Yesterday we talked about underrated stats in football. Today let's talk about overrated stats. What do you think is the most overrated stat people use to evaluate players?
I'm going on the defensive side of the ball for this one. It's interceptions. This is the number one stat people use to talk about the quality of a pass defender, but it doesn't do a good job of determining quality. A defender who plays every snap will drop into coverage over 500 times in the course of a season. Picking off 5 passes would have put a player into the top ten in the league. So if you pick off 5 out of 100 passes, are you a good defender? How do you perform on the other 495 plus plays? Are they irrelevant?
Cornerbacks go up against wide receivers. If a guy like Brandon Marshall hauls in over 100 passes, you know he has won his matchup an awful lot. If a guy picks off 5 passes, for all we know he might have been beaten, and the quarterback underthrew the ball.
Many times in coverage, the top guys don't even get the opportunity to intercept a pass. If you lock down a guy, the quarterback is going to throw in another direction.
I'm not sure there is a perfect statistical way to judge coverage quality, but surely interceptions are not the way.