Monday, August 04, 2008

Brett Favre Facts

Much has been said about Favre's propensity for throwing interceptions. Yes, he has thrown a lot of interceptions. I have argued it's because he has thrown a lot of passes. More than anyone else as a matter of record. But is Favre more likely to throw interceptions? Answering that question takes some digging.

Unfortunately the finding and running of statistics was a non trivial exercise. I will run through my methodology and then post actual numbers.

Finding career statistics on the internet is very difficult. I ultimately went to pro football reference. Here the career statistics are given for several quarterback catagories. The top 250 QBs in each category was listed.

One problem is that there was not a single table with the statistics of all quarterbacks ever. i was forced to parse the data from each passing category into one table. The next problem is that the top 250 quarterbacks in one category were not the same top 250 in another category.

In all i chose five categories of passing data: attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns, and interceptions. I then produced a single table which had common names in all five of these categories. Of the top 250 quarterbacks in each category, there were 214 quarterbacks in common with the five categories i chose. I'm not sure what that all implies but it does show one thing. 214 quarterbacks with the most interceptions are also on the career leaderboards of the other categories i selected.

First, in yards per attempt Favre ranks 80 with 7.0. Otto Graham is first with 8.9. Hall of Famers behind Favre include Troy Aikman at 90, Arnie Herber at 121, George Blanda at 141, and Jim Finks at 196 with 6.2 yards per attempt.

Next, in TDs per attempt Favre ranks 56 with 5.05%. Sid Luckman is first with 7.86%. HOFers behind Favre include Dan Marino at 58, Jim Kelly at 61, Bart Starr at 69, Joe Namath at 75, Dan Fouts at 77, Warren Moon at 109, John Elway at 120, Jim Finks at 138, and Troy Aikman at 179 with 3.5%.

Last, in INTs per attempt Favre ranks 44 with only 3.29%. I'm pleasantly surprised by that number as i thought he would be much worse and rank far lower. HOFers behind Favre include Warren Moon at 54, Jim Kelly at 72, Roger Staubach at 73, Frank Tarkenton at 99, Dan Fouts at 106, Bart Starr at 110, Sunny Jurgensen at 112, Johnny Unitas at 127, Len Dawson at 128, Bob Griese at 134, Otto Graham at 134, Terry Bradshaw at 154, YA Tittle at 163, Joe Namath at 169, Norm Van Brocklin at 177, Jim Finks at 184, Bobby Layne at 188, Sammy Baugh at 194, George Blanda at 197, Sid Luckman at 205, Bob Waterfield at 209, and Arnie Herber at 214 with 9.02%

Overall, and within the constraints of my methodology, Favre is even better than i thought. The next time someone bitches about interceptions just run off a short list of Hall of Famers who are worse.

Please contact me if you have questions or would like the dataset for your own use.

Creative Commons License
All Original Photos are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. Creative Commons License
All Original writings are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.