One of the many questions surrounding “Deflategate”—the controversy that has engulfed the New England Patriots—concerns what advantage an NFL team would gain from using a deflated football. Numerous players have said a softer ball is easier to grip, and a ball that’s easier to grip is harder to drop
New England coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady both denied ever purposely using footballs that were inflated below the NFL minimum. But on the basis of the allegations, the Count looked at the fumble rate of the Patriots compared with the rest of the league.
New England has had an uncanny ability to hold on to the football for quite some time. According to data compiled by Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis, the Patriots fumble far less than any other team that plays outdoors, where the elements…
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