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Dean Abbott

I computed the average of the average fumble rates for all NFL teams for years since 2007 (the year teams began supplying their own footballs, home and away). I know average of averages is a bad idea in general, but I assumed sample sizes each year were close and it was much easier to do it this way! (so it's not a horrible way of approaching it).

The Falcons have a lower fumble rate than the Patriots. The Patriots are #2 and #3 is far away from these two. To your point, rates are lower for dome teams. But nevertheless the Patriots are not unique in being an outlier. Moreover, the Patriots were in the bottom quartile of fumble rates in 2013. They've been the lowest 2x I think since 2007. They have been consistently among the best however (except for 2013).

So while the argument of fumble rates is interesting, it certainly isn't conclusive (unless Atlanta is also found to be deflating footballs--Atlanta is an outlier as well) and as you rightly point out, these are random samples from a large N of teams.

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