those balls. It’s an extension, to me, of the cheating that has gone on in the league. This is cheating and this is something that the league doesn’t want. It’s bad enough that rules get taken advantage of and you kind of work against the intent of the rule, but this is cheating and it’s something that the league will deal with harshly.”
Lead NFL on FOX game analyst and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman doubts any changes could have been made to the balls without Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s approval: “I can’t imagine anyone doing anything to the footballs without the quarterback having knowledge of it. I know, based on my experience, how much effort went in to trying to get the balls game ready. Having them still fall within the guidelines of the NFL rules was challenging and there is no way that anyone would have done anything with the game balls without discussing it with me first. I can’t imagine that Tom Brady did not know that air had been taken out of the balls and my guess is that it was his request, it was the way he preferred to throw with them and that’s why it was done.”
NFL on FOX insider Jay Glazer details how the Colts were tipped off to New England’s use of this tactic and a perceived double standard when it comes to the NFL’s punishment of the Patriots: “The Indianapolis Colts were tipped off to this before the game ever even happened. Whether or not it was from the last time they had played New England or what I was told, that it was actually people from inside the Baltimore Ravens. The league was already tipped off, so they were already planning at halftime to inspect the balls. When they did, they found that many of them were deflated, but then they were inflated for the second half of the game. But that’s not the issue, the issue really is intent and how often the New England Patriots push the envelope and that is what the league has to now look at. It’s not whether or not it affected the game; it’s the fact of whether they intended to alter the rules for this playoff game. I will tell you this, down here at the Senior Bowl, it has been unanimous among owners, general managers and head coaches I talk to and they’re saying, ‘We’re sick of it, they always push the envelope. The league throws the book at us all the time, are they finally going to throw the book at the New England Patriots?’ I think what is going to happen now, you’re going to start having different teams trying to leak out anything they know, because a lot of people in the league look at it like, ‘There’s a double standard: We get in trouble, they don’t get in trouble.’”
Aikman discusses the Patriots history as repeat offenders and anticipates a significant punishment from the NFL: “It’s going to be a tough one for Roger Goodell to address. This is a team that has been caught cheating in the past and with past transgressions, the severity of whatever is handed down has to increase to some degree. To what extent that means, is it draft picks, is it fines, I don’t know. But it will be interesting to see what Roger Goodell decides to do. I think this is an organization that obviously has had a great deal of success and with that, it has been the focus of a lot of people with a lot of scrutiny, but they’ve brought a lot of that on themselves. As I said, they’ve been caught cheating in the past and if you want to look at what Roger has done in the past, when cheating has taken place, I believe that it will be swift and I believe that it will be severe.”
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