“DeflateGate” has been raging through the media cycle since the early hours of Monday morning, so by Wednesday, we’ve seen our fair share of hot takes.
There are members of the media calling for New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to be fired, and players for the Indianapolis Colts saying the whole ordeal is “not a story.” But the opinions that actually matter — besides the NFL’s, of course — come from the guys who handle the footballs the most: Quarterbacks.
A few former NFL quarterbacks weighed in on what advantages, if any, an under-inflated football can give a team. Here’s what they had to say.
Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart took to Twitter on Wednesday to brush the whole controversy off as no big deal. He even said it irritated him that starter Kurt Warner didn’t doctor his footballs, as he preferred to wear gloves instead.
Career backup Tim Hasselbeck shared a similar philosophy, saying quarterbacks like their footballs “broken in to their liking.”
On the flip side, former Jacksonville Jaguars signal-caller and three-time Pro Bowler Mark Brunell said a football’s inflation makes a huge difference. He even tested it out on “SportsCenter.”
“The main thing was the difference that two PSI can make,” Brunell said, per The Boston Herald. “It’s a remarkable difference because you’re able to grip it a lot easier. The ball we used on ‘SportsCenter,’ it felt like a ball you could get out of your garage and go play ball with with your son. There’s just a big difference.”
Speaking of Kurt Warner, he was the most divided on the issue when he appeared on NFL Network on Wednesday. While he did say there’s a definite difference in bad weather conditions, he added that an under-inflated ball might not be beneficial in every situation.
“I think when it can make a difference is when the weather gets cold or you’re in some slicker conditions, and the ball is usually at the normal inflation rate,” Warner said. “They get hard. They’re harder to grip. They get slicker. And you take a little bit of air out of them where you can really compress it with your hand, and it can create a little better grip.
“At the same time, I’ve played with some balls that are under-inflated at times, and sometimes, there’s too much give to them that it can cause you to have some bad throws as well. So it is a lot about preference, but I think in certain weather conditions, it could give you a bit of an advantage. Whether it does in every situation or not, I can’t answer that question, but that might be the benefit of have a ball that’s a little more under-inflated than maybe a normal ball.”
Thumbnail photo via Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports Images