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Aqib Talib & the Art of the Pick Six

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No one does it quite like Aqib. Let’s show the man some love!

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It’s was a party last night in Broncos Country! The Broncos welcomed Dak Prescott & the Cowboys to town this afternoon, then promptly sent them packing. It was more than just a team win- though it absolutely was a complete team effort- it was a statement win. And it’s no surprise that the exclamation point was provided by the Broncos’ stud cornerback Aqib Talib.

From the Broncos’ 6 yard line, Prescott targeted Dez Bryant three yards deep in the endzone. The goal? Put some points on the board for pride in a futile garbage time TD:

Instead, 103 yards later, history had been made.

Obviously, we’re all stoked about Talib’s interception. It’s always fun to see your team slam the door shut in their opponents’ face. And it was exactly the sort of definitive, hope-crushing play that we’ve come to expect from the No Fly Zone. But just how special was it? Let me lay out some notable stats:

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Personal Accomplishments

  • This was the longest interception return TD of Talib’s career, besting his previous long of 63 yards.
  • Talib has notched 6 of his 10 pick sixes with the Broncos, 3 with the Buccaneers, and just 1 with the Patriots.
  • He’s now got an even 5/5 split for catching pick sixes at home and on the road.
  • 7 out of his 10 pick sixes have been returned for 30+ yards.
  • Talib spreads his picks out pretty evenly: 3 each in the 2nd & 4th quarters. 2 each in the 1st & 3rd quarters.
  • With this pick six, Talib has now snagged at least one of these coveted plays for four consecutive years. He’s now done it in 7 of the last 8 seasons.
Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Comparing to Active Players

  • Talib has the most pick-sixes of any active NFL player, and by a wide margin. Karlos Dansby, Malcolm Jenkins, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are all 4 behind him with 6 apiece.
  • Though he leads in pick-sixes, Talib’s 34 total interceptions ranks 4th among active players.
  • His interception return yardage (723 total), however, ranks just 2nd behind DeAngelo Hall (838 yards) among active players.
Baltimore Ravens v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Historic Context

  • It ties the mark for 3rd longest interception return touchdown in NFL history, behind Ed Reed’s 106 and 107 yard plays.
  • As the 10th pick six of Talib’s career, it moves him into sole ownership of 4th place for most career pick sixes. One more will tie him with Darren Sharper and Charles Woodson. Two more, for twelve total, will tie him with Rod Woodson for the most ever.
  • Talib has also become just the 4th NFL player to ever reach double digit pick sixes.
  • His 34 career interceptions put him in a many-way tie for roughly 142nd most in NFL history- a testament to how the game has changed and how much harder it is to get an interception in today’s NFL.
  • With 103 yards tacked on to his previous total interception return distance of 619 yards, Talib jumps from 81st most career interception return yards all the way up to 45th.
NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Random, Amusing, & Perhaps a Little Spiteful

  • After 548 career passing attempts, Dak Prescott will always remember that Aqib Talib was the first man to intercept one of his passes for a touchdown.
  • The Broncos now own 33% of Dak Prescott’s career interceptions.

Aqib Talib is entering some pretty rarefied air at this point. He’s cemented his place among the ranks of the best cornerbacks in Broncos history, and I’d argue he’s making a strong case for future inclusion in the Broncos Ring of Fame. Beyond that, his longevity, excellence, the various accolades he’s earned, and particularly his stack of game-altering or game-clenching pick sixes all sum up to a career that might very well land him in the NFL Hall of Fame someday.

Poll

How many more pick sixes can Talib haul in?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    One more. He’ll tie for 2nd most all-time.
    (33 votes)
  • 21%
    Two more. He’ll tie for the most all-time!
    (149 votes)
  • 72%
    Three more... or more! He’ll stand alone on the mountaintop!
    (502 votes)
  • 0%
    No more. I’m a salty fan from a rival team.
    (4 votes)
688 votes total Vote Now