Good-natured ribbing. Aaron Rodgers couldn’t help but take a shot at his friend and fellow Super Bowl hopeful Tom Brady during a recent interview.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback, 38, referenced the University of Michigan alum, 44, during a Wednesday, January 19, chat with Canadian network Sportsnet. “This is too firm for the Patriots,” he joked, commenting on a football handed to him by a journalist.
Rodgers was joking about Deflategate, a scandal that engulfed the NFL in 2015 after Brady was accused of ordering the deliberate deflation of footballs used in the AFC Championship Game, played in January of that year. At the time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers athlete was the quarterback for the New England Patriots, who won the championship against the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl in February 2015.
An investigation was launched in early 2015, resulting in the Patriots being fined $1 million and forfeiting two draft picks for 2016. Brady, for his part, was suspended for four games. After some back and forth, he eventually served his suspension in 2016, missing the first four games of that season.
When accusations against him first arose, Brady denied having anything to do with the deflated balls. “I didn’t alter the ball in any way,” he said during a January 2015 press conference. “I would never do anything outside of the rules of play.”
Though Brady and Rodgers aren’t quite BFFs, they are close enough to exchange diet tips. In July 2018, the former Jeopardy! host said that his NFL colleague had shared advice about how to improve his eating habits.
“We’ve talked about the stuff he does,” he told Sports Illustrated at the time. “I don’t swear off nightshades like he does. But I had a lot of room to grow in that area. I love sweets and food in general, so being smart about what I was eating tied to my performance.”
Rodgers also respects Brady’s ability to keep playing professionally well into his 40s, which is unusual in most sports and a rarity in football. “We play at a high level. And 40 is an interesting number for quarterbacks,” he said in the same interview. “There haven’t been a lot of guys that have gotten there. [Tom] was obviously incredible last year at 40, but there aren’t a lot of guys who can do that.”
If both of their teams win their playoff games this upcoming weekend, the two quarterbacks may face each other in the NFC Championship Game later this month.
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