If the footballs were altered in the AFC Championship Game -- or any game -- Hall of Fame coach John Madden suggests the primary suspect behind whatever happened should be the quarterback, in this case New England's Tom Brady.

Madden admits he was involved in altering footballs before a game at the behest of his quarterback, Ken Stabler. The result was the NFL's first -- and almost last -- left-handed night football. But it was all legit.

According to John Madden, in the 1970's, the NFL painted a white stripe near the nose of the football so that the ball would be more visible. The QB's complained that the footballs were slippery so they scraped off a portion of the paint where the fingers would be placed. Most of the QB's were righthanded. That did not help Raiders's QB Kenny Stabler who was a southpaw. During an Oakland game, the referees scuffed up that area for Stabler, and the matter was solved.

John Madden places the blame on the QB, which in this case is the Patriots' Tom Brady. "He is the effected, he is the only guy," Madden said. Any changes to the football would logically be made by the QB. "It would have to be the QB's idea."

In 1979, John Madden abruptly retired as coach of the Oakland Raiders. He was emotionally stressed and burned out. Madden had a bleeding ulcer and a strained relationship with his sons which he wanted to repair. According to John's wife, one of the issues stemmed from John's reluctance in buying his son a car. John was unaware that the son was 18, and needed a vehicle to attend a local college. He did not even know that the son had his license. When he retired, Madden said he would never coach again.

John Madden, who has been out of football broadcasting since 2009, serves as a consultant to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. John exonerates the New England head coach Bill Belichick, and the equipment guys. "On every play, the ball is handled by two officials."

Madden said the rules changed, largely due to the efforts of quarterback Peyton Manning, who wanted quarterbacks to handle the balls before the game. So since 2006 it has not been illegal for quarterbacks to handle the footballs before a game.

These conspiracy theories usually work their way back to the Indianapolis Colts, and Peyton Manning. Whether it is touching the footballs before the game or the receivers during the game, the Colts usually found a sympathetic shoulder to cry on in the league office.

One... big... damn conspiracy! And everyone's in on it, including *her*! - Warden Samuel Norton, Shawshank Redemption

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.

Follow me on Twitter at @_prmurphy

For more of my articles, click here.

Paul Murphy 1/22/2015 11:37:00 AM Edit

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