Former Buccaneers QB Brad Johnson ‘Paid Some Guys’ To Tamper With Footballs Prior To Super Bowl XXXVII

Brad Johnson
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Late Sunday night following the Patriots blowout win over the Colts, news began to spread that the Patriots were being investigated by the NFL for allegedly deflating most of the game balls. Apparently by deflating the ball, the quarterback can get a better grip on it in cold or wet weather. The league is still investigating, but if found guilty of wrongdoing, the Patriots could be looking at a loss of future draft picks, as well as more claims from non-Patriots fans that coach Bill Belichick is a cheating cheater who cheats. But did you know this sort of shady practice has happened before? And on a bigger stage, even? In 2003, prior to Super Bowl XXXVII, Buccaneers quarterback Brad Johnson admits he had the balls tampered, and paid $7500 to do so.

Throughout his career, Johnson always had trouble gripping a wet or cold football. In the 2003 NFC Championship game against the Eagles, Johnson was forced to wear a glove on his throwing hand in order to get a better grip. So prior to the Super Bowl a week later against the Raiders, he was taking nothing to chance.

The NFL had 100 footballs designated for game use. Johnson paid to have them scuffed and ready prior to the start of the game.

“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.”

Johnson and the Bucs routed the Raiders 48-21 in that game. Apparently tampering with footballs is a pastime that dates back further than the Patriots’ most recent Super Bowl win.

[Tampa Bay Times]