“Who was the greatest interceptor”

written by Peter Jones in 1997, almost 20 years ago?

He is often overlooked when discussions of great Packers of the past take place.  Perhaps it’s because he only played 8 seasons or perhaps it’s because he was unlucky enough to play on some, shall we say, less than great teams.  Whatever the reason and whatever the discussion, one thing is true, Bobby Dillon sits high on the Packers list of all time interceptors with 52.  As previously mentioned, he garnered those picks over just 8 years (1952-59).  Three times he had as many as 9 in a single season (1953, 1955 and 1957).  He is also still tied for the single game NFL record for interceptions with 4.  But where does Bobby Dillon rank with the all-time NFL interceptors?  First of all, let’s list the all-time NFL top 12.

Bobby Dillon comes in at the number 16 spot

It can be seen that all, with the exception of Boyd played 12 or more years.  It should also be remembered that prior to 1961, the NFL schedule was over lust 12 games rather than the 14 and subsequent 16 that would follow - this is an obvious disadvantage to those players playing prior to 1961.  So perhaps a fairer comparison would be to compare the number of interceptions made by each player per potential game played.  Counting potential games rather than actual games played takes into account a player’s ability to avoid injuries or play through them - a guy who plays one game and nabs 2 interceptions but then doesn’t play again may average 2 interceptions per game but is not much use to his team.

25 players in NFL history (up to 1997) have 50 or more interceptions in their career so this would seem to be a reasonable qualifying figure.  This is how the “new top 10” would look.

So what does it prove?  Well, interceptions are far from the only true measure of a Defensive Back.  But it does show that when discussions of all-time great Packers take place, Bobby Dillon’s name should come up early in that discussion.

There will be more on Bobby Dillon in the coming months so be sure to watch out for a question and answer session that took place in 1996.


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