Since 2007, their successes may have been almost entirely attributable to deflated balls:
Ironically, as my study on Wednesday showed, the Patriots’ performance in wet weather home games mysteriously turned ridiculous starting in 2007. In 2006, they went 0–2. From 2007 onward, they went 14–1.
The next obvious question becomes: Where were the Patriots in this statistic pre-2007? Take a look:
As you can see, the Patriots won their Super Bowls having a below-average rate of fumbles lost given today’s average of 105 plays per fumble lost. But in 2007, something happened to propel them to a much better rate. (You’ll remember, that just so happened to be the same year they went 16–0 in the regular season.) But even looking at these numbers, it’s clear how insane the 187 number is: They are almost running 100 more plays without a single fumble as compared with the 2002–2006 period when they won two of their three Super Bowls.
And here is the most damning chart of all, comparing the fumble rate of players when they were on the Cheatriots, versus their fumble rate on other teams.
If the Cheatriots win the Superbowl a week from today, there’ll always be an asterisk against their win.