A few weeks ago, Peter King ruffled a few feathers in New England by passing along a little bit of hearsay regarding the Colts' beliefs that the Patriots bugged the visiting locker room.
Consider this his apology.
The Sports Illustrated writer noted in this week's edition of "Monday Morning Quarterback" that the Patriots have actually peformed better since they were busted for illegally recording opposing teams' signals. Though King notes that what the Patriots did was wrong, he used some convincing numbers to show that the videos might not have helped all that much:
Record before getting caught: 87-39 (.690 winning percentage)
Record after getting caught: 49-15 (.766 winning percentage)
Points per game before getting caught: 23.4
Points per game after getting caught: 29.4
Of course, as with any statistics, there are some variables. For one, you have Tom Brady raising his game to new levels, beginning in '07. Remember, prior to that season, he was always a winner but rarely put up the Peyton Manning-esque statistics.
You also have the additions of Randy Moss and Wes Welker in '07, as the team completely transformed its offensive philosophy.
Yet, there are some larger factors that actually make those numbers harder to believe. First and foremost is the yearlong absence of Monsieur Brady. The fact that the Pats didn't miss a beat with a quarterback who hadn't started since he was taking calculus and was making prom plans speaks volumes for the way the organization is run. Add in the loss of countless veterans on defense, and that 49-15 mark is all the more impressive.
For those who hate the Patriots, the numbers will do little to convince them that the Patriots are the worst collection of people on the planet and Bill Belichick deserves to be banished from the league. For others who have argued for years now that the videos didn't make that much of a difference, they at least have some statistical ammo for that argument.