Ex-NFL QB Jeff Blake: Deflating footballs is an old and common trick

Former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jeff Blake said Wednesday he used to regularly deflate footballs before games so he could "feel" them better.
(Tom Uhlman/AP Photo)

NFL teams deflating footballs for a competitive advantage is a common maneuver that has been done for years, former quarterback Jeff Blake said. 

Blake, who spent 13 seasons in the league with seven teams, Wednesday told radio program "The Midday 180” out of Nashville that every team is guilty of letting air out of footballs so players “can feel it a little better.”

“I’m just going to let the cat out of the bag, every team does it, every game, it has been since I played,” Blake said. “‘Cause when you take the balls out of the bag, they are rock hard.”

The New England Patriots are being investigated by the NFL after it was discovered during the AFC championship game that 11 of their 12 game balls had been deflated, allegedly to make it easier to throw them and to hold them in the slick conditions. 


Blake said he is flabbergasted that it is even an issue, let alone a dominating topic leading up to the Super Bowl. 

“It’s not something that’s not been done for 20 years,” he said. 

Regarding the deflation routine, Blake said he did it just before the game started. 

“I would just say, ‘Take a little bit out, it’s a little bit hard.’  And then they’d take a little bit out and I’d squeeze them and say ‘That’s perfect.’ That’s it,” Blake said. 


The Patriots, particularly Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft, said the team did not purposely deflate the footballs. The team contends that weather was most likely the culprit for the air loss. 

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