Hall of Famer and 3 time Super Bowl champion Jerry Rice said the New England Patriots deflating footballs in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts isn’t gamesmanship, it’s much worse.
“I’m going to be point blank, I feel like it’s cheating,” Rice told The Jim Rome Show. “Because you have an edge up on your opponent and its unfortunate that it happened. I’m not saying the outcome of the game would have been different or anything like that because they got beat 45-7, but they still had an edge.”
The record setting wide receiver said having the ball under inflated is absolutely an advantage.
“I’ve played in cold weather, I know how hard the football is and you can grip the leather [if deflated] just a little bit better,” said Rice
Rice isn’t sure who to point the finger at as far as why the deflated balls weren’t noticed, but thinks the officials would have noticed something.
“Those guys really get a chance to handle the football,” said Rice. “You would have thought they would have noticed that the ball felt a little bit soft or whatever, I guess they didn’t notice or whatever and it just slipped by them.”
Rice, who was a part of a great San Francisco 49ers dynasty during his playing days, believes the current Patriots team and overall run of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in New England will always be looked at with controversy.
“I think it’s a great achievement to get to the Super Bowl so many times and to be so close to winning,” said Rice. “But if they win this Super Bowl, I feel like there’s going to be an asterisk put on it. When people think about the New England Patriots they’re going to think about Spygate and those under inflated footballs and I think a lot of the players they’re going to be tide to that.”