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NY Jets: Giving It Away

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It's been almost ten years.  For some of our younger readers it may be so long ago that you have few coherent memories of it. There was a time when a quarterback by the name of Chad Pennington took snaps for the Jets.  A time when the Jets were not perennially one of the most generous teams in the NFL, charitably giving the ball to their opponents on a weekly basis.

Pennington could not stay healthy, and the Jets moved on after the 2007 season.  Since 2007 the Jets have been the most charitable team in the NFL.  One after another quarterback has taken snaps for the Jets in the last decade, from a Hall of Fame quarterback like Brett Favre to guys who never had any business playing in the NFL like Matt Simms. There have been high draft picks and low draft picks and undrafted quarterbacks. There have been guys with howitzers for arms and guys who couldn't break a pane of glass.  There have been run first guys and pocket passers.  Through the past decade more than a dozen different quarterbacks have thrown passes for the Jets, and other than the green and white uniforms, they have shared but one thing: they have all been unusually generous with the ball.

It's been almost ten years since Chad Pennington threw his last pass for the Jets during the ill fated 2007 season.  In the last decade the Jets have thrown more interceptions than any other team in the NFL.  The Jets have the dubious distinction of having led the NFL in interceptions twice in the last ten years.  Three other times they have been in the top (or should we say bottom?) five of the league in interceptions thrown. Never in the last decade have the Jets finished better than 12th.  It all adds up to the sorry total of 192 interceptions thrown by the Jets over the last ten years, more than any other team in the NFL by eight interceptions.  The two stingiest teams in the NFL over that time have been the Patriots and the Packers, both with all time great quarterbacks at the helm the large majority of snaps.  The Jets over the past decade, with a spirit of generosity that knows no bounds, have thrown one more interception than the Patriots and Packers combined.

With such a history of giving the ball away the remarkable thing is the Jets have still managed as many winning seasons (four) as losing seasons in the last decade.  One wonders just how successful the Jets could have been if they could just protect the ball.  The only season in the last decade in which the Jets placed in the top 12 NFL teams in terms of fewest interceptions thrown was 2010.  It is perhaps not a coincidence that 2010 was the best Jets team since 1998.

Here is the full list of all NFL teams with the number of interceptions thrown over the last ten years.  It should come as little surprise that with a few notable exceptions like the Giants the teams with fewer interceptions thrown have a high correlation with sustained success. If the Jets are ever to emerge as a perennial contender a good place to start would be to become a whole lot stingier with the ball.

Team

Interceptions

.

Patriots

88

Packers

103

49ers

118

Seahawks

127

Chiefs

128

Falcons

135

Broncos

141

Steelers

141

Ravens

144

Redskins

144

Vikings

144

Titans

146

Dolphins

147

Chargers

148

Cowboys

149

Bengals

152

Panthers

153

Colts

154

Bills

155

Texans

155

Jaguars

157

Eagles

159

Saints

159

Raiders

161

Buccaneers

162

Rams

165

Browns

169

Giants

173

Lions

177

Bears

182

Cardinals

184

Jets

192