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In ball-playing competitive team sports, an interception or pick is a move by a player involving a pass of the ball—whether by foot or hand, depending on the rules of the sport—in which the ball is intended for a player of the same team but caught by a player of the team on defense, who thereby usually gains possession of the ball for their team. It is commonly seen in football, including American and Canadian football, as well as association football, rugby league, rugby union, Australian rules football and Gaelic football, as well as any sport by which a loose object is passed between players toward a goal. In basketball, a pick is called a steal.
In American or Canadian football, an interception occurs when a forward pass is caught by a player of the opposing defensive team.This leads to an immediate change of possession during the play, and the defender who caught the ball can immediately attempt to move the ball as far towards the opposing end zone as possible. Following the stoppage of play, if the interceptor retained possession of the ball, his team takes over possession at the spot where he was downed. Because possession is a critical component in these sports, a successful interception can be a dramatic reversal of the teams' fortunes.
Interceptions are predominantly made by the secondary or (on some occasions) the linebackers, who are usually closest to the quarterback's intended targets, the wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends. Less frequently, a defensive lineman may get an interception from a tipped ball, a near sack, a shovel pass, or a screen pass, but are more likely to force a fumble than get an interception. As soon as a pass is intercepted, everyone on the defense immediately acts as blockers, helping the person with the interception get as much yardage as possible and perhaps a touchdown (commonly called a "pick six", since a touchdown is worth 6 points); at the same time, everyone on the offense becomes the defense and may attempt to tackle the ball-carrier. If the interception occurs on an extra point attempt, rather than an ordinary play from scrimmage, a potential return of the interception to the other end zone is sometimes called a "pick two" as it would be a defensive two point conversion rather than a touchdown. For example, on December 4, 2016, the Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry scored the game winning points via a pick two in a 29–28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Berry also achieved an ordinary pick six earlier in the same game.
If the intercepting team can run out the clock, the intercepting player may down the ball immediately and not attempt to gain any yardage. This eliminates the chance of a fumble that could be recovered by the other team. There are also player safety implications: when the ball is turned over, the play is now suddenly and unexpectedly moving in the opposite direction. All of the players on offense are instantly susceptible to unexpected blocks, even if not attempting to stop the ball carrier; a hard and unseen block can result in severe injuries. Additionally, offensive players, particularly the quarterback, are often inexperienced tacklers and are at risk of injuring themselves while tackling the ball carrier.
Only the interception of a forward pass is recorded statistically as an interception, for both the passer and the intercepting player. If a receiver fails to catch the ball and bobbles or tips it before it is intercepted, even if his action was entirely responsible for the interception, it is always recorded as an interception thrown by the passer. The interception of a lateral pass is recorded as a fumble by the passer.
In an 11-year CFL career Less Browne recorded 87 interceptions during the 1980s and 90s, which is both a CFL and all-pro record. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (CFHF) in 2002.
Barron Miles, a defensive back in the early 2000s for the BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes, recorded 66 interceptions, tied for second all-time, in a 12-year CFL career. He is also the all-time leader in blocked kicks with 13. He was inducted into the CFHF in 2018.
Larry Highbaugh played for the BC Lions and Edmonton Eskimos during the 1970s and early 1980s, winning six Grey Cups, and recording 66 interceptions in his career. At the time of his retirement he was the all-time leader in interceptions. He was inducted into the CFHF in 2004.
In a game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1990, Rod Hill of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers caught five interceptions, a CFL record for a regular season game. Canadian and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bud Grant of the Blue Bombers, holds the record for most interceptions in a playoff game, also with five, which he accomplished in a game against Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1953.
Quarterback Danny McManus has the record for most interceptions thrown in a CFL career with 281. Damon Allen is a close second with 278 interceptions thrown.
Lester Hayes of the Oakland Raiders was one of the National Football League's (NFL) leaders at interceptions in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was known for covering his chest, shoulders and forearms with a copious amount of the adhesive Stickum to help him hold on to the ball. After the NFL outlawed the use of such foreign substances in 1981, Hayes' success rate at interceptions dropped below average though that could be due to his reputation as a "shutdown cornerback", which discouraged opposing teams from throwing to his side of the field. He continued to use the substance, which he called "pick juice", by having it applied in smaller amounts to his wrists.[ citation needed ]
Paul Krause holds the record for most career interceptions, with 81, and is tied for third place for most interceptions by an NFL rookie in his first season, with 12. He played his first three years in the NFL from 1964 to 1967 with the Washington Redskins but was traded to the Minnesota Vikings, where he spent most of his career. Krause played until 1979 and appeared in four Super Bowls with the Vikings. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
Rod Woodson played 16 seasons with Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Baltimore, and Oakland, and holds the NFL record for most interception returns for touchdown in an NFL career with 12. Also, he holds the NFL record for most total defensive TD returns in a career with 13. Woodson, who is third on the NFL all-time career interception list with 71, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
Former New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper, most notable for playing 8 seasons with the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings from 2005 to 2008, has a career total of 63 interceptions, and has returned 11 of those for touchdowns. Sharper holds the NFL record for interception return yardage in a single season with 376 yards in 2009. He is also tied with Rod Woodson for most total defensive TD returns career with 13.
Charles Woodson, formerly with the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders has 65 career interceptions and tied Rod Woodson for most defensive touchdowns with 13. Woodson and Sharper are tied for second all time in interceptions returned for touchdowns with 11.
Ty Law, formerly of the New England Patriots, New York Jets, and Kansas City Chiefs, has 52 career interceptions. Champ Bailey, who played for the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos, had 10 interceptions in 2006 and has a career total of 52. Strong safety Sammy Knight had 42 interceptions in his career.
Ed Reed holds the record for the longest interception return, 108 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 23, 2008. Reed also holds the record for the second longest interception return, 106 yards against the Cleveland Browns on November 7, 2004. During both games he played for the Baltimore Ravens. Reed also has a total of 64 interceptions and holds the record for the most interception return yardage in NFL history (1,541).
Brett Favre holds the record for most career interceptions thrown: 336. Favre's first pass in an NFL regular season game resulted in an interception returned for a touchdown. Favre's last pass as a Green Bay Packer was an INT as well thrown to Corey Webster of the New York Giants in the 2007 NFC Championship Game to lose the game.
Rodney Harrison of the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers was the first player in NFL history to have 30 interceptions and 30 sacks over the course of his career. He set that historic benchmark on October 21, 2007. The Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis was the second to accomplish this feat. He recorded his 30th interception November 21, 2010, intercepting the Carolina Panthers' Brian St. Pierre and returning the ball for a touchdown. Lewis is also the only member of the 40/30 club (at least 40 sacks and at least 30 interceptions).
On November 21, 2010, Ronde Barber became the only player in NFL history with at least 25 sacks (26 total) and 40 interceptions. His jersey and gloves from the game were subsequently retired to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
Asante Samuel of the Atlanta Falcons, with 4 postseason INT returns for a TD, is the NFL's all-time leader.
James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers set the record for the longest interception return for a touchdown in a Super Bowl in Super Bowl XLIII. The NFL's Defensive Player of the Year Harrison picked off Kurt Warner's pass and returned it a Super Bowl-record 100 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first half to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 17–7 lead over the Arizona Cardinals.
Aaron Rodgers holds the record for the most consecutive pass attempts without an interception with 402 during the 2018 NFL season. He only threw two interceptions that entire season. On December 26, 2010, Brady overtook the previous record of 308 consecutive completed passes without an interception, held by Bernie Kosar of the Cleveland Browns since 1991. Kosar's regular-season streak of pass attempts without an interception ended on November 10, 1991, against the Philadelphia Eagles.
On October 6, 2013, Matt Schaub became the first quarterback to throw a "pick-six" (an interception returned for a touchdown) in four consecutive games, while playing against the San Francisco 49ers.
In Super Bowl XLIX, New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted a would-be go-ahead touchdown pass from Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson at the goal-line in the final seconds of the game, allowing the Patriots to win what would've been an otherwise certain defeat. The significance of this play led it to be dubbed by many as simply, "The Interception."
In 2019, despite having his career high passing yards total over 5,000 yards, Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers threw for a total of 30 interceptions. This gives him a career total of 87 interceptions. Winston's season high came on October 13 against the Carolina Panthers, when he recorded a total of five interceptions.
Robert Hardwick of the Nottingham Caesars of the BAFA National Leagues scored a game-winning touchdown against the Birmingham Bulls on May 15, 2016. The Bulls were three points up at the four-yard line with 14 seconds left on the clock, and elected to throw a pass which was intercepted and run 100 yards to the opposite end zone.
Because of the relatively strict offside law in both codes of rugby, and the requirement that all passes be backward, interceptions are difficult to achieve. However, when they occur, the side who loses possession is suddenly out of formation to defend, and the interceptor may be able to sprint down the field for a spectacular try.
Super Bowl XXX was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1995 season. The Cowboys defeated the Steelers by the score of 27–17. The game was played on January 28, 1996, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, the first time the Super Bowl was played in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Super Bowl XXXI was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Green Bay Packers to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1996 season. The Packers defeated the Patriots by the score of 35–21, earning their third overall Super Bowl victory, and their first since Super Bowl II. The Packers also extended their league record for the most overall NFL championships to 12. It was also the last in a run of 13 straight Super Bowl victories by the NFC over the AFC. The game was played on January 26, 1997 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Super Bowl XXXII was an American football game played between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Green Bay Packers and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Denver Broncos to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1997 season. The Broncos defeated the Packers by the score of 31–24. The game was played on January 25, 1998, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California, the second time that the Super Bowl was held in that city. Super Bowl XXXII also made Qualcomm Stadium the only stadium in history to host both the Super Bowl and the World Series in the same year.
Roderick Kevin Woodson is an American former professional football player who was a defensive back in the National Football League (NFL) for 17 seasons. He had a 10-year stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was a key member of the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl XXXV championship team that beat the New York Giants. He also played for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, wearing the jersey number 26 throughout his career. Widely considered one of the game's all-time greatest defensive players, Woodson holds the NFL record for fumble recoveries (32) by a defensive player, and interceptions returned for touchdown (12), and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1993. His 71 career interceptions is the third-most in NFL history. He was an inductee of the Class of 2009 of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on August 8, 2009. Woodson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Rod played most of his career as a cornerback then switched to safety during the later part of his career.
Charles Cameron Woodson is a former American football player. He played college football for Michigan, where he led the Wolverines to a share of the national championship in 1997. Woodson, a "two-way player" who played both offense and defense, won the Heisman Trophy in the same year. To date, he is the only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman, and, until wide receiver DeVonta Smith won the Heisman in 2020, Woodson had been the most recent player to win the Heisman who was not either a running back or quarterback. Woodson went on to accomplish a storied career professionally with one of the most decorated professional football resumes of all time. He is considered by many of his peers to be one of the greatest defensive players to have ever played.
Roland "Champ" Bailey Jr. is a former American football cornerback in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Georgia, where he earned consensus All-America honors, and was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft. He is the brother of former NFL linebacker Boss Bailey.
James Lawrence Marshall is a former American football player who was a defensive end for the Cleveland Browns (1960) and the Minnesota Vikings (1961–1979). At the time of his retirement, he owned the career records for most consecutive starts (270) and games played (282). He still holds the NFL record for most fumbles recovered (30) in a career.
Aaron Charles Rodgers is an American football quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL). Rodgers played college football for the California Golden Bears, where he set several career passing records, including lowest single-season and career interception rates. He was selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Packers.
The National Football League playoffs for the 1996 season began on December 28, 1996. The postseason tournament concluded with the Green Bay Packers defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI, 35–21, on January 26, 1997, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The 2006 Green Bay Packers season was the franchise's 88th season overall and their 86th in the National Football League.
The 1996 season was the Green Bay Packers' 76th season in the National Football League, their 78th overall and their fifth under head coach Mike Holmgren. The franchise won its third Super Bowl and league-record 12th NFL Championship. The Packers posted a league-best 13–3 regular season won-loss record, going 8–0 at home and 5–3 on the road. It was the first time since 1962 that the team went undefeated at home. Additionally, the Packers had the NFL's highest-scoring offense (456) and allowed the fewest points on defense (210). Green Bay was the first team to accomplish both feats in the same season since the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins. They finished the season with the number one ranked offense, defense, and special teams. They also set a then NFL record for the fewest touchdowns allowed in a 16-game season, with 19. The Packers also allowed the fewest yards in the NFL and set a record for punt return yardage. Brett Favre won his second straight MVP award while also throwing for a career-high and league-leading 39 touchdown passes.
The 1997 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1997 Big Ten Conference football season. In its third year under head coach Lloyd Carr, Michigan compiled a perfect 12–0 record, won the Big Ten Conference championship, defeated Washington State in the 1998 Rose Bowl, and was declared the national champion by the Associated Press. The Wolverines finished second to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Coaches Poll, resulting in a split national championship.
The 2007 Green Bay Packers season was the franchise's 89th overall and 87th season in the National Football League. The Packers finished the regular season with a 13–3 record. They received a bye for the first round of the playoffs, won their divisional round playoff game, and lost in the NFC Championship game to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants. This was the last season for quarterback Brett Favre as a Green Bay Packer, as he initially retired following the season but came out of retirement and was subsequently traded to the New York Jets during the offseason.
The 2001 season was the St. Louis Rams' 65th in the National Football League, their seventh in St. Louis and their second under head coach Mike Martz. The Rams set a franchise record for wins in a season (14), while also going a perfect 8–0 on the road. Quarterback Kurt Warner would go on to win his second league MVP award. Along with Warner's 1999 MVP award and Marshall Faulk's 2000 award, the Rams had amassed the last three NFL MVP awards.
Robert J. Ptacek, Jr. is a former professional American and Canadian football player. He played college football at the halfback and quarterback positions for the University of Michigan from 1956 to 1958. He later played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) for the Cleveland Browns in 1959 and in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for the Saskatchewan Roughriders from 1960 to 1965. He was a CFL All-Star in 1964 as a defensive back and an All-Western Conference linebacker in 1961.
All-purpose yards or all-purpose yardage is a gridiron football statistical measure. It is virtually the same as the statistic that some football leagues refer to as combined net yards. In the game of football, progress is measured by advancing the football towards the opposing team's goal line. Progress can be made during play by the offensive team by advancing the ball from its point of progress at the start of play known as the line of scrimmage or by the defensive team after taking possession of the football via a change of possession. When the offensive team advances the ball by rushing the football, the player who carries the ball is given credit for the difference in progress measured in rushing yards. When the offensive team advances the ball by pass reception, the player who catches the reception is given credit for the difference in progress measured in reception yards. Although the ball may also be advanced by penalty, these yards are not considered all-purpose yards. Progress lost via quarterback sacks is classified variously. Thus, all-purpose yards is a combined total of rushing yards, receiving yards, and all forms of return yards only. Some sources do not specify which types of return yards count toward this total because the most common forms of return yards are kick and punt return yards.
The 2008 season was the Green Bay Packers' 88th season in the National Football League, their 90th overall and their 3rd under head coach Mike McCarthy. The Packers were aiming to improve their 13–3 record from last season, but finished the season with a 6–10 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Until the 2017 season, this was the last season in which the Packers did not qualify for the playoffs.
The 2009 Green Bay Packers season was the team's 91st season overall and their 89th in the National Football League. The Packers finished with an 11–5 record but lost in the wild card round of the playoffs to the Arizona Cardinals. They scored a franchise record 461 points besting the 1996 Super Bowl team's 456. Charles Woodson was named Defensive Player of the Year for the season, leading the league with 9 interceptions. The defense ranked 2nd overall in the league.
The 2010 Green Bay Packers season was the 92nd season overall and their 90th season in the National Football League. Although they finished with only a respectable 10–6 record, good for a second-place finish in the NFC North, the Packers never lost a game by more than four points, and never trailed by more than seven the entire season, becoming the only team since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to accomplish this. All six of their regular season losses were by a combined 20 points. They entered the playoffs as the NFC's sixth seed. After defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 21–16 in the Wild Card round, the Atlanta Falcons 48–21 in the Divisional round and long time rivals, Chicago Bears 21–14 in the NFC Championship, the team advanced to Super Bowl XLV in which they faced the AFC's 2nd seed Pittsburgh Steelers. The Packers defeated the Steelers 31–25 to win their fourth Super Bowl and 13th NFL championship. The Packers became the second overall team after the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, and the first NFC team, to win the Super Bowl as a sixth seed, as well as becoming the second NFC team to win three straight road playoff games.