Former Buc QB paid for Super Bowl balls to be ‘doctored’
(Yahoo Sports) TAMPA, Fla. – As so-called “deflate-gate” reaches DEFCON 1 levels — refocusing on Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots under the microscope — we are reminded of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brad Johnson’s admission he paid to have footballs doctored prior to Super Bowl XXXVII.
Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud recounted the story he originally published in 2012, when the 2002 Bucs were honored during the 10th anniversary of their championship season. Johnson told Stroud he shelled out $7,500 to ensure “the balls were scuffed and ready” when the title game kicked off in San Diego.
“I paid some guys off to get the balls right,” Johnson now admits. “I went and got all 100 footballs, and they took care of all of them.”
How much did it cost Johnson? “Seventy-five hundred (dollars),” he said.
“They took care of them.”
There are several important distinctions between Johnson’s revelation and Chris Mortensen’s ESPN report that 11 of the 12 footballs used by the Patriots in Sunday’s 45-7 AFC Championship win over the Colts were under-inflated. The two-time Pro Bowl QB makes no mention of inflating or deflating those 100 footballs, and teams are permitted to condition a dozen balls to their liking in games prior to the Super Bowl.
However, just as Aaron Rodgers prefers an over-inflated ball, Johnson’s bribe of an NFL representative suggests quarterbacks are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure a football meets their standards.