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Saleem Choudhry - Researcher
Saleem spends his days gathering, interpreting, and disseminating information about the game of pro football. He now shares in his blog some of the more unique stories and facts that he has uncovered while working with the Hall’s vast collection of more than 18 million pages of documents.
What a tremendous 2010 season by Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed. Not only did he lead the National Football League in interceptions for the third time in his career, but he did so while playing only 10 games. Amazingly, the injury which forced him to miss a large chunk of the season (a nagging hip that required surgery leading into the season) had Reed contemplating retirement at the Super Bowl last year.
Oh, and by the way, Reed's league-leading total just tied him with long-time Dallas Cowboys cornerback Everson Walls for most seasons leading the league in interceptions. Also, his interception return yardage for the 2010 season (183) gave him a career total of 1,438 yards which is now second in NFL annals. Reed now trails only Hall of Famer Rod Woodson, who holds the record with 1,483 career return yards, by only 45 yards.
How spectacular was the 32-year-old's season? Let's take a look.
Here is a chart of NFL interception leaders since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 and the number of games played.
Reed's eight picks in his 10 games gave him a .80 interceptions per game average. Only two players had a higher interception per game average than Reed. Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas registered a league-leading 12 interceptions in 14 games played in 1974 for an average of .86. In 1980 Lester Hayes stole 13 passes in 16 games for a .81 average.
Reed and his Ravens face the Kansas City Chiefs in a Wild Card match-up this coming Sunday. Reed is already third in NFL history for interceptions in the postseason with seven. The record is nine and is held by three men – Charlie Waters, Bill Simpson, and Ronnie Lott.
Who wants to bet that Reed's name is on the top of that list by the time the playoffs are over?