Sources reported that former QB Jeff Blake said that during the career that he had in the NFL, he supervised footballs being deflated prior to the games taking place, saying that it happened frequently. Pay per head services were surprised when they learned about this, as former players are apparently starting to reveal the truth about the practice.
“I’m just going to let the cat of the bag, every team does it, every game, it has been since I played,” said Blake. “‘Cause when you take the balls out of the bag, they are rock hard. And you can’t feel the ball as well. It’s too hard. Everybody puts the pin in and lets just enough air out of the ball that you can feel it a little better. But it’s not the point to where it’s flat.
“So I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s not something that’s not been done for 20 years.”
Several other QB’s in the NFL said something else – that they haven’t altered footballs in any way or have seen anybody do it. This subject was the main point of discussion, as the NFL was investigating the Patriots after the team allegedly used footballs that were underinflated in the first half of their last meeting with the Colts, which was the AFC Championship Game.
When Blake was asked to give details about when the footballs were deflated, the player said that it usually happened when the QB’s got a hold of the footballs prior to a game taking place.
“As soon as they give them the balls,” said Blake. “On the sideline before the game. The quarterbacks would come out to warm up in pregame … I would just say, ‘Take a little bit out, it’s a little bit hard.’ And then they’d take a little bit out and I’d squeeze them and say ‘That’s perfect.’ That’s it.”
In 13 seasons playing for the league, Blake started in 100 games and for 7 teams, which pay per head services can see is quite an accomplishment. The longest time that he spent with a team was with the Bengals, where he played for 6 seasons.
2005 was the player’s last year, so in his NFL career, when his team was playing away from home, Blake wouldn’t have “taken care” of the balls until before the game began.
In 2006, QB’s in the NFL were successfully able to get the league to make a change of the rules and let each team give out the balls for the meetings, which before a game would have been given to officials.