Shutdown Corner - NFL

Former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck(notes) said that the new footballs featuring a breast cancer awareness ribbon have been a "disaster" for the league.

Speaking to a radio show, the current ESPN analyst said he's texted numerous quarterbacks in the league who have complained about the slickness of the new balls.

"They're playing with these breast cancer awareness balls. These balls are brand new, right out of the bag," Hasselback explained. "Now they get slick -- I texted a couple quarterbacks during the game. They all said, 'These balls have been a disaster.' So I think that's something to note."

The balls are part of the NFL's month-long breast cancer awareness campaign called "A Crucial Catch," which is focused on the importance of annual screenings for women. They have been in use for two weeks.

[Rewind: Massive controversy over official World Cup soccer ball]

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Pro Football Talk that the ribbon balls are no different than the ones that were in play in September.

Monday night's game between the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets was specifically mentioned by Hasseleback as an example of how the ball negatively affects play. He noted that the torrential rain and slick balls were a nasty combination. He may be right, but it also could be that the rain was the real issue and no ball, however good, would have made a difference. Whatever it was, Brett Favre(notes) succumbed to it when he fumbled an easy snap in the second quarter:


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Complaints over new balls being slick is nothing new. In 2007 the Cowboys lost a playoff game in Seattle when a new ball slipped through the hands of Tony Romo(notes). The team complained that the so-called K-Balls, used specifically for kicking, were too smooth to snap and catch properly.

Hasselbeck wouldn't say which quarterbacks complained about the new ball. His brother, Matt, who plays for the Seattle Seahawks, threw for just 189 yards with one interception and no touchdowns in the one game he played with the slick ball. Assuming that he was one of Tim's quarterback sources, Matt would have every reason to want to blame the ball rather than his own shaky play.

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