Previously, previously, previously, previously.
Detached HEAD required a bit more work, of course.
Paper tape always sounded like a good idea to me as a spotty 80s kid trying to load programs from audio cassettes, but I bet it was a nightmare in practice. According to Wikipedia, holes were 1.83mm size at 2.54mm spacing, so you'd need a steady hand to patch. Probably still easier than git, though.
I was dealing with paper tapes in '94-mid '95 or so. I worked for a shop that did embroidery and the machines still used paper tape to transfer the plotted patterns from the (horribly ancien)t compaq 386 the design guy worked on. I did a bunch of digging for them, found a ram upgrade for it (not easy) and got the 3.5" floppy working. It was like a miracle for them, seconds to save and load vs minutes with all the issues of tears, bad reads, etc.
Shortly before I left for my career job, I helped them upgrade to new computers with windows too. Now the design guys could do a lot more work, especially edits, directly on the design on the computer with ease. Plus it was wysiwyg vs crappy dos based graphics.
In the 1970s I used a Data General Nova minicomputer for which paper tape was the only storage medium. To assemble a program, you'd load the bootstrap program using the front panel (one toggle switch per bit), then load the paper tape of the assembler, then load your program, then load your program again (because it's a two-pass assembler). To edit the program, you'd load the paper tape of the editor, then load your program tape and pull in about a page of text. Edit that, punch it to the new tape, pull in the next page, and so on until you reach the end. System software (assembler, editor, a few other things) were on mylar tape, not paper, to survive long-term use. The RUBOUT character (octal 377) was ignored because that's how you would erase an errant keystroke when punching tape offline using a Teletype ASR-33.
People were just more dexterous back then. I once worked with a copy editor who spotted an error in what I had hoped was photo ready copy. Out came her Exacto knife. She cut out some of the text, sliced, diced, grabbed a bottle of rubber cement and pasted the correct letters in the right order. Cut and paste was real back then.