Aaron Rodgers says Phil Simms' comment from years ago about him overinflating footballs is 'ridiculous narrative' from Deflategate saga
Aaron Rodgers was all about setting the record straight during his weekly appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show" on Tuesday.
From the reason he's growing out his long hair (he says it wasn't solely for his Halloween costume) to Deflategate, Rodgers had the floor to clear the air about all things he says are misleading or not true about him.
Deflategate? Yes, that Deflategate scandal that involved Tom Brady and the New England Patriots beginning in 2015.
What Rodgers likes for his football’s PSI levels
The topic of Deflategate was started after McAfee, a former NFL punter, asked Rodgers about his first-quarter interception against Cincinnati and if he likes the air pressure in the ball to change based on the weather he'll play in.
"I like them the same way every single week and have for the last 14 years," said Rodgers, who explained the throw Sunday came out "wobbly" and that it just "wasn't a good throw," despite windy conditions.
Rodgers said he likes the footballs to be in the 13 to 13½ (pounds per square inch) range.
According to NFL rules, footballs need to be inflated to a gauge pressure between 12½ to 13½ PSI.
In Deflategate, the Patriots were alleged to have underinflated balls during the 2014 AFC Championship game. A report from NFL-appointed investigator Ted Wells concluded it was "more probable than not" that two former Patriots equipment managers were part of a scheme to intentionally deflate footballs and Brady "was at least generally aware" of the plot. The Patriots refuted this and the case was taken to the federal court system and after Brady initially had his four-game suspension overturned, the quarterback was eventually suspended four games at the start of the 2016 season. The Patriots were fined $1 million and also forfeited draft picks.
So what does Deflategate have to do with Rodgers?
"I'm glad you asked that question, because I love rebutting narratives that are incredibly false," the three-time NFL MVP told McAfee. "I finally get to take down this ridiculous narrative that started with a bizarre question in my opinion about deflating footballs intentionally when it gets cold."
Rodgers' overinflated football narrative started from production meeting with Phil Simms
Rodgers said "there was this narrative during the Brady Deflategate that I like the footballs overinflated."
This narrative started from a Nov. 30, 2014, broadcast when the Packers were playing the Patriots, months before that AFC Championship game.
During the broadcast, Phil Simms, then part of the lead NFL broadcast team for CBS, said Rodgers during a production meeting, told him something that was "unique" in that he likes "to push the limit in how much air we can put in the football."
Rodgers said Simms asked him in that meeting whether he intentionally deflates the balls in the winter to get a better grip. Rodgers on Tuesday said he remembers being taken aback by the question and told Simms that he wouldn't do that because he "can't throw a flat ball."
"I have big hands and a strong grip pressure so I would rather if there was an issue, I'd rather have a ball overinflated like a kicker ball than underinflated," Rodgers remembers saying, while adding he knows the acceptable PSI range.
"Then he goes on air and says I like the footballs overinflated," Rodgers continued.
Simms' comment about Rodgers was used in Tom Brady's appeal for his suspension in Deflategate
McAfee was about to go to the next question, but Rodgers wasn't done.
"You can't even throw a ball that's overinflated, because the referees have the ability to go through bag before the game and they check PSI levels on every single football," Rodgers said.
The topic appeared to be over as the conversation turned to Rodgers' long hair after A.J. Hawk, McAfee’s co-host, asked him whether he has chosen his Halloween costume. Rodgers set the record straight on that topic as well but then he pivoted back to Deflategate.
"Let me go back to Deflategate," Rodgers said again.
Rodgers said Simms' statement was actually used in the case by Brady's lawyers during an appeal hearing in 2015.
"That's how things can go from a production meeting question to me saying 'no, I can't throw a flat football' to that being reported as that I overinflate footballs to that being used as a defense in a court case," Rodgers said. "That's some of the ridiculousness where stories can go from time to time.
"I have no problem with Phil Simms. ... He obviously misspoke and that thing turned into a bigger deal than it ever needed to be."