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J.J. Watt Obliterates Record for Defeats

Defeats measure a combination of three things:

  • Turnovers (or tipped passes that lead to turnovers)
  • Tackles for a loss
  • Tackles or passes defensed that prevent conversion on third or fourth down
Most Defeats in a Season, 1996-2012
2012 J.J. Watt HOU DE 56
1999 Ray Lewis BAL ILB 45
1999 Derrick Brooks TB OLB 42
1998 Ed McDaniel MIN ILB 40
1998 Zach Thomas MIA ILB 40
2003 Ray Lewis BAL ILB 39
2012 Von Miller DEN OLB 39
2006 London Fletcher BUF ILB 38
2001 Jamir Miller CLE OLB 38
2002 Brian Urlacher CHI ILB 38
2004 Marcus Washington WAS OLB 38
2006 Lance Briggs CHI OLB 37
2000 Derrick Brooks TB OLB 37
2009 Brian Cushing HOU OLB 37
1998 Ray Lewis BAL ILB 37
1997 Robert Porcher DET DE 37

With all due respect to Von Miller... Explain to me again why we are having a debate about who should win Defensive Player of the Year?


40 comments, Last at 11 Jan 2013, 7:08am

2 Re: J.J. Watt Obliterates Record for Defensive Defeats

I agree that watt should win, but the shortest answer for why there's a debate is that the people who decide these things look more at traditional stats rather than the more illustrative things like defeats. Their traditional stats are more comparable, I'd say. But even on those, I think the award should go to watt. Thanks for putting this list together.

3 Re: J.J. Watt Obliterates Record for Defensive Defeats

what debate are you referring? everything ive read seems to be in complete agreement that watt should win. he appears to be consensus through fans, teams, players, media, etc.

it seems like youre upset about the possibility of him not winning it, i just dont know what justification there is to think he wont.

11 Re: J.J. Watt Obliterates Record for Defensive Defeats

This singular arbitrarily-defined stat seems to better encompass a defensive end/outside linebacker's total on-field responsibility better than just the sack stat, which has been erroneously used as an end-all/be-all in DPOY discussions in the past, despite not accounting for a player's responsibility to also play the run.

It's also not just Watt's standing in this stat for this season. It's his place firmly entrenched at the top of the all-time list, with 24% more defeats than the player that formerly held the all-time record.

By his sheer record-breaking domination in this more telling single stat, there is no competition; Watt should win DPOY.

12 Re: J.J. Watt Obliterates Record for Defensive Defeats

I understand that this stat is better than sacks, but that doesn't mean it is an all-encompassing stat fully representing a defensive player's value, or even the best single stat representing a defensive player's value. I think you have to establish that first before you get to the point where Watt's dominance in this number means you shouldn't even consider anyone else for DPOY.

At the same time, yes, I would vote for Watt for DPOY.

18 Re: J.J. Watt Obliterates Record for Defensive Defeats

Nobody reasonable has ever claimed defeats to be an all-encompassing measure of someone's play. Nobody reasonable has ever claimed ANY stat should be so revered. But defeats + stops combined with observation: an understanding of the system the player plays in, plus asking how his play compares to what should historically be expected of someone playing a similar role, and probably more, is required for anything approaching "all-encompassing."

13 Re: J.J. Watt Obliterates Record for Defensive Defeats

I suspect most readers here would vote for Watt, but using a single stat (albeit one that incorporates multiple stats) as ipso facto justification is a bit shortsighted considering that FO has always preached about looking deeper into the numbers.

So many football stats can be influenced my scheme, that I can imagine a scenario where the above stat would not automatically make Watt the DPOY. I don't think that is really true this year, but at least having a conversation that includes Von Miller (and to a much smaller extent Aldon Smith) is not unreasonable.

15 Re: J.J. Watt Obliterates Record for Defensive Defeats

Disclaimer: I, a bronco fan, agree that JJ Watt should be DPOY.

As for your comment about there being no case for a debate... Do you realize that only one player on the entire list was voted as DPOY. That was Ray Lewis in 2003. Why should being good in this stat equate with DPOY?

It doesn't take into account offensive penalties caused, such as holding, false starts, intentional grounding.

It also doesn't account for defensive performances that led to plays by other players... such as forcing a quarterback into another player for a sack.

There is a reason the DPOY is a vote, and not simply a calculation based on stats.

19 Re: J.J. Watt Obliterates Record for Defensive Defeats

Why only 3rd or 4th down passes defensed? I guess that's a lot simpler to parse than < 40% yardage needed to convert. Still, all passes defensed are pretty nifty imo.

Are TFL tallied somewhere on this site?

21 Re: J.J. Watt Obliterates Record for Defensive Defeats

It's either a turnover - by takeaway or on downs - or a loss of yardage. A tackle or tipped pass that leaves the offense with the ball and another down with no loss of yards is a neutral play. Its' similar to a QB hit that comes on an incomplete pass - it's not a sack, even though you got in a legal lick on the QB. It might be interesting to see both included in a single statistic with the above. Watt got in some good hits on Brady this year, but no sacks or tipped balls that I remember.

28 Re: J.J. Watt Obliterates Record for Defensive Defeats

What, exactly, is being requested here? A player's individual total of tackles and passes defended (including interceptions) which prevent the offense from gaining successful yardage? A combination of tackles for a loss and passes defended (including interceptions)? The latter should be relatively easy to compile, I'd have thought - perhaps even including fumbles forced which don't result in a turnover.

25 Re: J.J. Watt Obliterates Record for Defeats

Advanced NFL Stats has a somewhat similar stat to evaluate defenders, +EPA, which measures the value added on the successful plays that the defender made. Ray Lewis's 2003 season held the record for best season on record (going back to 2000) with 87.3 +EPA, and Watt obliterated that record as well with 122.1.

31 Re: J.J. Watt Obliterates Record for Defeats

This list has virtually no pass rushers on it. Pretty significant really. Lawrence Taylor for instance is not on here. Despite having an MVP season.

Perhaps because runs tend to go inside more often, or it's easier to get a tackle short of the marker than it is to get a sack.

If you included pressures that led to quick passes that did not convert for a first then you may find more pass rushers on here