There’s been an awful lot of hot air about the cold air that inflated — or did not inflate — the New England Patriots’ footballs Sunday night. While the NFL investigates whether the footballs complied with the rule book, which mandates that balls be inflated to 12.5-13.5 with pounds per square inch, Aaron Rodgers admitted that his preference is for an overinflated ball.
On his ESPN Milwaukee radio show Tuesday afternoon, the Green Bay Packers quarterback said that, while there is an advantage to an underinflated ball (especially for quarterbacks with small hands), he favors a rule mandating only a minimum amount of air. There’s no benefit, he said, to an overinflated football and, because he has big hands, that’s what he prefers. And, he added referees often remove air from balls during games because they prefer them on the flatter side (via Tom Silverstein).
That echoed a conversation between Jim Nantz and Phil Simms during the CBS broadcast of the AFC title game Sunday night. It revealed alot about how quarterbacks think and just how far they’re willing to go to push the envelope. (See the clip here.)
Nantz: We talked to Rodgers about ‘How do you like your footballs?’ Because, you know, you can rub them up before the game. [Phil], you really kind of created that for everybody else in the league.
Simms: I don’t know if I did, because the quarterbacks got tired of them complaining. But he said something [that] was unique: ‘I like to push the limit to how much air we can put in the football, even go over what they allow you to do and see if the officials take air out of it.’ Because he thinks it’s easier for him to grip. He likes them tight. Of course, he’s got very big hands and you can tell that by watching him play.
Nantz: You’ve never heard of a guy really desiring a football to be fat and overinflated before, have you?
Simms: Everybody wants it smaller and soft, so they can dig their fingers into. He’s such a feel thrower. You can tell. The one touchdown he threw down the field to the tight end is such feel; then he flicks it. That shows you he just has great control of it, with his fingers and hand.
Nantz: He said, ‘God gave me big hands and a strong grip.’
Simms: You know, the officials do check those footballs and sometimes maybe even get lucky and put an extra half pound of air in there to help Aaron Rodgers out.