This article has a good description of the F-16 deep stall problem. It only occurs in very rare specific circumstances, and has specific remedies to get out of. Its hardly a showstopper of a problem. Would buying the YF-17, a fighter that was inferior in many performance areas, on this one criterion, have been a sensible decision?
wasn't F-16's sparkling performance due to its flight control systems which maximased the potential yet in time principally due to increased payload requirements the tail size was increased . Won't claim anything but isn't the F-16 on par with with the '17 now ? F-18 is hardly defensible ı know but the claimed advantages of the Falcon are nowhere in sight now .
The Viper of today is really not what was intended (at least by Boyd, his followers and I suppose you can also say by General Dynamics) when the LWF program was run. The original horizontal stabilizer was fine if the design had remained as a true lightweight fighter (with secondary air to ground) but once the mission changed to that of a bomb truck with a secondary A2A mission, the limitations became readily apparent.
The actual reason the YF-16 won was due to it's Ps (Specific Excess Energy) capability, which was based on Boyd's work, which the YF-16 exemplified.
Whereas, the YF-17 was originally designed as an F-104 replacement and was running behind the YF-16, in terms of being ready for the fly-off.
As such, there was a problem with the YF-17s horizontal tails that didn't allow it to take complete advantage of it's maneuvering capability.
Having said that, in the close in dogfight there wasn't anything that could touch the YF-17.
By the same token, the YF-16 was definitely superior in the energy maneuvering regime.
In fact, both prototypes were so maneuverable that the Air Force wouldn't allow them to dogfight the F-15.