NFL officials published a report this past week indicating that despite being cleared by a referee before their most recent game, the New England Patriots’ balls did not meet league standards for size. Bill
Belichick, Patriots head coach, refused to comment at length on the controversy, shouting “ Size doesn’t matter!” while fleeing from reporters pursuing him.
However, in Tom Brady’ s press conference on the subject, the quarterback contradicted his coach, claiming that players do in fact have different preferences for balls. “Everybody has a preference. Some guys like them round. Some guys like them thin. Some guys like old balls. Personally, I like them a little small. That’ s why I really like it when Gronkowski hits them hard- it keeps them nice and soft.”
However, Brady also challenged allegations that his team’ s balls had been messed with after their approval at the start of the game. “We’ re very protective of our balls. They need to be inspected by an official before we play, but after they pass, I don’ t want anyone touching them.”
Despite Brady’ s claims that the Patriots’ balls were in compliance, sources close to the Flipside say that the balls not only are likely to have been undersized but also could have greatly helped the Patriots in their decisive slapping of the Indianapolis Colts. The New England defense was unable to secure any sacks, but still proved dominant both on defense and offense, thrusting through Indianapolis with a precision sports authorities believe could only have been derived from undersized balls. “Tom Brady’ s got a clear reason to prefer small balls; he handles them quite well. You might even think he’ d always been playing with them,” one analyst said.