Blogs From The Zoo
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Several FN members have claimed that Tom Brady's four-interception season was the product of short, safe passes, augmented with yards after the catch. But I have yet to see anyone back up those claims with statistical evidence.

Initially I intended to create a throwdown defending Brady. However, after accumulating the data, I don't believe that the results helped Brady's cause. So I decided to scrap the throwdown in favor of sharing some homemade stats. You guys can make your own assessment.

The first stat I looked at was Tom Brady's yards per attempt. He finished the 2010 season with a 7.9 YPA, the 2nd highest single-season YPA of his career. That fact alone caused me to assume Brady's criticism was unmerited. But the total YPA doesn't tell the whole story - it includes yards after catch.

For the sake of image size within this blog, I limited my charts to 32 quarterbacks - the quarterback with the most pass attempts per team appears on the chart. Therefore a few notable QBs were left off the chart: Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Vince Young, etc.

On the charts shown below you will see a new column added, labeled "Air Yards" (I didn't make that name up myself). Air Yards are simply the quarterbacks total passing yards without yards after catch. Or, expressed mathematically:

Total Yards - Yards After Catch = Air Yards

Now onto the charts...

Yards per Attempt

The total YPA is nothing new. But I added the chart to keep everything in perspective. Tom Brady finished with the 5th highest YPA in the NFL last year.

Yards After Catch per Attempt

These are the numbers that I was really after. No sports site had them, so I had calculate them on Excel. As you will see, Brady finished the season with 4.08 YAC per attempt. Out of the 32 quarterbacks who threw the most pass attempts for their respective team last year, Brady ranked #4 on this list.

Air Yards per Attempt

Out of pure curiosity, considering I had gotten this far, I calculated the "Air Yards" per pass attempt. You will see that Brady ranked #17 on this list.

In Summary

As stated above, I had approached this topic with the intent to defend Tom Brady. But after reviewing the stats, I expect you can see why I simply could not do that. This is not to say that I agree with the criticism Brady receives; a 0.8% interception percentage is impressive anyway you twist it. But it does seem to support the critics stance more than it negates it.

Is it a fair assessment to claim that Brady's four-interception performance was the product of short, safe passes? I'll let you decide.

June 19, 2011  09:41 PM ET

I had to cut out some stuff in the middle because FanNation flagged it as "spam" when I credited the website where I pulled my QB YAC statistics from.

Ironically, FanNation has a link to that same website located in the bottom right-hand corner of this very screen.

June 19, 2011  09:53 PM ET

I think the yards after catch is a good stat for the QB. I don;t care how far the QB throws it as long as he puts the WR in a position to make a play.

This help shows how good Rodgers is at placing the ball in a place were(or is it where?) his WR can ran after they catch it since the Packers offfense was 30th in broken tackles. Same with Brady.

Also Brady is near Brees and Manning in Air Yards so it shows that they don;t throw that far either.

June 20, 2011  01:35 AM ET

Bears.

June 20, 2011  07:17 AM ET

I like it. Air yards per completion would be interesting because it would show how far they actually threw the ball. Any "per completion" stat is more of an efficiency metric than a performance metric.

Sam Bradford's air yards... Wow.

June 20, 2011  07:22 AM ET

A second chart could show a two- variable scatter plot of air yards per attempt vs. Completion pct. The qbs that can throw long and complete passes are truly the league's best.

June 20, 2011  01:52 PM ET

His 4-interception season was a product of his correct recognition of the defenses he faced and successfully taking what they gave him. He is, HOF good at it!

June 20, 2011  02:03 PM ET
QUOTE(#1):

I had to cut out some stuff in the middle because FanNation flagged it as "spam" when I credited the website where I pulled my QB YAC statistics from.Ironically, FanNation has a link to that same website located in the bottom right-hand corner of this very screen.

Best way to get past that

Select all your blog, copy it, then delete it except for roughly one line Publish the blog. Then, after publishing, click "edit post" and paste everything back into the blog

June 20, 2011  10:24 PM ET

Anything that prevents a defense for Tom Brady is fine with me.

Interesting read (Un).

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June 21, 2011  10:00 PM ET
QUOTE(#12):

Un,great stuff!,but i think yer graphic presentaion intimidated alot of posters[it did me]

The stats are the blog. Everything else is filler!

June 22, 2011  01:03 PM ET

Un here is a list of Qb's with the percent of pass they attempted that were thrown for less than 10 yards. So the higher the percent the safer the throws the made. A lot of Brady's throws were thrown 10 or less yards.

Name Attempts Att<10yards Pct<10yards
Jason Campbell 329 249 75.68%
Jimmy Clausen 299 223 74.58%
Jon Kitna 318 237 74.53%
Sam Bradford 590 439 74.41%
Tony Romo 213 155 72.77%
Tom Brady 492 354 71.95%
Donovan McNabb 472 335 70.97%
Chad Henne 490 347 70.82%
Matt Schaub 574 406 70.73%
Drew Brees 658 462 70.21%
Matt Hasselbeck 444 309 69.59%
Brett Favre 358 241 67.32%
David Garrard 366 244 66.67%
Alex Smith 342 227 66.37%
Mark Sanchez 507 336 66.27%
Colt McCoy 222 147 66.22%
Carson Palmer 586 386 65.87%
Peyton Manning 679 447 65.83%
Matt Ryan 571 375 65.67%
Matt Cassel 450 290 64.44%
Ryan Fitzpatrick 441 284 64.40%
Aaron Rodgers 475 305 64.21%
Jay Cutler 432 277 64.12%
Eli Manning 539 343 63.64%
Joe Flacco 489 310 63.39%
Josh Freeman 474 299 63.08%
Kerry Collins 278 175 62.95%
Shaun Hill 416 261 62.74%
Kyle Orton 498 309 62.05%
Michael Vick 372 230 61.83%
Ben Roethlisberger 389 235 60.41%
Phillip Rivers 541 325 60.07%
Derek Anderson 327 192 58.72%

June 22, 2011  01:03 PM ET

Now that just looks like a mess. Looked neat before I posted it.

June 22, 2011  06:28 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

Un here is a list of Qb's with the percent of pass they attempted that were thrown for less than 10 yards. So the higher the percent the safer the throws the made. A lot of Brady's throws were thrown 10 or less yards. Name Attempts Att<10yards Pct<10yardsJason Campbell 329 249 75.68%Jimmy Clausen 299 223 74.58%Jon Kitna 318 237 74.53%Sam Bradford 590 439 74.41%Tony Romo 213 155 72.77%Tom Brady 492 354 71.95%Donovan McNabb 472 335 70.97%Chad Henne 490 347 70.82%Matt Schaub 574 406 70.73%Drew Brees 658 462 70.21%Matt Hasselbeck 444 309 69.59%Brett Favre 358 241 67.32%David Garrard 366 244 66.67%Alex Smith 342 227 66.37%Mark Sanchez 507 336 66.27%Colt McCoy 222 147 66.22%Carson Palmer 586 386 65.87%Peyton Manning 679 447 65.83%Matt Ryan 571 375 65.67%Matt Cassel 450 290 64.44%Ryan Fitzpatrick 441 284 64.40%Aaron Rodgers 475 305 64.21%Jay Cutler 432 277 64.12%Eli Manning 539 343 63.64%Joe Flacco 489 310 63.39%Josh Freeman 474 299 63.08%Kerry Collins 278 175 62.95%Shaun Hill 416 261 62.74%Kyle Orton 498 309 62.05%Michael Vick 372 230 61.83%Ben Roethlisberger 389 235 60.41%Phillip Rivers 541 325 60.07%Derek Anderson 327 192 58.72%

I like that stat. Where'd you find it?

June 22, 2011  10:38 PM ET
QUOTE(#16):

I like that stat. Where'd you find it?

I just did the player splits on ESPN player profile. Here is a link to Brady's:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/splits/_/id/2330/tom-brady

It's under "By Pass Play"

November 19, 2011  06:39 PM ET

A great QB creates scoring and limits turnovers. Brady does that, so bagging on his TD/INT numbers makes no sense. And yes I realize that this is waayy late to the discussion

 
November 24, 2011  09:42 AM ET
QUOTE(#18):

A great QB creates scoring and limits turnovers. Brady does that, so bagging on his TD/INT numbers makes no sense. And yes I realize that this is waayy late to the discussion

But appreciated, nonetheless.

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