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Brad Johnson: 'I paid some guys' for tampered balls in 2003 Super Bowl

Brad Johnson: 'I paid some guys' for tampered balls in 2003 Super Bowl
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brad Johnson celebrates a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on Jan. 26, 2003. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Move over "Deflate-Gate," the Bucs-scuff scandal might be even more shocking.

It's probably been a while since anyone has heard much from former NFL quarterback Brad Johnson, but it makes sense that he would choose now to share how he paid to have game balls tampered with before the 2003 Super Bowl.

Johnson told the Tampa Bay Times he paid a bribe of $7,500 to individuals who scuffed the footballs used in the Buccaneers' victory over the Oakland Raiders at Super Bowl XXXVII.

"I paid some guys off to get the balls right," Johnson said. "I went and got all 100 footballs, and they took care of all of them."

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Johnson's admission comes in the middle of the deflategate controversy highlighting the NFL's investigation into whether the New England Patriots used under-inflated footballs during their AFC Championship win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

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Former Buccaneers Coach Jon Gruden said on ESPN radio Wednesday he remembers Johnson being concerned with his grip on the ball during the game, but Gruden didn't say anything about Johnson possibly tampering with the balls illegally.

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Johnson admitting to bribing people in an effort to have an unfair advantage in a Super Bowl game might be even bigger than the Patriots using under-inflated balls in a blowout win.

How this all fits in with the Bill Callahan conspiracies from that Super Bowl game is anyone's guess.

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