Tom Brady

While total interceptions and interception percentage are always a good way to see how well a quarterback handles the ball, the adjusted interceptions formula gives us a clearer version of who are the more responsible and careless passers in the NFL, as rookies Andrew Luck and Brandon Weeden tend towards the latter, while Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers seem to be the safest players to entrust the football with.

In order to give NFL fans a more accurate view of who throws more bad passes, the folks at Football Outsiders added a few factors to their interception count, adding in bad throws, bad defensive plays in what should have been an interception or good passes messed up by receivers, ending up as interceptions.

A: Plays where the quarterback only escaped an interception because the defender couldn’t hold onto the ball, aka dropped interceptions. B: Subtracting plays where the interception is tipped to the defender by a receiver who should have caught the pass. C: Subtracting Hail Mary interceptions as well as interceptions thrown in desperation on fourth down in the final 2:00 of a game.

The following table lists adjusted interceptions for all quarterbacks with at least 200 pass attempts. Note that the average quarterback’s adjusted interception rate is 0.8 percent higher than his actual interception rate.

PlayerTeamINTHM/
End Q4
Drop/
Def INT
Tip INTAdj INTPass Att
(no DPI)
INT RateAdj Rate
14-R.LindleyARI702091714.1%5.3%
3-B.WeedenCLE160100265173.1%5.0%
19-J.SkeltonARI9120102004.5%5.0%
8-M.HasselbeckTEN5060112212.3%5.0%
12-A.LuckIND181141306202.9%4.8%
6-M.SanchezNYJ18052214524.0%4.6%
6-J.CutlerCHI14060204353.2%4.6%
7-C.HenneJAC11360143053.6%4.6%
10-E.ManningNYG15090245362.8%4.5%
5-J.FreemanTB17081245563.1%4.3%
14-R.FitzpatrickBUF16050215033.2%4.2%
9-N.FolesPHI5082112641.9%4.2%
10-J.LockerTEN11141133153.5%4.1%
PlayerTeamINTHM/
End Q4
Drop/
Def INT
Tip INTAdj INTPass Att
(no DPI)
INT RateAdj Rate
7-M.VickPHI10040143492.9%4.0%
9-T.RomoDAL19181256462.9%3.9%
7-C.PonderMIN12070194842.5%3.9%
7-M.CasselKC12123102704.4%3.7%
14-A.DaltonCIN16151195253.0%3.6%
3-C.PalmerOAK14082205642.5%3.5%
9-D.BreesNO19183236672.8%3.4%
17-P.RiversSD15140185262.9%3.4%
17-R.TannehillMIA13030164822.7%3.3%
5-J.FlaccoBAL1007*0175311.9%3.2%
9-M.StaffordDET17071237232.4%3.2%
1-C.NewtonCAR12030154842.5%3.1%
9-B.QuinnKC810161984.0%3.0%
PlayerTeamINTHM/
End Q4
Drop/
Def INT
Tip INTAdj INTPass Att
(no DPI)
INT RateAdj Rate
3-R.WilsonSEA10152123972.5%3.0%
7-B.RoethlisbergerPIT8050134431.8%2.9%
8-M.SchaubHOU1203*0155442.2%2.8%
7-C.KaepernickSF303062181.4%2.8%
2-M.RyanATL1403*1166152.3%2.6%
10-R.GriffinWAS5050103951.3%2.5%
18-P.ManningDEN11030145811.9%2.4%
11-A.SmithSF500052192.3%2.3%
8-S.BradfordSTL13100125442.4%2.2%
11-B.GabbertJAC601162782.2%2.2%
12-A.RodgersGB8041115511.5%2.0%
4-K.KolbARI300031831.6%1.6%
12-T.BradyNE805*3106341.3%1.6%

Andrew Luck, as you all can see, is quite a way off the numbers posted by Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III, both also enjoying very impressive rookie seasons. Luck led the league in dropped interceptions in 2012, showing more proof to the efficiency gap between him, Wilson and Griffin. Luck had 18 interceptions, the second-highest total in the NFL, and also had 14 dropped picks. Wilson had just 10 picks and five dropped picks, while Griffin had five of each. Luck’s total of 14 dropped interceptions is the second-highest season total since 2007, behind only Mark Sanchez’s 15 for 2010.

While quarterbacks like Sam Bradford, Brady Quinn, Matt Cassel, Blaine Gabbert, and Kevin Kolb weren’t as bad according to these numbers as some total numbers or win-loss records tend to show, Brady and Rodgers, followed by Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan, seem to be in a class of their own when it comes to taking care of the football, and are regarded as the best quarterbacks in the NFL for a good reason.

Stats