All the furor over the New England Patriot's deflategate scandal doesn't mean much to Daunte Culpepper.
The former Minnesota Viking's signal caller and three-time Pro Bowler spent a lot more time during his stellar career worrying about Xs and Os—the way football is drawn up on the blackboard—than he did about pounds per square inch (PSI). The latter issue has the sporting world abuzz over the Patriots use of balls in the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts that didn't meet the NFL's inflation regulations.
Some of Culpepper's contemporaries, most notably Troy Aikman from the Dallas Cowboys, have sharply criticized the Patriots. Culpepper is not taking the bait, however.
"I just grabbed the first 25 balls that were there," Culpepper told CNBC over lunch at the Westin Diplomat Golf & Tennis Club in Hollywood Florida, just down the highway from his post-football career home in Broward County.
Asked if he thought the controversy was as big of a deal as it's become on the nation's sports pages, Culpepper said, "Not really," and said he doesn't think the team should be punished. The game is about a lot more than the air in the football, he said.
"It's still all about tackling and blocking and coaching and catching the football," said Culpepper, who took the Vikings to the NFC championship game once, and led the team to a couple of other playoff appearances. "Just the basics of football."
Still, he didn't seem convinced the Patriots could have been completely in the dark, as quarterback Tom Brady has suggested.
"The quarterback and ref checks the balls before the game," he said.