If you want to know just how good Rich Gannon was, consider this: he led the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl appearance in 2002. The Raiders haven’t been back to the playoffs ever since.
Need we say more?
But truthfully, the Super Bowl is about much more than just who wins and who loses. It’s about more than the game itself.
The week leading up the game is pretty memorable, too.
“It’s a pretty cool experience,” Gannon, the former NFL quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst, said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I think you work a lifetime to get to one of these these things. These two teams are spoiled. The Seattle Seahawks (are) back after winning it last year, and of course Tom Brady is going to play in his sixth Super Bowl. It’s really incredible to think (about) the continuity, the consistency, the success that that organization has had over the years. So these are teams that know what to do in the big games. These teams are well-coached. They have a lot of talent. Certainly the game won’t be too big for the Seahawks or the Patriots.”
But if one team has trouble focusing on the game, odds are it’ll be the Patriots, who are in the spotlight yet again for an alleged cheating scandal. Yes, New England – as has been well-documented – has been accused of using deflated footballs during its 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship.
“I’ve said a long time ago that Bill Belichick knows everything that goes on within the organization,” Gannon said. “But I don’t think he has any idea how much liquid soap they put in the men’s room at the facility. At some point, the head coach – and I played for seven different head coaches in 17 seasons – not a single head coach, in my opinion, ever knew exactly what happened with the footballs. That’s a quarterback thing. Who’s going to benefit the most? It’s the quarterback. He wants them the way he wants them. And so, quarterbacks and the equipment guys usually work on those footballs. That’s usually how it works.”
In other words, it’s highly unlikely that Belichick went to an equipment manager before the AFC Championship to check and make sure the footballs were intentionally under-inflated. No, Belichick probably had more important things to worry about.
Brady, however, may have been a little more interested in the feel of the footballs. He said he examined the game balls that Sunday – the day of the game – which Gannon thought was strange. Usually that’s something a quarterback will do the Friday before a game or Saturday at the latest.
Then again, everyone is different.
“I like the footballs broken in,” Gannon said. “No one likes them slick and hard to throw and grip. And so, we went through a certain process, and it was very similar each week. They would rub them down, they would put them in a sauna, sometimes they’d over-inflate them – they’d do a lot of different things throughout the course of the week to get those footballs ready. But after we got them ready, after we checked them on Friday, we were done with them.”
The Patriots are hoping the media will soon be done with this story. Unfortunately for Brady and the boys, that doesn’t figure to happen any time soon.