With the New England Patriots' DeflateGate scandal, our buddies at MileHighReport took a look around the NFL at their fumbles and sees how things change over time.
They mention that following the 2006 NFL season, the NFL enacted a new rule regarding their footballs so that quarterbacks could alter the ball to their liking within certain guidelines, at the request of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Meaning that since 2007, the footballs should have given every NFL team an advantage that it didn't have previously. Fewer fumbles should have occurred since teams could make the balls softer and less slick.
With that new rule and the recent scandal, it should come as no surprise that the Patriots and Tom Brady have benefited the most, reducing their turnovers dramatically. However, we can actually take another look at this.
Baltimore was in the midst of a change in leadership. With head coach Brian Billick on his way out after the 2007 season and current head coach John Harbaugh finding himself the new guy in Baltimore at the start of the 2008 season. In addition to the rule change, Baltimore got a more fundamental oriented coach in Harbaugh. Under Harbaugh, the Ravens have preached working hard and managing what you can actually control (meaning not putting the ball on the ground).
|TEAM||Plays/TO 07-14 change from 00-06|
|Green Bay Packers||25.6|
|New England Patriots||20.3|
|New Orleans Saints||9.5|
|San Francisco 49ers||5.6|
|St. Louis Rams||5.3|
|San Diego Chargers||4.3|
|New York Giants||2.5|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-1.7|
|Kansas City Chiefs||-2.8|
|New York Jets||-7.9|
With the NFL average being an improvement of 5.2 despite both New England and Green Bay's ridiculous improvement in their turnover numbers, it is important to see how Baltimore fared. With a ranking of 8th on the list for most improved, the Ravens have seen a little significantly less turnovers during Harbaugh's tenure than under Billick's reign.
When stipulating only fumbles lost, Baltimore improves even more, ranking second in the league only behind the Indianapolis Colts.
While some people jump on Harbaugh for not being an Xs and Os type of guy, his focus on fundamentals clearly has had an effect on the team overall and is a major reason for their continued success. It is worth noting that the teams who have regularly changed their head coach over the last 7 years are also the ones with some of the worst turnover rates since the rule change, meaning that everyone should be thankful for having such a hard nosed coach.