Joe Namath doesn't necessarily think deflating footballs is as big a deal as other things that go on in sports.
Jets legend Joe Namath believes DeflateGate pales in comparison, scandal-wise, to what baseball has gone through in the past. And it also sounds like he isn't convinced the Patriots cheated, either.
"There are other sports where rules have been breached," Namath said Tuesday at the United Way of New York City's Gridiron Gala in Manhattan. "Performance-enhancing drugs, to me, is a far worse issue, than what we're talking about with the ball being deflated a little bit. I don't even know that it was, mother nature does it on her own, like an automobile tire."
Namath has never been one to hold back on his opinions, so it was a little surprising for him to demure on the punishment the Patriots received -- a four-game suspension for Brady and a $1 million fine and a loss of two draft picks for the team. Asked if that discipline fit the crime, Namath said, "I don't know the details of everything. I really don't know."
Namath said a softer ball would be an advantage for the quarterback and his running backs and receivers, but said he never had balls deflated in his playing days. He did say he believed it would be cheating if the Patriots' balls were deflated on purpose. The Wells Report, released last week, indicated it was "more probable than not" that Brady was "at least generally aware" of illegal deflation of footballs.
The Patriots actually got a good deal of sympathy from Giant Prince Amukamara and former Giant Amani Toomer.
"I think it's much ado about nothing," Toomer said. "I think it's way too heavy handed. I don't think it really gives any kind of competitive advantage to have a deflated football. I caught a lot of footballs in my day. I couldn't tell."
"Four games, draft picks," Amukamara said. "It seems like a lot."
Of course, it might be easier for Giants to have sympathy for the Patriots -- they did beat them in the Super Bowl twice in recent history.
"Now, if they would have beat us in the Super Bowl, my reaction would have been completely different and my perspective would have been completely different. But that's not the case."