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Buccaneers QB Brad Johnson admits to having footballs altered before Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was the Buccaneers' defensive backs coach on that team.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin found himself the subject of scrutiny after he stepped onto the field during a Jacoby Jones kick return in 2013.

That's nothing compared to what Brad Johnson said about Tomlin's first Super Bowl championship team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneersaccording to the Tampa Bay Times.

Here's the word-for-word quote:

"I paid some guys off to get the balls right," Johnson now admits. "I went and got all 100 footballs, and they took care of all of them." How much did it cost Johnson? "Seventy-five hundred (dollars)," he said. "They took care of them."

Amid a mild controversy in the NFL regarding the allegations the New England Patriots deflated the footballs used in the AFC Championship game - a 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts - Johnson's revelation will likely be met with a massive overreaction. Players scuff up new footballs before games all the time. While Johnson's admission of paying others to do it can be seen as a bit more unusual than the efforts of most, it certainly will be talked about in the days leading up to Super Bowl XLIX.

Tomlin himself isn't being implicated or anything, but it may be something the media ask all who were associated with the game, up to and including the team's defensive backs coach.

Obviously, he'll claim no knowledge of it. And obviously, he won't return his Super Bowl ring.