Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on a mission to tell the truth these days. It started in the offseason when he said he didn’t want to come back to the team in 2021. It and continued when he returned and let the team’s front office have it in an epic press conference. Now, Rodgers is even setting the record straight on a comment he made years ago. It was a comment that ultimately involved him in the court case around Deflategate.
Tom Brady brought football PSI to America’s attention with Deflategate
For anyone who has mercifully forgotten about Deflategate, here is a quick refresher.
In the 2014 NFL AFC Championship game, the Indianapolis Colts requested that NFL officials test the inflation levels of the footballs at halftime of the game against the New England Patriots. What the league found was that the balls’ inflation levels fell under the required 12.5 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure.
An ensuing league investigation found that Patriots QB Tom Brady intentionally ordered team equipment managers to deflate the balls to make them easier for the signal-caller to grip.
Brady and the Patriots vehemently denied these claims and fought the NFL’s penalties in federal court. The Deflategate saga dragged on for the entire 2015 season and into 2016.
The end result was a Brady suspension for the first four games of the 2016 season, a $1 million fine for the organization, and the Patriots losing their 2016 first- and 2017 fourth-round draft picks.
What does this have to do with Aaron Rodgers and his crusade to set the record straight?
Apparently, a comment that Rodgers made to former New York Giants QB and current CBS analyst Phil Simms about the PSI Rogers likes his footballs at made its way into the court case surrounding Deflategate.
However, the way some interpreted his words back then was incorrect. So, Rodgers used his weekly spot on The Pat McAfee Show 2.0 to bring the truth to light.
Aaron Rodgers set the record straight on how inflated he likes his footballs
Aaron Rodgers joins former NFL punter Pat McAfee and his crew every Tuesday during the NFL season. The conversations are always wide-ranging and even include Rodger’s book recommendations for the listeners.
While discussing last week’s Green Bay Packers vs. Cincinnati Bengals game, the host mentioned Defategate and asked Rodgers how he liked his footballs inflated.
The 17-year veteran took this opportunity to explain his connection to the Tom Brady scandal and how the misrepresentation that he likes his footballs overinflated came about.
“I love rebutting narratives that are incredibly false,” Rodgers explained. “There was a narrative used during the Brady Deflategate that I like balls overinflated. And this came from a comment that Phil Simms said live on-air, and this is what happened:”
We had a production meeting with the CBS crew, and Phil Simms said, ‘In the wintertime, do you intentionally deflate the balls to get a better grip on the footballs?’ And I was kind of taken aback by the question. I said, ‘No, I can’t throw a flat ball. I don’t know what other guys like to do, but I can’t throw a flat ball.’ I have big hands and strong grip pressure. So, if there was an issue, I would rather have a ball that’s overinflated — like a kicker ball — than underinflated. … Then I went through, I said, ‘Look, I know what the range of acceptability is, and I like it between 13 and 13.5 psi. That’s kind of my sweet spot.’ Then he goes on air and says I like the footballs overinflated.Aaron Rodgers on Phil Simms
He finished by thanking McAfee for asking that question and giving him the opportunity to “take down this ridiculous narrative that started with a bizarre question — in my opinion — about deflating footballs intentionally when it gets cold, from Phil Simms.”
Rodgers won’t have to worry about cold weather in Week 6
Deflategate was a cold weather-based scandal. Few NFL players know cold-weather football games like the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.
Even though Rodgers and the Packers have a traditionally frosty NFC North matchup this weekend against the Chicago Bears, the weather forecast on Wednesday predicts a beautiful 66-degrees and sunny gameday.
The 4-1 Packers will look to get some distance in the division Sunday by beating the second-place, 3-2 Bears.
The Monsters of the Midway are coming off back-to-back wins led by rookie QB Justin Fields. However, Green Bay will be the former Ohio State Buckeye’s first big test. His two wins came against the lowly Detroit Lions in Week 4 and the scandal-hit Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5.
Rodgers faces a Bears D that has been among the best in the league in 2021. The unit is first in the NFL with 18 sacks. It also ranks in the top 10 in total yards allowed (seventh), points allowed (seventh), ninth in takeaways (ninth), and first downs given up (seventh).
This will be Rodgers’ biggest test against the Bears in quite a while. The QB is 21-5 all-time against Chicago, and the last time he lost to the franchise was in Week 15 of the 2018 season.
Rodgers surely believes that all those wins came using properly inflated footballs, despite what Phil Simms says.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference