When I get bored, I do sports quizzes. It’s a strange hobby, but hey, it’s mine.
Anyways, I was searching for quizzes and came across this one
The premise of it was pretty cool. I had to match up various critiques/praises to the quarterback they were talking about.
So I’m going through, matching quarterbacks, and I come across this.
Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, and Tom Brady were the three quarterbacks listed below.
Despite not thinking that this quote matched any of the three, I picked Drew Brees. Wrong. Carson Palmer. Wrong. That leaves only one QB, Tom Brady.
My knee-jerk reaction: Here’s ESPN trying to bury Brady even further than they already have. That was not the case.
Upon further inspection, I realized that NFL GM’s had submitted the quotes. GM’s know what they’re talking about. If they say Brady’s slipping physically and with his accuracy, there’s probably some truth there, right?
Nope. I couldn’t take that for an answer. The Patriot fan in me wouldn’t allow it. I had to do some research.
When talking about a quarterback’s accuracy, the stat most commonly used is completion percentage (cmp%). However, while digging through stats, I found that the percentage of times intercepted when attempting to pass (Int%) tells a lot about quarterbacks as well.
In 2015, Tom Brady’s cmp% was 64.4%, twelfth in the NFL. That isn’t great. But other factors that have to be taken account. Ahead of Tom Brady in cmp%, there are only two quarterbacks who attempted more passes (Brady 624), Drew Brees (627) and Phillip Rivers (661). Kirk Cousins, the 2015 leader in cmp% (69.8) only attempted 543 passes. Besides Brees and Rivers, most guys in that top twelve are right around Cousins when it comes to pass attempts. It is substantially easier to have a higher completion percentage than Tom Brady when you attempt from 80-100 less passes.
Both Brees and Rivers did have higher completion percentages than Brady while too attempting more passes. I’d love to be able to make the argument that Brady’s cmp% was the best in the league when stripped down and other factors are removed, but I cannot. Regardless, Brees and Rivers are two franchise quarterbacks, not bad company for Brady.
When it comes to Int% though, no one can touch Tom Brady. In 2015, Brady was intercepted on only 1.1% of his pass attempts. That’s insane. Especially when you look at the second half of last season. From Week 8 on, the Patriots’ receiving corps was in shambles. Injuries to Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Rob Gronkowski left Tom Brady with severely limited options. To only get picked on 1.1% of your throws when your number one option is Keshawn Martin is incredible. And it certainly doesn’t show any significant decrease in his accuracy. In fact, it shows the exact opposite.
However, it is easy to compare Tom Brady to the rest of the league. There’s an obvious parity there. So let’s compare Brady to the best, himself.
Over the course of his career, Brady’s cmp% has been 63.6. His 2015 cmp% was 64.6, and it climbed from 2014 (64.1) which climbed from 60.5 in 2013. The unnamed NFL GM said that “the accuracy of his throws has really decreased.” That statement just does not make sense. His cmp% has climbed two years in a row, and it’s been greater than his career average both times.
Similar to the comparison to the rest of the NFL, the Int% stat is important here. As was said earlier, his 2015 Int% was 1.1. That’s the second best number of his career. The only season he had a better Int% was 2010 (0.8), the year he was named unanimous MVP. There’s not much to say beyond that.
The only thing I can think the GM was talking about was his deep ball. It’s been apparent for the past two seasons that Brady struggles with long distance throws, but when did he have a lethal deep ball? 2007? Sure, but when Randy Moss is always five yards behind the coverage, it’s easy to air it out because you know he’s going to get that ball. The Patriots offense has always been built around dink and dunk passes, not sixty yard bombs.
Obviously there are a ton of advanced statistics that could probably paint a better picture of Brady’s accuracy. But I’m a football fan with a computer, not a mathematician, and what stats I do have paint a good picture. His accuracy isn’t slipping.
And just for good measure, watch this video. Not just about accuracy but you’ll enjoy it anyways.