Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been firing from the hip this season in the media. Not known for holding back or player speak, Rodgers took a shot at Tom Brady and his former team, the New England Patriots, in an interview with Sportsnet. (Note: AR’s comments occur at the 1:15 mark)
“This is too firm for the Patriots,” Rodgers quipped while holding a football, obviously referencing Tom Brady and the ‘Deflategate’ scandal. His comments were certainly tongue in cheek, ribbing his ‘The Match’ counterpart.
Just in case you don’t remember, here’s what Rodgers was referencing.
The “Deflategate” Controversy
The Patriots were involved in multiple controversies through the height of their 19-year tenure with Brady as a starting quarterback, including “Spygate” in 2007, when New England received discipline for videotaping defensive coaches’ signals from the Jets in a regular season game.
“Deflategate” occurred during the Patriots’ 2014 Super Bowl run in the AFC Championship Game against the Colts. In that game, Brady threw an interception to Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who handed the ball to the Colts equipment manager as a souvenir.
After that pick, the Colts notified NFL Gameday Operations they “understood that there was a problem with the inflation level of a Patriots football.” In 2006, the NFL instituted a rule so that each team uses its own football while on offense.
The league requires footballs to be inflated to a gauge pressure between 12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch when measured by game officials. It was revealed later that in NFL official Clete Blakeman’s measurements of the Patriots’ footballs, five of their 11 measured below 11.0 pounds, thus being a full two pounds below the claimed original inflation target.
According to NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino, referees do not log the pressure of the balls prior to the game, or check during the game, and did not do so in this case. Walt Anderson, the referee, gauged the footballs. The Patriots’ game balls were re-inflated at halftime to meet specifications and were reintroduced into the game.
After an investigation into the matter, the NFL announced Brady was suspended four games without pay for the 2015 season for his involvement, based on “substantial and credible evidence” that he knew Patriots employees were deflating footballs and that he failed to cooperate with investigators.
The Patriots were also fined $1 million and had to forfeit their first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft as well as their fourth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.It’s probably not bulletin board material should the two meet in the NFC Championship, but Rodgers’ comments will definitely give the two something to talk about pregame.