Holding two footballs in his hands, one at 13 pounds per square inch and the other at 11, Mark Brunell held the under-inflated ball up to the camera.
“This is an advantage to use in an NFL game, without a doubt” he said, almost nervously so. It was as if feeling the two psi discrepancy between the balls made him realize just how serious the Patriots’ indiscretion might actually be. It almost looked like a former mediocre Major League baseball player feeling the decreased weight of a corked bat in his hands for the first time and thinking, “Jesus, why didn’t I cheat?”
“If you get an 11 pound — if I could use this in the game,” he continued. “I’m much more effective than [with] a normal ball. So certainly an advantage for any quarterback that chooses to use a deflated ball.”
“Simply because of the grip here, I can hold onto this ball. I can be more accurate. I can throw the ball further because I can dig my hand into it. For quarterbacks, it’s an advantage. For receivers, for running backs, there’s no difference.”
He returned to the regulation 13 psi ball — which he later stated was his preference when he played.
“It’s tough to grip, especially in cold weather situations. Sometimes if you get a ball and it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s windy, it feels like throwing a rock.”
I guess we have a partial explanation as to why Tom Brady has been so much better in cold weather over the course of his career. Of the six quarterbacks whose home stadiums are outdoors in cold climates, Brady is the only one with a BETTER average yards-per-attempt than in warmer months. In fact, according to a post on Reddit/r/nfl last month, he’s the best ever in temperatures below 40 degrees fahrenheit — if you go by his 41-7 record.
Does two psi explain his entire career? Of course not — but Tom’s preferred football clearly makes it a hell of a lot easier to play quarterback when it counts. The question then becomes how often has Tom Brady used an under-inflated football? Unfortunately, we will never truly know the answer.
[H/T The Big Lead]