Air and Space: Historic efficiency

When the 2009 season began, we looked forward to at least three NFC North quarterbacks putting on a statistical show. Chicago’s Jay Cutler has fallen short of everyone’s expectations, and Detroit's Matthew Stafford has been limited by inexperience and injuries.

The remaining 50 percent, however, have already joined elite company and are on pace to do so over the course of a 16-game season as well.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre became the fifth and sixth players in NFL history to combine at least 25 touchdown passes with seven or fewer interceptions through the first 12 games of the season. Both players reached that threshold despite throwing two interceptions apiece during Week 13 games. You can see the full list in the chart.

Meanwhile, over on the NFC West blog, colleague Mike Sando unearthed this heady projection: Both Rodgers and Favre are on pace to throw at least 33 touchdown passes and fewer than 10 interceptions. The only other player in NFL history to do that was New England’s Tom Brady, during his record-setting 2007 season.

As with any position, there is no perfect statistic for measuring quarterback play. Scheme, conditions and supporting cast all have a big impact on a quarterback’s performance. But ultimately they’re asked to score and minimize mistakes. To this point in the season, both Rodgers and Favre are doing that with historic precision and efficiency.