Mike Glennon By The Numbers: How Statistics Never Lie, But Sometimes Deceive When It Comes to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Quarterback


Dec 1, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback

Mike Glennon

(8) on the field before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It has been said many times that numbers or statistics never lie.

It has also been said that “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” (Mark Twain is believed to be the one to come up with this phrase.)

In the case of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, that is most certainly the case.

Let’s take a look at some of Glennon’s numbers, and see just how cloudy things get when considering every aspect of his play this season.

QB Rating

Mike Glennon has a QB Rating of 90.3. That ranks 11th in the NFL, ahead of Matt Stafford, Matt Ryan, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Tom Brady. That’s extremely encouraging, and is a sign that the overall production for Glennon has been at an above-average level.

Yards per Attempt

YPA is one of the most basic quarterback statistics. How many yards to you gain every time you throw the football? At 6.77 yards per attempt, Glennon ranks 28th in the NFL, behind Christian Ponder and Geno Smith.

Interception Percentage

How often does the quarterback throw an interception when dropping back to pass? For Glennon, the answer is not very often. Among starters this season, Glennon has the ninth best INT %, ahead of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson.

Sack Percentage

On the other hand, quarterbacks will often hold onto the ball too often and take a sack when they could have thrown it away. Often times, quarterbacks will play too hesitantly, and avoid interceptions while also limiting their offense. Glennon has been sacked on 8.2% of his dropbacks, which is more than quarterbacks with much worse offensive lines such as Carson Palmer and Eli Manning.

Touchdown to Interception Ratio

Glennon’s 13 touchdowns compared to only five interceptions are great. Only Aaron Rodgers, Nick Foles and Sam Bradford have fewer interceptions and more than 10 touchdowns this season.

Yards After Catch Percentage

Glennon might be throwing touchdowns, but he’s not setting up his receivers for big plays. His poor ball placement has led to very few yards after the catch, as he ranks third-worst in the NFL in percentage of passing yards after the catch.

Other Random Statistics

  • You may think that Glennon is the victim of tons of dropped passes, but according to Pro Football Focus, he isn’t even in the top 20 among QBs to take 25% of the snaps for their team.
  • Only Case Keenum has been sacked for more yards per sack than Glennon. He’s losing too many yards on sacks by being too deep in the pocket and not making a decision.
  • Also according to PFF, Mike Glennon is the 22nd most accurate passer while under pressure in the NFL. He ranks behind Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Tony Romo and Carson Palmer in that category.
  • However, Glennon is among the top-10 in throws over 20 yards, according to PFF. He has completed 12 of his 29 throws beyond 20 yards for 4 touchdowns and only one interception. This is thanks to some excellent numbers throwing deep down the middle of the field, and thanks to some great catches by Vincent Jackson down the right sideline.
  • Glennon sees a huge jump in QB Rating when throwing on play action passes, according to PFF. This shows itself in games when the Buccaneers are unable to run the football and set up the play action game, which really helps the rookie quarterback.

So what can we learn from all of this?

Mike Glennon is either better than Tom Brady, or worse than Brandon Weeden. It just depends on which statistics you choose.

No matter which side of the Mike Glennon debate you find yourself, there are numbers to support your cause. Statistics can do that, because there are almost never universally good or bad players. No player is perfect, and therefore there will be flaws which show on tape and in statistics.

Glennon still has four weeks left to show what he can do, and it will ultimately be the film he produces and the coach he plays for in 2014 which dictate his future.