31st December 2010
Which player has intercepted which quarterback the most? Who has picked off Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Dan Marino or Joe Montana more than anyone else? Against which quarterbacks did Rod Woodson, Deion Sanders and Mel Blount pad their numbers? Those answers and more, below.
I used the same methodology I used in the most pick-sixes in NFL history post to determine which quarterback threw which interception to each defender. For the purposes of this study, I included all interceptions in any post-season game in league history and interceptions in any regular season games since 1960. For each interception thrown in any of those games, the defensive player was given X/Y interceptions against the quarterback, where X represents the number of interceptions thrown by that quarterback in that game and Y stands for the number of team interceptions thrown by the quarterback's team in that game. As a result, this post is more of an approximation than an exact science.
The leader in quarterback-defensive player pairing interceptions? Over a six-year period, Broncos cornerback Steve Foley terrorized Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts. Foley had two interceptions in a 17-0 shutout against the Chargers in November 1976; Fouts threw two picks while Clint Longley had three more, which means Fouts is blamed for 40% of the two interceptions Foley had that day, or 0.8 INTs. In December '77, with the Orange Crush at full bore, Foley picked off Fouts in a 17-9 Broncos victory. Their next matchup came in September 1978, and Foley intercepted Fouts again in a Denver win. On Monday Night Football in the 1979 season finale, Foley caught two passes from Fouts, only one fewer than Charlie Joiner. Fouts and Air Corywell was running at top speed in 1980, but Foley picked him off in both matchups, first in Denver and then in a road victory in San Diego. Their next meeting came in September '81, and Foley intercepted three Fouts passes. Maybe after that, Fouts learned not to throw the ball in Foley's direction. All told, including the "0.8 interceptions' in that '76 game, and Foley recorded 9.8 interceptions against the Hall of Fame quarterback.
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