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A.J. Feeley: Tom Brady, Patriots broke game-ball rules back in 2004

Former NFL quarterback A.J. Feeley says he saw Tom Brady using 'his own ball' back when it wasn't allowed

Long before Deflategate, Tom Brady was never shy about making it known that he likes his footballs a certain way. That's why he and Peyton Manning lobbied the league to allow visiting teams to bring their own game balls, a rule that became official after the 2006 season.

Before that, though, both teams had to play offense with the same balls. Unless one of those teams was Brady's New England Patriots, according to former NFL quarterback A.J. Feeley.

Appearing on Philadelphia's 97.5 The Fanatic, Feeley related a story from a game against the Patriots in Foxborough when he was backup quarterback for the Miami Dolphins during the 2004 season.

"I was on the sidelines and I noticed that somehow this beat-up ball from the ball boy was getting thrown in for New England, yet when we were on offense the orange brand-new ball was getting thrown in," Feeley said.

"I even said something to the ball boy, and he kind of gave me a smirk. At the time I tried to address it with the coaches but everyone was like ... 'Oh, that doesn't make a difference' or 'Who cares about that? You're looking at some stuff that really doesn't matter.'"

But Feeley thought it mattered. He said fellow backup quarterback "Sage Rosenfels and I were on the sidelines and were like, 'That's crazy. He's basically getting his own ball thrown in on offense.'"

He added: "That was an issue for me at the time."

The Dolphins lost that game, 24-10, as part of a 4-12 season. Meanwhile, the Patriots would go on to finish 14-2 and win the Super Bowl for the second straight year and third time in four seasons.

Twitter: @chewkiii

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