When Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson intercepted a pass in the first half of Sunday's game, he had plenty of reasons to keep that football. After all, it happened during the AFC Championship Game. Tom Brady threw it. And it was his first postseason pick of a nine-year career.
One reason he didn't keep it? Air pressure.
"I wanted that ball as a souvenir!" Jackson told NFL Media during a phone conversation Thursday.
Eventually, Jackson hopes he will indeed get the football back. But for now, it remains in the possession of the NFL, which is investigating whether the Patriots deliberately deflated the ball to gain an advantage.
Until Jackson gets it back, though, he at least wants to make something very clear: He did not intend to prompt the investigation. Jackson says he actually did not even know the ball was taken or that the controversy existed until he was being driven home from the team's charter plane after the Colts had arrived in Indianapolis.
"I wouldn't know how that could even be an advantage or a disadvantage," Jackson said. "I definitely wouldn't be able to tell if one ball had less pressure than another."
Jackson also said he holds no bitter feelings toward the Patriots -- nor does he feel his team was cheated -- if indeed New England deliberately deflated the footballs.
"It wouldn't have changed the outcome of the game," Jackson said. "They outplayed us. We didn't match their intensity. I don't feel slighted at all personally. They created turnovers, they ran the ball on us. They won that game because of their intensity -- not the pressure of a football."
Jackson does, however, recall one interesting moment during the first half that has something to do with the latest controversy. He recalls, during a television timeout, there was an especially long delay that prompted him to approach an official.
The game official mentioned something about their efforts to locate a usable football. Shortly after, Jackson noticed that the Patriots were using the Colts' footballs late in the first half. Jackson said it was odd to him that New England couldn't find a football to use, especially in the AFC Championship Game.
But he never understood that what he was witnessing what would indeed be the beginnings of a controversy that has engulfed the sports world since.
"I mean, Anderson Cooper asked my agent if I could come on his show," Jackson said. "I'm honored that he wants to talk to me, I guess, but I really just wanted my souvenir from a special accomplishment in my career."
Follow Jeff Darlington on Twitter @JeffDarlington.