Survey: NFL Players Think Patriots Deflated Balls, But It Wasn’t ‘Cheating’

Belichick Brady

A new survey of what NFL players think of the Deflategate controversy finds that they think the Patriots did deflate footballs but that it did not constitute cheating.

A new ESPN poll of 100 players finds that athletes hold a somewhat contradictory view of the incident that resulted in Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension.

Of the 100 players surveyed, 72 percent thought that the Patriots did, indeed, deflate game footballs. But only a scant 16 percent said the act made them upset. Further a full 60 percent said they wouldn’t call the Patriots cheaters over the incident.

Additionally, 80 percent of the players judged Brady’s four-game suspension too harsh. And 88 percent said that the NFL’s commissioner shouldn’t be the sole arbiter of discipline for the league.

One clue as to why players are not that upset over the deflated balls is in the fact that 52 percent felt that the deflated balls couldn’t have changed the outcome of a game.

Another little disconnect came in questions about cheating. The players surveyed said that 30 percent of players try to cheat during games. But on the other hand, 71 percent said that no one on their own team ever cheats.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.