BOSTON (CBS) — “DeflateGate” was all about Tom Brady and his footballs which were, according to the NFL, inflated below the league’s proper levels. As a result, the quarterback was punished heavily.
But what if it was actually Aaron Rodgers who suffered the most severe consequences?
A caller on Zolak & Bertrand on Tuesday alerted the hosts to the fact that ever since the NFL started to closely monitor the PSI of the footballs, it’s been a rough go for Aaron Rodgers, who once told the CBS broadcast crew that he liked his footballs to be inflated over the 12.5-13.5 PSI range allowed by the league.
Phil Simms relayed this nugget on Rodgers back in 2014: “He said something that was unique — ‘I like to push the limit to how much air we can put in the football, even go over what they allow you to do, and see if the officials take the air out of it,’ because he thinks it’s easier for him to grip. He likes ’em tight. Of course he’s got very big hands.”
Well, later that year, “DeflateGate” became a scandal, and as a result, the NFL started paying much closer attention to the PSI levels in footballs.
And since then, Rodgers has experienced a steep drop-off.
He completed just 60.7 percent of his passes last year, by far his lowest mark in any season in which he’s been the starter. Prior to last year, his lowest completion percentage was 63.6 percent in 2008, his first year as a starter.
He threw for 3,821 yards, which was his lowest total in a 16-game season of his career. His 238 yards per game were again the lowest of his career by a wide margin.
His touchdowns and interception numbers were still good, but the accuracy and the yardage slipped considerably.
Now in year two of the post-DeflateGate era, Rodgers is still struggling. His completion percentage has actually dropped to 60.2 percent, and his yards per game have dropped to 234.
As Scott Zolak noted, Rodgers has really gone downhill, while Brady has seemingly gotten better.
“Brady looks like he’s kind of perfected his thing,” Zolak said. “He looks like he’s played better. He hit 83 percent of his passes last Sunday.”
Zolak noted that Rodgers hasn’t thrown for over 300 yards in a game since Week 9 last season. Brady, meanwhile, threw for 376 yards this past week and 406 yards the week before that. Last year, Brady topped 300 yards seven times, and also threw for 299 in another game. Brady’s 298.1 yards per game was the fifth-best mark of his career.
“It’s always Brady-Rodgers, Brady-Rodgers, one-two, right? Are they even close right now?” Zolak asked. “No! This is the first time, right now, to the caller’s point, where it’s been a consistent drop here for Rodgers as far as elevating the rest of the team. You can sit here and say there is a gap here between him and Brady.”
Bertrand piled on: “Do you know that in Aaron Rodgers’ last 10 games of last season, he did not have a quarterback rating over 100? And so far this year, he has had one game with a quarterback rating over 100. Aaron Rodgers has not been very good over last season and this season.”
“DeflateGate” obviously turns a lot of people off immediately, but might there actually be something going on here?
“Initially, I rolled my eyes because the word ‘DeflateGate’ gets brought up, right? But then you actually think about how it could potentially change the way a guy plays,” Zolak said.
“Might be on to something there,” Bertrand concluded.