Former NFL quarterback Brad Johnson told the Tampa Bay Times that he paid $7,500 to have footballs altered before starting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII against the Oakland Raiders.
Later in the day, Johnson told Sports Illustrated's Don Banks that his comments were "blown way out of proportion."
"Rich Gannon and I had met the week of the Super Bowl and agreed to work the balls in the week of the Super Bowl, just like we would do for any other game. The balls were used by both teams and fair for everyone. I really don’t understand what the big deal is. Rich Gannon and I talked today, too, and we both laughed at the nonsense of this story.
"I never touched the balls before the game. And no one ever complained, be it the refs, players or quarterbacks. We [he and Gannon] were both fine with all the balls that we played with."
Johnson was quoted in the Times, saying he had the footballs scuffed and ready to go before the national anthem at the Super Bowl. The NFL had new 100 footballs ready for the game.
Johnson completed 18 of his 34 passes for 215 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the 48-21 rout.
Johnson actually made the admission years ago, but his story resurfaced in a Tampa Bay Times story Tuesday thanks to the New England Patriots, who are being investigated for using under-inflated balls during their 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday’s AFC Championship.
ESPN.com’s Chris Mortenson reported Tuesday the NFL found that 11 of 12 balls that the league required the Patriots to have for game use against the Colts were under-inflated by two pounds per square inch.
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This post has been updated with Johnson's comments to SI's Don Banks.