I think everyone needed a breath after cornerback Trevon Diggs and his dizzying interception pace.
He and the Dallas Cowboys received that breather with the bye week. But, with the Minnesota Vikings on deck, Diggs heads back to the field (starting with the Monday resuming of practice at The Star) to see if he can continue his incredible interception pace.
You already know that people like Troy Aikman are now comparing Diggs to the (previously) incomparable Deion Sanders.
And you already know that Diggs’ pick-six against New England tied him with Hall-of-Fame defensive back Rod Woodson for most interceptions in a season’s first six games since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger (seven).
But, there’s a ladder there for Diggs to climb, depending upon whether or not he can keep up this pace.
Mike Sando of The Athletic recently wrote about that ladder, and as good as Diggs has been in his first six games, boy can he climb a lot higher if he can keep this up.
For instance, Woodson had seven interceptions in his first six games back in 1993. He’s among the four players that had seven interceptions in their first seven games. But Woodson disappears from the list after that. That’s because he had just one more interception the rest of that season. Still, eight is an incredible total. In fact, it was his career high until 2002, when he matched it while playing with the Raiders.
After that, the list whittles down to three players with eight interceptions in their first eight games — Hall-of-Fame safety Ronnie Lott, should-be-in-the-Hall of Fame cornerback Everson Walls and a defensive back named Mike Reinfeldt.
Back in 1979, Reinfeldt had a year for the Houston Oilers. He’s the only player in NFL history to have nine interceptions in his first nine games of a season. Reinfeldt gave up the spot after 10 games when Walls had 10 interceptions in his first 10 games back in 1981. But Walls’ pace fell off after that and he finished his incredible rookie season with 11 interceptions.
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Then, back came Reinfeldt. He holds the record for most interceptions in a player’s first 11 games (11 interceptions) and 12 games (12 interceptions). He was rolling. And then it stopped. He would finish that season with 12 interceptions. But, he remains a part of this list for the record paces for 13 games, 14 games and 15 games.
But he has company.
Reinfeldt shares the record for most interceptions in a season’s first 14 games with Hall-of-Fame defensive back Emmitt Thomas, who finished with a career-high 12 interceptions in 1974 (he had 58 for his career). Both had 12.
Then, Reinfeldt and Thomas share the record for most interceptions in a player’s first 15 games with Raiders defensive back Lester Hayes, who reached 12 interceptions by this point in 1980.
Then, in Week 16, the season’s final week, Hayes took the record for himself, picking off his 13th pass of the season. That, naturally, was Hayes’ career high and led the NFL that season.
But, wait. That’s NOT the actual NFL record for most interceptions in a season in the entirety of NFL history.
No, the actual record is 14, held by Dick “Night Train” Lane, who had 14 interceptions in 1950. In case you’re wondering, that was Lane’s rookie season. He finished with 68 interceptions for his career, and he’s fourth on the all-time list, behind Paul Krause (81), Emlen Tunnell (79) and Woodson (71).
So there’s the ladder. Now we get to see how high Diggs can climb.