One that the most amazing things Dak Prescott has displayed through 5 NFL beginning is his capacity to stop interceptions. Exactly how much of a distinction does the make?


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photograph by Ronald Martinez/Getty pictures
Dak Prescott’s unexpected appearance this year has been among the greatest stories in the NFL. This week, he came down on the covering of sporting activities Illustrated.

One that the main functions of Prescott’s video game is his care of the football. He has actually already set the rookie document of pass attempts without an interception in ~ 155. He’s just seven passes from tying Tom Brady’s document of overcome without an interception to start a career. Prescott also threw 50 passes in the preseason without being picked off. And also he collection a Mississippi State document of 288 overcome without a pick. His only turnover as a Cowboy is a sack-fumble critical week against Cincinnati that had no affect on the outcome of the game, but which likely brought about Dak to beat himself up end his mistake.

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Tony Romo has always been reduced from a different cloth. It’s not as if he desires to turn the round over, however he seemed to come into the NFL earlier in 2006 without being too concerned about it. His first pass as a starter in 2006 to be picked turn off by the Giants, and quickly resulted in a touchdown. His reputation was that he to be a gunslinger, in the image of his fellow-Wisconsin quarterback Brett Favre, who has thrown 59 much more interceptions than any type of quarterback in history. Bill Parcells gave Romo this brand in his publication A football Life.

“If I had actually put in Romo in his very first year and just let that play, the would have actually been the end of football in a year and a half," Parcells said in his book. "He was just a gunslinger. He to be indiscriminate. And also he would do that you simply can’t succeed doing. Yet after a year or two of practicing in the preseason, acquiring his , you might see he had actually a real good chance come come along.”

Even as newly as the 2014 season, Tony Romo won “gunslinger that the year”.

Over time, Tony Romo has actually trended in the best direction once it involves interceptions, with the notable exception of the to reduce 2015 season, when his interception price went with the roof. However he’s never ever come close come the streak of passes without a pick that Dak Prescott has currently put up.

Do this Interceptions Matter? Yes.

Turnovers have actually a significant impact top top winning and losing in the NFL.

There is a optimistic correlation between turnover differential and also winning percentage. We can conclude the 44% of the variation in a team’s winning percentage can be described by their turnover differential. This mirrors that turnovers room not overvalued as soon as it involves winning percentage.

Here’s a table reflecting the to win percentages that NFL teams with a hopeful turnover differential in gamings from 2008-2012.


SEASON12+3 OR MORETOTALWIN PCT.
200866-2846-1244-8-1156-48-10.763
200964-3149-1451-2164-470.777
201066-2749-1057-3172-400.811
201163-3356-937-1156-430.784
201264-30-143-955-3162-42-10.793
TOTAL323-149-1243-54244-17-1810-220-20.786

Needless to say, the groups with an adverse turnover ratios are on the flip side of this numbers.

Quarterback Stats Are affected By Interceptions

The stats gurus in the NFL know this correlation and build it into the vital statistics we use to evaluate quarterbacks. Thus, quarterback stats are dramatically affected by interceptions. Take the typical passer rating formula. It’s a calculation based upon completion percentage, yards every attempt, touchdowns every attempt, and interceptions every attempt. The perfect score is 158.3. Dak Prescott had one of those games in pre-season this year, in the second game against Miami. He to be 12 the 15, for 199 yards, 2 TDs, and also no interceptions. If Dak had thrown one interception, his rating would have actually fallen to 130.56, quiet excellent. Two picks would have dropped it come 102.78, just over where that is now. 3 picks - 75. V passer rating differential being a vital variable in that wins soccer games, this simply confirms that interceptions matter.

Adjusted network yards per attempt is another stat often used to price the power of quarterbacks. Yards every attempt is a very simple division of yards over attempts. The number is readjusted in this stat by four additional factors - touchdowns (each precious 20 extr yards), interceptions (each subtracts 45 yards), sacks, and also yards lost by sacks. The quarterback who wins this race versus the the contrary quarterback additionally usually wins the game. The an essential point? one interception to reduce yardage by more than the bonus yardage awarded for 2 touchdown passes. That’s exactly how much interceptions hurt.

Interceptions (or the lack of them) space the reason that Dak Prescott is running ahead the Tony Romo’s stats native 2014.

Here room Dak’s stats.


WeekQBCmpAttCmp%YdsANY/ATDIntRate
1Prescott254555.60%2275 69.4
2Prescott223073.30%2928.2 103.7
3Prescott192479%24811.11 123.6
4Prescott233271.90%2458.052 114.7
5Prescott182475.00%2279.681 117.9
Total10715569%12397.954 101.52

WeekQBCmpAttCmp%YdsANY/ATDIntRate
1Romo233762.162813.51360.8
2Romo192965.521765.091 93.5
3Romo182378.262179.2121116.8
4Romo222975.8626210.53 137.4
5Romo284168.293247.592198
Total11015969.512606.89598.52

As you deserve to see, Dak is winning at passer rating and ANY/A after five games, regardless of having thrown five fewer touchdowns. If you take it away even one of Romo’s interceptions, he would be tied with Dak in passer rating. If you take it away every one of them, he would be well ahead.

Some Tidbits indigenous This Season

The Cowboys have only had three turnovers this year. Ezekiel Elliott’s fumble versus Washington, Terrance Williams’ fumble versus the Bears, and Dak Prescott’s sack-fumble versus the Bengals. All resulted in points by Dallas’s opponent: 2 touchdowns and also a ar goal. Two of the three likely additionally took points turn off the board for Dallas. Fortunately, nobody of them expense the Cowboys the game.

My last tidbit is the Carson Wentz to be neck and also neck v Dak Prescott top top the rookie “interceptionless” record race till he finally threw one this critical week against Detroit. Assumption: v what? It cost Philadelphia the game.

But let’s get earlier to Tony Romo and also Dak Prescott. How have actually interceptions impacted Tony Romo’s record with the Cowboys?

Tony Romo’s Interception History

To gain at this, I determined to look at at every one of Tony Romo’s starts indigenous 2006 come 2015, and also see what Dallas’ won-loss record was in the games where Tony threw at least one interception matches the ones where he didn’t. No attempt to be made to count the variety of interceptions in each game, or calculate if Dallas won the turnover battle for the game also when Tony to be picked turn off (which may explain some that why the Cowboys have a winning document in games where Tony was intercepted). I simply wanted to check out how often Tony Romo gets picked off, and how it usually correlates to wins and also losses. This is the table.

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YearInt - WinInt - LossNo Int - WinNo Int - Loss
20064421
20071023
20086421
20094372
2010 312
20112562
20123652
20136225
20144281
2015211
Totals41323716

What deserve to we do of this data? First, in games where Romo has actually not thrown one interception, the led the Cowboys to victory 69.8% that the time. That’s no Tom Brady or Russell Wilson turf, yet it’s a far better winning percentage than any other quarterback due to the fact that 1981. In contrast, Tony has actually been maybe to obtain the Cowboys to victory 56.1% of the time as soon as he litter a pick - perhaps among the reasons he doesn’t seem i heard to protect against them. But this is Alex Smith’s to win percentage.

Second, Tony Romo has thrown an interception in 57.9% of the regular season gamings he’s play in over his career. He’s done much better in the playoffs, obtaining picked off twice in 6 games. At the beginning of Romo’s career, that seemed particularly careless. He was picked off in eight the eleven gamings in 2006, ten that thirteen games in 2007, and also nine that twelve in 2008. ~ 2008, Tony cut his picks down to roughly fifty percent of the games and has remained relatively steady at the pace. So, if Tony Romo returns to the field, we can expect the will get picked off in about fifty percent of the games, and also the team will have to fight to conquer those setbacks. How plenty of of those games will the Cowboys lose? If history holds true, around 44% that them.

Conclusion

This is no intended as a scientific analysis, yet it’s however an insightful one.

In comparing these two quarterbacks, countless have talked about how Tony Romo throw a better deep ball, or reads the defense much more skillfully, or deserve to thread the needle with an ext precision. That might be true.

However, is the what wins and also loses football games? aren’t turnovers, or the lack of them, a lot bigger crucial to the outcome of games?

Tony Romo may be a far better passer 보다 Dak Prescott, however if he comes earlier and transforms the round over in much more games than Prescott is likely to, is that the better quarterback for this Dallas Cowboys team?