What Are “Advantages” of Under-Inflated Footballs? ESPN Tells Us [VIDEO]
So much is being buzzed about over allegations of the Patriots letting a couple of pounds of air out of 11 of their 12 game balls during Colts AFC Championship game.
ESPN talked to former Jacksonville quarterback and University of Washington grad Mark Brunell, who also played for several other teams, and in this video, he explained why it's sometimes done more often than you think.
Other quarterbacks, such as Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, prefers a ball that's solid, or hard, because he can grip it better. No softies for him. Most signal callers prefer a roughed up ball that's been beat up a little. Nobody likes the slick shiny ones that come right out of the box. It's also believed by some receivers that it's a little easier to catch, especially in cold weather. But conversely, an under inflated ball won't travel as far when kicked by a punter, or place kicker. It's like kicking a rock.
When I was in college at Whitworth, our punter Tim Frisbee, hated brand new ones, so we used to take them out of the box, roll them around on the ground and sometimes drop them into a bucket of water for a few minutes. Then Frisbee would proceed to spend the rest of practice kicking the you-know-what out of them. By the time he was done, we had a nice weathered, roughed up ball that he preferred. The roughed up ball would allow him to better "grip" it with his shoe when punting. It wouldn't slip or slide off his shoelaces.
He pretty much knew what he was doing, as we had NFL scouts from San Diego and Oakland show up at practice twice, and I had to long-snap to him while he showed off his skills. Frisbee at one time (1981) held the Whitworth record for longest punt at 74 yards, and season average at just under 45 yards.
Snapping a roughed up ball is better, especially in adverse weather. Brand new slick footballs are like trying to catch a greased pig. That applies to pretty much everyone.
So, for quarterbacks, perhaps under inflation is good. For kickers and long-snappers, no. Frisbee would have been happy punting one of those old-fashioned 1900-era pumpkins you see in the NFL Hall of Fame, if he could.
To see Brunell's assessment of under-inflated footballs with ESPN, click here.