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Brad Johnson Scuffed His Balls Before Super Bowl XXXVII

The former Vikings quarterback admits he tried to got a competitive edge against the Raiders

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Yes, the headline means I'm perpetually 12 years old, but with all the 'under inflated balls' jokes going around, I can't help it. Jokes with the word balls are funny, and if I can get a cheap laugh out of it, it's low hanging fruit, and I'm going to grab and yank on those bananas at every opportunity.

Okay, sorry. I'll stop.


//inner 12 year old laughs

So, one of the revelations in the New England Patriots under inflated football scandal are the side stories of people and teams going right to the edge of the rules to get a competitive advantage. One of those people? Former Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson, who says he paid somebody $7500 to scuff footballs before Super Bowl XXXVII against the Raiders, so they would be easier to grip and throw.

At the Super Bowl, the NFL had 100 footballs. They were new, slick and supposedly under the league's watchful eye. But not leaving anything to chance, Johnson made sure the balls were scuffed and ready well before the Dixie Chicks sang the national anthem.

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

How much did it cost Johnson? "Seventy-five hundred (dollars)," he said.

I always thought Johnson threw one hell of a knuckleball.

Maybe it's just me, but I really don't see the big deal in this, or in under inflated footballs. In the AFC Championship, under inflated footballs didn't kick Indy's rear end, the Patriots did. I mean, if you want to argue that under inflated footballs were the reason New England won 45-7...I'm sorry, that just makes no sense to me in any way, shape, or manner. Does it reinforce the perception that Bill Belichick is a dirty cheating scoundrel to many fans? Yeah, it does, but the NFL isn't going to make them replay the game, or make the Pats and Colts replay the game.

And if under inflated or scuffed footballs help teams win Super Bowls, I hope the Vikings do both every game next year, if we're being 100% honest here.

But back to our former QB. How did Brad Johnson fare in the Super Bowl? Well, he fared a might better than the other former Vikings QB in that game, Rich Gannon. Gannon threw five picks in a fairly epic meltdown that saw the Bucs roll Oakland 48-21. Johnson, scuffed balls and all, only went 18-34 for 215 yards, one TD, and one interception. And just like the AFC Championship, I would argue the scuffed balls had as much to do with winning that game as the under inflated balls had to do with new England winning theirs. Which is to say none.

Scuffed Johnson balls and all.

Balls. Johnson.

//inner 12 year old laughs