Report: Brad Johnson Paid To Have Super Bowl Footballs Tampered With

With an ESPN report confirming that 11 of 12 New England footballs were underinflated in the AFC Championship game, a similar report (and one that’s been buried for over a decade) surfaced this morning – this time potentially affecting the Raiders

According Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Brad Johnson admitted to paying NFL employees $7,500 to tamper with the footballs for Super Bowl XXXVII – the Oakland/Tampa Super Bowl.

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

While it may not have affected the game’s outcome, admitted cheating and NFL employees being bribed to help a team is a huge concern. The Patriots have been caught twice and now we can add the Buccaneers to the list – on football’s grandest stage no less.

At a time when the integrity of the NFL is under the microscope, new allegations aren’t good. With owners like Robert Kraft so closely connected to the interests of commissioner Roger Goodell, and the Jerry Jones party bus entertaining the VP of NFL officiating, it’s no wonder the league has so many conspiracy theorists.

The NFL was caught with its pants down on the domestic violence issue – something that wasn’t addressed until it became a matter of public relations. Now the integrity of the game is in question. Does every team illegally tamper with footballs? Maybe. But assuming there are a few teams that play by the rules, do they deserve to be punished? If history is any indication as to Goodell’s ability to resolve matters in the past, the answer is probably yes.