Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said it's common for NFL referees to take air out of footballs before games.
Rodgers said he has a "major problem" with how often officials deflate footballs. The New England Patriots were accused of deflating their football for the AFC championship game Sunday, something the NFL is investigating.
Rodgers would like to see stricter standards enforced, especially against flatter footballs.
"They have a set range they like them at," Rodgers said Tuesday on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show. "I always like to be on the high range because of my grip pressure. I just have a hard time throwing a flat football. The majority of the quarterbacks – I would say more than half – are on the other side of the spectrum and like it on the flatter side.
"My belief is that there should be a minimum air pressure requirement, but not a maximum."
NFL rules stipulate footballs used during games must be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces. Rodgers said quarterbacks have "no advantage" throwing a heavily inflated football.
In fact, he said, it's more challenging for quarterbacks with smaller hands or a weaker grip. For them, a flatter football is beneficial.
Rodgers doesn't want to penalize quarterbacks with smaller hands or weaker grips, he said. But when officials deflate footballs before "every game," Rodgers believes it puts him at a disadvantage.
"My biggest problem," Rodgers said, "is I don't think you should be allowed to take air out of the footballs, because it's not an advantage when you have a football that's inflated more than the average, whatever air pressure they want. It's a preference."
Peyton Manning was important for relaxing rules regulating which can of footballs could be used in the game. Before, quarterbacks were forced to throw brand-new football during games, something they universally opposed.
Rodgers appreciates the flexibility quarterbacks have to prep their own footballs for games. To him, it's better than throwing a brand-new ball.
"That's why the change was made," Rodgers said, "and Peyton was big on helping all the quarterbacks out with that. If they're going to let us prep them the way they want them, I don't believe they should let us take air out of the footballs."
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