Is it a consistent skill to throw pick-sixes or avoid them? It certainly doesn’t appear to be. Over the remainder of their careers from 2002-2010, Johnson and Feeley threw six pick-sixes out of their 46 interceptions, a rate of 13.0 percent. Look at the other end of the spectrum and there’s not much of a difference: Outside of 2009, Cutler’s thrown six pick-sixes in 45 attempts, a rate of 13.3 percent.
There’s no obvious player type linking the guys at the top and bottom of the pick-six charts, either. Among quarterbacks with 50 interceptions thrown or more, the lowest rate of interceptions returned for touchdowns belongs to … Jake Plummer (4.6 percent). He threw three pick-sixes admist 46 interceptions, one fewer than Peyton Manning‘s thrown in his last eight picks. Right behind Plummer are such notable speed demons as Matt Hasselbeck, Trent Green, and Tom Brady. The highest rate belongs to Johnson, at 18.9 percent, with Joey Harrington, Carson Palmer, and Brian Griese all at 15 percent or better. Famed gunslinger Brett Favre (10.1 percent) is right at the same level as the ultra-cautious Chad Pennington (10.0 percent).
In the long run, there’s nothing suggesting that Manning’s two-game stint is anything but a colossal fluke, a confluence of mistakes and bad luck. Even if Manning were to continue throwing four interceptions a game, it would be a shock if more than one out of every ten or so were to be returned for a touchdown.