If I had I known the ramifications of Jameis Winston making NFL history with the league's first 30 touchdown-30 interception season (with SEVEN pick 6s) last year, I would not have been laughing so hard at his ability to find the open Mike Linebacker.
It's not that I'm an anti-Jameis guy; not by any means. I don't like crabs and my sister was at FSU while he was. I high key rooted for him, even though I am a diehard Tebow guy. But when someone has a chance to put up as ridiculously funny numbers as Jameis did, you'd be a monster to root against it. He was sooo close to the Brett Favre Triple Crown (a stat I just made up where you lead the NFL in Passing Yards, Touchdowns and Interceptions) finishing only three TDs behind MVP Lamar Jackson.
It may be hard to remember given everything that's happened in the world since last season, but Jameis Winston led the NFL in passing yards and INT (with 30; 7 of which were returned for touchdowns) while still throwing 33 touchdown passes to his own team.
You could make an incredibly strong argument that Jameis' all or nothing, ultimate gun-slinger season was directly related to his poor vision. The legitimate correlation between his interceptions and seriously needing glasses (while not addressing the issue) was right up my alley in the perfect intersection of sports and humor. Jameis' squint and vision problems have been an open secret that's been joked about by thousands since his college days, yet it took until he completed five full NFL seasons to address it.
What's not a joke is the end result of what happened last season. If I had known Jameis' reckless play would directly lead to Tom Brady becoming quarterback of a team who is not the New England Patriots, I would have paid for the Lasik out of my own pocket with a go fund me.
Since the Buccaneers are turning the ball over much less frequently than last year (and when they do, in honor of Jameis, Brady makes sure his INTs are pick 6s) it's not that surprising to see this stat. Although the number of tackles Buccaneers offense players made last year is alarming. (via: CBS Sports IG)
No matter how much analytics may change the game, one old school truth will always ring true; turnovers are the most telling stat when it comes to wins and losses. Obviously, in a one game scenario anything can happen; you can loss the turnover battle and still win a game, but over the course of a season turnovers turn into losses rather quickly.
The 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished 7-9, despite Jameis Winston throwing 30 INT with 7 pick 6s; you don't need Warren Sharp to tell you that if they turned the ball over less in 2020 they'd probably finish with a much better record.
That's why I am so glad I saw that instagram post while taking a dump a few hours ago because it gives me an excuse to blog some of the most bizarre passing stats you'll ever see.
See, I watch a lot of old NFL and AFL documentaries on Youtube and ESPN+ and because of that I have a lot of niche football knowledge floating around my brain that needs to get out and I'm using this as my springboard. It makes perfect sense that the Buccaneers lost more games than they won when Jameis threw THIRTY interceptions, but poor ball security does not always equate to losses. Until like 1982 you could retire with 50 or more INT than TD and make the Hall of Fame with ease; it was a different era. But that shouldn't take away how bizarre these seasons are. I don't care if it's 1920 or 2020, if you turn the ball over seven times you're probably going to lose; although as we'll see shortly that's not always the case! This tackle stat got the gears in my weird brain turning and made me think of two of the strangest QB seasons in NFL history. They both happened by Houston Oiler (R.I.P.). QBs who are more well known for their days in Oakland (R.I.P.).
Ken Stabler, 1980.
Kenny "Snake" Stabler is best remembered as the free-spirit, southpaw QB of the 1970's Oakland Raiders, but in 1980 Snake was the signal caller for Bum Phillip's "Luv Ya Blue" Houston Oilers. In 1978 and '79 the Oilers lost the AFC Championship Game to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers and thought Snake was the missing piece to get them over the top in the next decade.
Houston traded QB Dan Pastorini to the Raiders in exchange for Stabler and ironically it would be the Raiders who won it all in 1980, but it would not be Pastorini leading the silver and black to Super Bowl glory.
The Raiders actually went on to defeat Stabler's Houston Oilers 27-7 in the Wild Card Round en route to the franchise's second Super Bowl title.
Before the playoff game, Kenny Stabler led the Oilers to a super respectable 11-5 regular season. In 16 starts Stabler completed 64.1% of his passes which was good enough to lead the league in competitions for QBs who made 16 starts. (Joe Montana technically lead the NFL with 64.5% but he only made 7 starts).
64.1% completions is solid in today's NFL, but in 1980 that might as well have been 75%. However, it doesn't mean much when you only throw 13 touchdowns and over twice as many INT with 28.
I'm not as radical at the people who want to "kill the QB win", but Houston's defense allowed the 2nd fewest points in 1980 to save Snake more often than not. After another 2 INT in the playoffs the Oilers lost to the Raiders, Bum Phillips was fired and the Oilers wouldn't make the playoffs again until 1987. Snake would retire in the offseason, only to come back in 1981 before being traded to the New Orleans Saints where he was reunited with Bum Phillips until he retired for good after the 1984 season.
George Blanda, 1962.
George Blanda is an absolute NFL legend. He played a record 26 seasons in the NFL and AFL from 1949-1975 as a quarterback and kicker. Blanda lead the Houston Oilers to the first two AFL titles in 1960 and 1961.
In 1962 George threw 42 interceptions in only 14 games. You'd think the Oilers would've lost every game. How can you win when you average three INTs a game? I'm honestly not sure, but the Oilers won 11 times in 1962 finishing with an 11-3 record; good enough to earn a third straight berth in the AFL Title Game.
In one of the most famous games in AFL history the Dallas Texans defeated the Houston Oilers in 20-17 in double OT. George Blanda threw FIVE picks AND missed two field goals in the contest.
Think about that for a second; George Blanda thew a grand total of 47 interceptions in 1962 and his team lost the league championship in DOUBLE OVERTIME. If he put up Jameis numbers they would've gone undefeated.
Not only was Blanda the '62 Oilers QB but he was their kicker too. In addition to his 42 INT in '62 Blanda also only converted on 11 of 26 field goal attempts (42.3%). Dude turned the ball over 44 times (shockingly only 2 fumbles) and missed 15 kicks. It blows my fucking mind that he was a field goal away from leading his team to a third straight championship putting up numbers that would make you think he's not just shaving that jaw of his, but points as well.