RUSH: The National Football League has a problem. People are laughing about this Deflategate thing up in New England. But it’s a problem. It’s a problem because of the integrity of the game. And that is something that the league cannot be flippant or frivolous about. We’re talking here — they’ve now learned, and I guess they’ve known for a while, that 11 of the 12 footballs used by the Patriots were a minimum two pounds underinflated.
They left the officials two and a half hours before the game. The refs get the balls and inspect them, and they left the officials in perfect condition. Then they’re taken to the ball boys. The ball boys are employees of the teams. So there’s a ball boy on the Patriots side and on the visiting team, in this case the Colts. They’re not employees of the league, the ball boys aren’t. The league’s trying to figure out, okay, when did this happen? If they left the officials in perfect condition, when did and who did it, they end up being deflated by two pounds each?
It’s not, folks, that that’s why New England won. That’s not the point. The Colts were not gonna win this game no matter what the pressure was in the balls. And the league knows that. This is about the integrity of the game. The ball has specific rule requirements and they were tampered with. And now all of kinds of stuff is coming out of the woodwork. Do you remember a quarterback named Brad Johnson? He’s a quarterback for your team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and I think the Minnesota Vikings. (interruption) Oh, okay, Big D, he went to Florida State. Big whoop.
Anyway, do you know what he admitted? Have you heard what he admitted? Tampa Bay played Oakland in the Super Bowl when Gruden was coaching Tampa Bay. Rich Gannon was a quarterback for the Raiders. Brad Johnson has admitted that he paid $7,500 to people on the day of the game to scuff up the footballs and to make them feel more comfortable in his hand, something like a hundred footballs on Super Bowl Sunday, this guy has come out and admitted that he paid $7,500.
Now, in his case he’s saying he was paying $7,500 to make the balls normal. He wanted the balls to be normal. In other words, what he’s implying is that he had to pay $7,500 to make sure the balls ended up as they should be and not tampered with. Because, remember, it was the Raiders who lead the league in allegations about deflated footballs and muddy spots on the field and all that. And now other players are coming forward with other examples of playing with improperly inflated footballs.
It’s kind of cascading now, and it’s laughable, because of balls and the male anatomy and it’s ripe with joke opportunity after joke opportunity. But then you add to it it’s the Patriots, and back in the Patriots era you’ve got Spygate and you’ve got where they were legitimately found to be violating the rules and the coach was find a half million dollars and the team fined $250,000. And now people all over the league — well, not all over the league, but a lot of people are coming forth admitting that this kind of thing has gone on for a long time.
But 11 out of 12 balls were tampered with. Then you add to that Tom Brady, we got the sound bite, back in 2011 said he prefers underinflated balls. Well, he got 11 out of 12 of ’em last Sunday night. So, as far as the league’s concerned, it’s an integrity of the game issue that they do have to deal with here. The minute that there is an even slightly serious opportunity for people to start doubting the integrity of the outcome of these games, then the NFL has a huge, huge problem.
And that’s why there’s so much attention being paid to this, even though in the most recent instance it wouldn’t have mattered a hill of beans if they were playing with tennis balls the Colts weren’t gonna win. You could have filled those footballs with cow fart methane gas and it wouldn’t have mattered. And, by the way, that would have helped global warming. The Patriots could have done that and maybe helped themselves.
RUSH: This football thing still remains an item of interest to a lot of people because there’s some things about it that are not understood. One of the most obvious questions I get is, “Well, wait a minute, Rush! Rush, Rush, Rush, if the balls were deflated, okay, fine. The balls are deflated. But how does that help New England and hurt the Colts? I mean, how can a deflated ball be said to hurt one team and help another team?”
That’s a great question, and the answer to the question is: Each team brings its own footballs to every game. The visiting team brings 12; the home team provides 12; then the home team provides another 12 as backup, and then there are special balls for the kicking game that are only used during field goals, extra points, and punts. Therefore, the Colts, when they’re on offense, do not play with the same footballs the Patriots are playing with.
So the Patriots, if 11 of those 12 balls were deflated, we got the quarterback there saying he prefers deflated balls — easier to grip, particularly in wind, rain, and all that. So if the Patriots’ balls are made more comfortable for their quarterback but the Colts do not alter their balls, then, I mean, fill in the blank. There is said to be an unfair advantage. The only reason this happened was because a guy named D’Qwell Jackson of the “Coats,” as Phil Simms says, intercepted Brady.
That’s the first time the Colts had their hands on a New England ball in the whole game. He intercepted Brady, and he said the ball felt different. So he took the ball to the sideline, gave it to the equipment people there and the head coach, and they took it to their general manager and executive staff and then they did with it whatever they do. That’s how it was learned. It might have been a second…
In fact, there was a ball thrown out of the game by the referees when New England had the ball. There was a ball thrown out because it was underinflated. But if the Colts had not… The “Coats,” I’m sorry. The “Coats,” as Phil Simms says. If the “Coats” had not intercepted Brady, they might never have known, and nobody’s accusing the balls that the Indianapolis “Coats” were using of being underinflated. It was only the balls the Patriots were using. So the balls are not mixed.
The offenses do not use balls from the same stash, and that is why it could be there’s a competitive advantage. Grab sound bite 24 very quickly. This is Brady. This is November 14, 2011. He has a weekly appearance on a radio station in Boston, and he got a question: “Don’t you spike the ball when you score?”
BRADY: Yeah, which happens like once every three years.
BRADY: When Gronk scores, like, eight touchdown a year, he spikes the ball and deflates the ball — which I love that ’cause I like, you know, the deflated ball.
RUSH: Okay, so that’s three years ago. Brady says, “I like the deflated ball.” Nobody thought a thing of it. Its’ common. You know, football is… Quarterbacks, the bigger the hand, the better. One of the most important aspects of being quarterback is being able to do a pump fake, and to do pump fake — meaning fake throwing the football — you gotta make it look like you’re really heaving the ball. But you have to hold on to it and tuck it back. You need huge hands for that, and if your hands are not big enough, you need some way to hold onto the ball easier.
You don’t want to be fumbling when you do a pump fake. So, anyway, here you have Brady innocently saying three years ago, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I like the deflated ball.” Fast forward to Sunday, 11 of 12 balls — in, by the way, wind and rain — were found to be underinflated, and the league has no choice. The penalty for this, by the way, best I’ve been able to determine (if they were able to prove guilt), is the perpetrator is fined $25,000, which is chump change. Maybe loss of draft picks and so forth.
RUSH: Okay, here’s what happens. Two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff, every football that’s gonna be used in a game is taken to the officials. The kicking footballs, the 12 footballs of the visiting team, the 12 footballs on the home team, and the 12 backup balls, they’re all taken to the officials.
The officials then inspect ’em. They weigh them. They check air pressure and make sure that they’re not scuffed and all that. Then they give ’em to the ball boys. The ball boys, these are the guys you see throwing the ball to the refs from the sideline after every play, the ball is replaced frequently in the NFL, as much as for anything, as time. There’s a 25 second play clock, so they gotta get a new ball in there.
If the pass goes out of bounds and way down, they just throw a new ball in. The ball boys get the balls after the referees have inspected them and given their stamp of approval. The ball boys, each team has one, and they are team employees. So in this case, we assume that the balls in New England passed inspection by the referees two hours and 15 minutes before the game. Then, the refs give ’em to the ball boys and that’s the last the refs see of you ’em other than when the game starts and they’re touching them, putting them in playing, taking them out of play, whatever.
The ball boys, it’s important to note, are employees of each team; they’re not employees of league. So here’s what happened. If we’re to believe what we’ve been told, two hours 15 minutes before the game the referees inspected the balls and found them to be perfectly fine. At some point after that, 11 out of 12 balls used by the Patriots were underinflated.
Now, you might say, well, it was cold and rainy and maybe they just lost air pressure on their own. Yeah, maybe one or two, but 11 out of 12? So the league is trying to find the chain of custody, what the hell happened, who had these things, who could have done it and not be seen doing it? There are cameras everywhere.
But for them it is an integrity of the game issue. They cannot have these kinds of questions unanswered in a satisfactory way. This is the product. And the epitome, the essence of fairness and all that sort of stuff is important in terms of public perception. But the things that are now being learned, like Brad Johnson paying $7,500 to make sure the balls were in normal shape?
RUSH: Here’s Alex in West Wareham, Massachusetts. Alex, glad you called, sir. Hi.
CALLER: Megga Dittos, Rush. A longtime listener, back to your early California days.
RUSH: Wow. Great to have you still with us.
CALLER: Huh? Say again?
RUSH: I’m glad to have you still with us.
CALLER: Yes, I am still with you. My point on the football inflation, a couple of points. One is I think we should, by regulation, lower the pressure on cold days. The fans like to see an exciting game. They don’t like to see the ball being dropped every five minutes, and if it was the same regulation for everybody, it would not be an advantage to one team or the other, it would simply make the game more exciting.
RUSH: Well, I have no problem with that. I’m not aware a properly inflated ball provides an impediment in cold weather, but I guess you could make a case that it is.
CALLER: Well, that’s what they’ve been trying to say. The other thing is —
RUSH: Wait. Who’s been saying what? Is somebody saying the Patriots deflated the ball because to get an advantage in cold weather?
CALLER: I believe they claim that the Patriots would have an advantage by having a deflated ball. It was known the weather was cold, maybe nobody was saying because of, but there is a relationship between temperature and pressure in a football.
RUSH: Well, this is true. This is true. But I didn’t know if anybody made that specific — I mean, we know that the quarterback has said he likes deflated balls because it’s easier to grip, theoretically easier to grip and throw on wet or cold days.
CALLER: Well, if everybody likes it there, I think it’s worth a try.
RUSH: But, see, they don’t. Aaron Rodgers has said he likes an overinflated ball. He likes a ball that’s got a couple pounds additional pressure in it. The harder, the better for him. You see, every quarterback’s different. Every quarterback’s got different tastes. And the kickers, have you ever paid attention to the kickoff, any kickoff, particularly the first one, the kicker will grab the ball and just be pounding it into the ground and squeezing it, bending it, and shaping, ’cause it’s a brand-new ball. The K balls are brand-new balls. They’re just out of the box that day. And these kickers are trying to limber ’em up, they’re trying to soften ’em up, because you get more compression on the ball the softer it is. The more compression and the more it’s gonna take off the foot.
It all depends on speed, though. In a golf ball, the compression coming off the driver, depending on how hard the golf ball is, if you’ve got a great swing speed, you’ve got 100, 120-mile-an-hour swing speed, then you want a high compression golf ball. If you’ve got a low swing speed, you want a low compression ball. Everybody’s different, is the point. So that’s why they’ve got this standard. The standard is a two pound range, I think it’s 14 and a half pounds per square inch, maybe it’s 13 and a half to 15 and a half, but there’s a two pound window that’s supposed to accommodate legality and individual tastes. Anyway, I appreciate the call out there, Alex.
RUSH: Well, the plot thickens here. The plot thickens. It turns out that the Indianapolis Colts informed the NFL they had concerns the Patriots were playing with underinflated balls all the way back last November. The Colts played the Patriots, I think it was in New England, in November. Got blown out again. Here are the details of the story.
“One of the key moments of ‘Inflationgate’ came when Colts linebacker DÂ’Qwell Jackson intercepted Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.” This was in the championship game Sunday night, and that’s when, that’s first time the Colts had touched one of the Patriots’ footballs. It went up the chain and that’s where this whole thing of the underinflated football began.
“However, a published report Wednesday says the ColtsÂ’ suspicions about the inflation of New EnglandÂ’s footballs date back at least to the regular season matchup with New England on November 16,” and it was after an interception. There were two interceptions in that game.
“According to ESPNÂ’s Adam Schefter, the Colts notified the NFL about potential under-inflation after safety Mike Adams picked off Brady twice in New EnglandÂ’s 42-20 victory. In both cases, ESPN reported, Adams took the ball to the sideline as a memento, then gave it to the teamÂ’s equipment staff. It was then, ESPN said, that the inflation of the footballs came into question.”
This is not going to make the NFL happy. Of all teams for this thing to pop up with the Patriots, this is the last thing they want going into the Super Bowl. Well, actually, it’s gonna cause all kinds of attention. In that sense it may not be. It’s an integrity of the game thing. They got a problem here. And it’s probably gonna keep surfacing how widespread this is and how often it happens, and it’s gonna call into question, “Well, look, okay, you guys say that every game ball goes to the refs two hours and 15 minutes prior to the kickoff. And the refs inspect those balls, and pass judgment, stamp of approval, send ’em out.
Okay, if that happens, then something’s happening to those balls after they leave the refs,” which is gonna give rise to questions like what’s happening to the balls and who’s doing it? (interruption) Well, of course who knew, not just who knew, who ordered it? You don’t think some little minimum wage ball boy struggling in Obama’s economy is gonna just take one of those little needles from a tire pump, stick it into the football and deflate it for a couple seconds? You don’t think that’s gonna happen? (laughing) No, I don’t think it’s a rogue ball boy.
They might ask a ball boy to fall on the pump on this and take the heat. Could be. By the time it’s all over, it could be a renegade ball boy. In fact, it could be a kid that used to, say, work for the Raiders, who lied to the Patriots and got a job there and tried to sabotage to get even with the tuck rule game. They could concoct anything they want here.
RUSH: I’ve been waiting for it, I’ve been waiting for it, and I just saw it, folks, on CNN. Chris Simms — I haven’t been waiting for him. I’ve been waiting for somebody, an NFL player or coach, somebody involved in the NFL, been waiting for this. Chris Simms, the son of Phil Simms, is just now on CNN showing an infobabe how to squeeze the balls, how to properly grip the balls, and what it might mean if the balls are hard or soft. I’ve been waiting for it. I knew it was gonna happen, and I just saw it. I’m surprised it took this long.
RUSH: What was that? Teach Hillary about deflating… (interruption) No, no, no. She already knows that. You’ve forgotten the lockbox. Hillary’s got a testicle lockbox. Doesn’t matter about deflating or inflating.
My question is will there be Senate hearings on this? The Senate has conducted hearings into steroids in baseball. Why not conduct an investigation or hearings on deflated balls. Hey, Joe Bite Me weighed in on this. Grab audio sound bite number 29. This morning on CBS This Morning, Bite Me, the vice president was on, and Gayle King said, “Hey, before we say good-bye, Mr. Vice President, what do you make of Deflategate? Allegedly 11 of the 12 balls the Patriots allegedly used in that alleged championship game were allegedly underinflated; what do you allegedly think of those allegedly soft balls?”
BIDEN: Well, I tell you what, having been a receiver, uh, I – I – I – I – I like a softer ball. That’s all I can tell ya.
RUSH: Well, there we have it, vice president wannabe, Joe Biden, after having been a receiver, I – I – I like a softer ball. (interruption) I like a softer ball. (laughing) Stand up, Joe, let’s see you catch one of those balls. You know, folks, speaking of that, we watch these guys throw passes in the NFL. I don’t think most of us would even want to be in the way of one. You have no idea.
You got Tom Brady, John Elway, when they put mustard on it, you need pads. You don’t want to be anywhere near that ball. At the level they play, I guarantee you the precision, they know inflation, deflation. It matters to ’em. It’s like golfers and the precision in the shafts they use in the golf clubs and the elevation. It’s a science to these guys.