New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw nine interceptions over the course of the 2014 season. It marked the third straight season his interception rate (interceptions per pass attempt) was under 2.0%, which is a very strong mark. Brady's nine interceptions on 582 attempts yields a 1.5% interception rate, which puts Brady in a three-way tie for 4th place.
Aaron Rodgers led the league with a 1.0% interception rate, which is just silly, but also makes sense because Rodgers has the lowest career interception rate of all time, minimum 1,500 passes (Brady ranks 2nd all time). Alex Smith and Carson Palmer tied for second place this year with a 1.3% interception rate, while Brady tied with Ben Roethlisberger and Russell Wilson.
Intercepted passes don't always provide the full story, though. Is the quarterback at fault if the wide receiver volleyball sets the football for the defender to pull down? Or should it be ignored when a quarterback throws a football directly into the hands of a cornerback, but they subsequently drop the easy interception?
Football Outsiders took to the tape to figure out the different types of interceptions: the standard interception, the dropped interception, and the tipped interception. They calculate a quarterback's adjusted interception rate by adding the number of dropped interceptions and subtracting those picks that were the fault of the receiver.
Brady's adjusted interceptions increase to 11 because he threw two dropped interceptions. His adjusted interception rate is 1.9% which is still fantastic.
The Patriots quarterback ranks third, instead of tied for fourth, in adjusted interception rate, behind just Rodgers and Smith. Wilson threw six dropped interceptions, while Roethlisberger threw five that were dropped.
Brian Hoyer led the league with nine dropped interceptions- the same number that Brady actually threw over the course of the season. Andrew Luck and Drew Stanton tied for second with eight dropped interceptions. Luck had the most adjusted interceptions over the course of the season, with 23.
Hoyer's adjusted interception rate of 4.5% was the worst of quarterbacks with 400+ attempts, followed by Andy Dalton at 4.4%, both of whom are kind of surprising leaders due to their reputations as game managers. Rookie Blake Bortles came in third with 4.2%, Jay Cutler in fourth at 3.9%, and Luck in fifth at 3.7%.
Brady had a 1.3% adjusted interception rate in 2013, so avoiding ball placement in potential interceptable situations seems to be an actual skill. It's why Brady throws at the feet of his receivers running shallow routes- he doesn't want the defender to have any chance of touching the ball. If he can finish atop the league in adjusted interception rate in 2015, then the Patriots will likely be in a good situation on the year.