Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady have avoided pick-sixes like no other quarterbacks

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The list of the quarterbacks with the most pick-sixes in NFL history is a list of Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers: Brett Favre is first with 31, Dan Marino and Joe Namath are tied for second with 28, and Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are tied for fourth with 27.

It might seem surprising that great quarterbacks threw the most pick-sixes, but it shouldn’t be. Bad quarterbacks get benched long before they have a chance to throw two dozen pick-sixes. You have to be great to play long enough to get that record. (Career records for bad plays are usually owned by Hall of Famers in all sports: Reggie Jackson struck out the most times in MLB history and Karl Malone has the most turnovers in NBA history.)

Pro Football Reference recently updated its pick-six data and now has every quarterback’s pick-six stats going back to 1950, and that serves as a reminder of how many great quarterbacks threw a lot of pick-sixes. But it also serves as a reminder of two great quarterbacks who stand out for how few pick-sixes they’ve thrown.

Aaron Rodgers has thrown just two pick-sixes in his career, while attempting 5,492 passes. That’s an incredibly low ratio; Rodgers is in the all-time Top 20 quarterbacks in total passes thrown, and everyone else in the Top 20 has thrown at least 10 pick-sixes.

Tom Brady also has a very low total, relative to his spot on the attempts leaderboard. Brady is fourth in NFL history with 9,375 pass attempts. But Brady has thrown a pick-six just 13 times. Everyone else in the Top 5 in attempts has thrown more than twice as many pick-sixes as Brady.

Throwing a lot of pick-sixes doesn’t make a quarterback bad. But throwing few of them is undeniably good. The pick-six is the worst play a quarterback can make, and Rodgers and Brady have avoided them like no one else.

66 responses to “Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady have avoided pick-sixes like no other quarterbacks

  1. Rodgers won’t do anything to hurt his stats, even if it means the Packers chance of winning is a bit lower.

    Brady is trying to win and won’t throw a pick for that reason, but he does not care about his stats when deciding what to do.

  2. “Rodgers won’t do anything to hurt his stats, even if it means the Packers chance of winning is a bit lower.”
    ——————————————–

    Call me naive but throwing pick sixes never help any team to win.

  3. Rodgers won’t do anything to hurt his stats, even if it means the Packers chance of winning is a bit lower.

    Brady is trying to win and won’t throw a pick for that reason, but he does not care about his stats when deciding what to do
    —–
    Don’t even known where to begin on this one. How anyone can claim to know their motivations is beyond ridiculous. Just give props man.

  4. One wins, other tries for commercials
    —–
    Would just like to point out that you have to go back to 1987 for your team equal the number of playoff victories that Rodgers has. Kind of puts your constant trash talk in perspective.

  5. The only big difference and it is a big one is that Erin(as a starter) has only one SB ring in eleven seasons. Please don’t try to adjust your sets, eleven is the correct number.

  6. Rodgers avoids pick-6s like Lombardis. Great passer rating though. Throws a great Hail Mary.

  7. pkrlvr says:
    June 29, 2019 at 12:52 pm
    One wins, other tries for commercials
    —–
    Would just like to point out that you have to go back to 1987 for your team equal the number of playoff victories that Rodgers has. Kind of puts your constant trash talk in perspective.
    ———————————————————————————–

    I keep trying to understand this gibberish. I give up. You win.

  8. It gets more interesting when you look at playoff performances. Tom Brady has thrown just one pick-6 in 40 playoff games. Peyton Manning threw four pick-sixes in 27 playoff games. Joe Montana threw three in 23 playoff games. Even with the new rules added in with each passing decade, what Brady has accomplished is so unreal.

  9. Brady also has 35 Q4 comebacks. Aaron only has 14 and none are against teams that were above 500 going into that game, so there’s a big risk/reward factor involved. Also note that although Peyton Manning has one more Q4 comeback than Brady, he had 27 pick-sixes.

    Btw, PFF also disagrees with Simms, ranking Brady #1 QB (followed by Mahomes, Brees, Rodgers, Luck, then Wilson). I’d have been cool with #3 but guess they know more than me.

  10. cylondetector says:
    June 29, 2019 at 2:06 pm
    Nathan Peterman has his eye firmly fixed on this accolade – he’ll probably get there in about 5 more starts!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    That’s if Peterman gets 5 more starts…

    The one that jumped off the list for me is Josh Rosen with 4 in 1 year.

  11. Brady’s offense is probably more prone to throws being picked off than Rodgers offense so it is not surprising Brady has a few more pick 6’s, but you have to break a few eggs when cooking those Lombardi omelettes. I also think that Brady’s consistent forays deep into the playoffs against the best defenses in the biggest games may contribute to this.

  12. Rodgers should have fewer interceptions. Many of his interceptions came off deflections, and weren’t really his fault. Maybe there should be another category for deflected balls?

  13. FootballSeasonRules says:
    June 29, 2019 at 2:12 pm
    It gets more interesting when you look at playoff performances. Tom Brady has thrown just one pick-6 in 40 playoff games. Peyton Manning threw four pick-sixes in 27 playoff games. Joe Montana threw three in 23 playoff games. Even with the new rules added in with each passing decade, what Brady has accomplished is so unreal.

    25 5 Rate This

    ———————

    And that 1 postseason “pick 6” was actually a touchback when champ bailey fumbled over the pylon after ben watson chased him down.

  14. tylawspick6 says:
    June 29, 2019 at 3:48 pm
    FootballSeasonRules says:
    June 29, 2019 at 2:12 pm
    It gets more interesting when you look at playoff performances. Tom Brady has thrown just one pick-6 in 40 playoff games. Peyton Manning threw four pick-sixes in 27 playoff games. Joe Montana threw three in 23 playoff games. Even with the new rules added in with each passing decade, what Brady has accomplished is so unreal.
    25 5 Rate This
    ———————
    And that 1 postseason “pick 6” was actually a touchback when champ bailey fumbled over the pylon after ben watson chased him down.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sorry Ty, that’s not a pick 6 – you are overlooking SB LI against Atlanta.

  15. When you only throw 5 yard slant passes like Brady does, it lowers the odds tremendously

  16. Both of Rodgers’ pick sixes have been to players named Jackson – The Bucs’ Tenard in 2009 and Bengals’ William in 2017. I predict he finds three more Jacksons and ends on a Jackson 5.

    And for the yahoos saying his pick sixes get called back because they make up conspiracies – that’s only happened twice too.

  17. thermanmerman99 says:
    June 29, 2019 at 4:20 pm
    When you only throw 5 yard slant passes like Brady does, it lowers the odds tremendously
    ———————————-
    How then would you explain his insane yards totals? Salty much 🙂

  18. markpackman says:
    June 29, 2019 at 2:39 pm
    Rodgers should have fewer interceptions. Many of his interceptions came off deflections, and weren’t really his fault. Maybe there should be another category for deflected balls?
    ———————————————–
    The same can be said for the vast majority of QBs, great or not. Tell you what, you research how many interceptions/pick sixes came from deflections for, say, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, and get back to us. Unless, of course, you only want to remove deflections from Aaron Rodgers stats and not everyone else, too.

  19. An obvious reason why Rodgers’ ratio is better than Brady’s is that after the interception, the Packers have 11 defenders – the Patriots only have 10. An athletic qb who ran a 4.71 Combine 40 is an asset in this situation – a qb who ran 5.28 Combine 40 is, at best, a non-factor.

  20. Pssst.. A QB throws the football and does it from the pocket. Scared QBs, well they run. Check out Bradys cone time and compare it to DK Metcalf,he is athletic enough.

  21. An athletic qb who ran a 4.71 Combine 40 is an asset in this situation – a qb who ran 5.28 Combine 40 is, at best, a non-factor.

    ——-

    How many pic sixes did Aaron Rodgers prevent by tackling the defender?

  22. Part of that is luck. I’ve seen at least five passes from Rodgers and Brady that should’ve been taken to the house, but the defender dropped the interception. That’s just the games that I’ve seen. I’m sure there’s been more. I’m not trying to discredit either guy, but it’s true.

  23. “How many pic sixes did Aaron Rodgers prevent by tackling the defender?”

    Go watch the 2010 NFC Championship game you doofus. Rodgers made a championship saving tackle on a future hall-of-famer.

  24. thermanmerman99 says: June 29, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    When you only throw 5 yard slant passes like Brady does, it lowers the odds tremendously

    ——————-

    Uh, do you know football at all? The short/intermediate passes are the easiest to undercut, pick off and return for a touchdown. It’s the deep bombs that are least likely to be returned for 6.

  25. Pssst.. A QB throws the football and does it from the pocket. Scared QBs, well they run. Check out Bradys cone time and compare it to DK Metcalf,he is athletic enough.
    —————————————————
    Aaron Rodgers is a superb pocket passer, PLUS, he’s an excellent scrambler as needed, AND a very good runner. Re the apples to kumquats analogy by referring to Metcalf, there is some fear that other than his great body and 4.33 Combine 40, some of his drills suggest a guy that’s not as quick and agile as the top receivers need to be – that he may be just a straight line guy.

  26. Every time I read about the Packers lately, the message I receive is “win.”

  27. Liberalsruineverything says:
    June 29, 2019 at 1:06 pm
    The league gives marching orders on how to officiate Packer games so typically the pick 6s get called back.
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Is that true?!?!?!

    Sweet!!!!!!!!!

  28. ThTs great!! And they have how many championships?? Oh yeah whatever Tom Brady has plus one 😂😂😂😂😂😂 Brady >>>>>>>>>> Rodgers

  29. Go watch the 2010 NFC Championship game you doofus.

    ——

    So that would be one?

    __

    Yeah that would be one Pick 6 saving tackle for a man, one Super Bowl championship for the Green Bay Packers

  30. Thanks to low risk routes in the Patriots offense. Some teams do the opposite, the Giants are perfect example of high risk, high reward offense.

  31. Lotta ripping on rogers. He’s not in brady’s league as a fiekd general and team leader (i.e. qb) but gotta give him credit for great record of taking care of the ball. In a way simms does rogers a disservice with his convoluted logic.

  32. Just off the typo of my head, Brady threw a pick to Bills DT Sam Adams, Bills CB Drayton Florence and Bills safety Jordan Poyer.

  33. I am pretty sure that Rodgers is not the reason that ALL of his WR are tall and fast, so that Rodgers can throw a lot near goal lines to boost his stats.

  34. BTW, I believe Rodgers can’t even remember complicated designs of plays, like the one below mention by SI:
    “This is where McCarthy is getting victimized. A great illustration of Rodgers’s unevenness came two weeks ago in Green Bay’s win over Miami. The Packers faced a 4th-and-2 near midfield. The Dolphins are a zone D that almost always plays nickel. Knowing their nickel would keep two linebackers on the field, McCarthy put in a fourth receiver and aligned Davante Adams in the backfield, so their top weapon could run his route against those overmatched linebackers. Adams did, breaking open on a short-angle route right in Rodgers’s immediate line of vision. The play worked perfectly. And Rodgers, for reasons not even Sigmund Freud could figure out, tried to break down and extend the play. A quick-strike play like this can’t be extended, though, and naturally, the protection cracked and Rodgers was sacked.”

  35. patsfan4lifesbchamps says:
    June 29, 2019 at 7:12 pm
    Thanks to low risk routes in the Patriots offense. Some teams do the opposite, the Giants are perfect example of high risk, high reward offense.

    =====================================

    really. the giants offense is more like high risk no reward. also i see more short passes taken back bc half the offense is up the field and unable to tackle a guy going the other way on a pass picked closer to the line of scrimmage.

  36. “but gotta give him credit for great record of taking care of the ball.”
    _____________________________

    The issue is how many games you expect to win if your QB routinely struggles for 30 minutes?

    Not mention that he can throw a lot near goal lines because ALL of his WR are 6+ feet except Randall Cobb.

    So his stats is inflated because of his supporting casts and at the cost of Ws.

  37. BTW, I believe Rodgers can’t even remember complicated designs of plays
    ———————————————————————————————–
    Let no straw go not grasped! Higher Wonderlich score, Brady or Rodgers? That would be Rodgers.

  38. “Brady or Rodgers? That would be Rodgers.”
    ——————–
    #1, why would I pick a QB who can’t score even 380 points without Jordy Nelson, even though he has Davante Adams.

    #2, why would I pick a QB whose offense is so predictable that a 14 year old knows what he will do even before games start? (don’t blame it on McCarthy, Packers can hire an army of OC for Rodgers).

    #3, why would I pick a QB whose O-linemen joked that they had to “hold to infinity”?

  39. Here is what Rodgers O-line has to do to protect Rodgers :
    ————————————–

    it was getting a little frustrating because you’d block for 7, 8 seconds and he’d scramble around and throw the ball out of bounds
    ………………………
    The linemen joke that their job is to “block to infinity.”
    …………..
    In addition to the obvious challenge of protecting that long, Lang said not knowing exactly where Rodgers is creates issues, too.
    ………..
    “You read the defense, read their eyes, their body language, kind of tell when Aaron’s going to break the pocket, which way he’s moving,” Lang explained. “And (then) you just try to hold on, stay in front of your guy and give him a split extra second because, especially lately, you see some of our biggest, most important plays are coming off those extended plays.

  40. Did someone honestly just compare wonderlic scores to settle which quarterback has the higher football IQ? Wow. Just wow. I never knew quarterbacking quality was so easy to predict from a combine gimmick. That must be why teams always hit on their top QB picks… oh wait.

  41. Thats an incredible stat. I wonder how may times manning got picked by ty law and joey porter. He really crushed some souls with those pick 6s. I still have a drinking problem from the 2009 sb.

  42. Rodgers hates interceptions so much he will only throw to open guys
    If his receivers have cover, he tosses ball out of bounds in frustration,no yards gained, loss of down.
    His game has gone to he’ll without the deep threat Jordy Nelson presented. Jordy was his savior.

  43. Obviously, QBs who throw lots of interceptions tend to hurt their teams, as interceptions are harmful plays. But QBs who never throw interceptions are probably also hurting their teams, because they are playing so risk-averse that they end up missing many makeable plays. (A good analogy is third-base coaches – if they are constantly getting runners thrown out at home, that’s bad, but if they never get a runner thrown out at home, that’s bad, too, because they’ve certainly failed to score some runs that could have scored.)

    I know that people have accused Rodgers of playing to protect his stats. I’ve not seen enough Packers games to really have an opinion on that. I have seen, I think, every pass Brady’s ever thrown, and I have never had a sense that he’s protecting his stats that way. He’s careful with the ball, but always looking for a play to make – at least, that’s my sense of it…

  44. pkrlvr says:
    June 29, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Rodgers won’t do anything to hurt his stats, even if it means the Packers chance of winning is a bit lower.

    Brady is trying to win and won’t throw a pick for that reason, but he does not care about his stats when deciding what to do
    —–
    Don’t even known where to begin on this one. How anyone can claim to know their motivations is beyond ridiculous. Just give props man.
    ____________________________
    Look at their respective records for come-from-behind in the fourth quarter wins. That should convince even the most skeptical that one will do whatever it takes to win (stats be damned) and one won’t.

  45. Brady avoids them with actual talent running an NFL offense.

    Erwin Wawgers avoids them using free plays where he gets a do-over when he makes a mistake. He is a shameful example of a pathetic man who cannot run a real offense without resorting to getting free plays off of defensive mistakes. I wish I could look back and do research on how much of his career stats have been padded from free plays. It is like a sock put down to prove how much of a man you aren’t.

  46. thejetssuck2001 says:
    June 29, 2019 at 9:16 pm
    patsfan4lifesbchamps says:
    June 29, 2019 at 7:12 pm
    Thanks to low risk routes in the Patriots offense. Some teams do the opposite, the Giants are perfect example of high risk, high reward offense.

    =====================================

    really. the giants offense is more like high risk no reward. also i see more short passes taken back bc half the offense is up the field and unable to tackle a guy going the other way on a pass picked closer to the line of scrimmage.

    ————

    The QB has to throw the pick first before it can be returned for a pick six. The Patriots offense minimizes those picks with low risk throws.

  47. The highest “reward” in football isn’t a long completion, it’s a Lombardi trophy. Everything the Patriots do is for that one purpose. Not stats, probowls or any other alcolades you can think of. It’s what’s best for the team at that time.

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