A day before the Patriots’ 45-7 win over the Colts that spawned DeflateGate, ESPN released a video that showed Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice admitting to using stickum on his gloves during his playing career.
Several days later while discussing DeflateGate on the radio, Rice said he considered deflating footballs to be cheating.
Readers of ProFootballTalk.com uncovered the video, titled “The Evolution of Gloves” and released by ESPN on Jan. 17, in which Rice says: “I know this might be a little illegal, guys, but you put a little spray, a little stickum on them, to make sure that texture is a little sticky.”
Stickum was outlawed by the NFL in 1981.
However, in a radio interview on Jan. 22 with Jim Rome regarding DeflateGate, Rice was critical of skirting the rules.
“I’m going to be point blank, I feel like it’s cheating,” Rice told Rome. “Because you have an edge up on your opponent and its unfortunate that it happened. I’m not saying the outcome of the game would have been different or anything like that because they got beat 45-7, but they still had an edge.”
Rice, who won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, also said a Patriots win in Super Bowl XLIX would have an asterisk on it because of public perception.
“I think it’s a great achievement to get to the Super Bowl so many times and to be so close to winning,” Rice said. “But if they win this Super Bowl, I feel like there’s going to be an asterisk put on it. When people think about the New England Patriots they’re going to think about Spygate and those under inflated footballs and I think a lot of the players they’re going to be tied to that.”