Some stats are easier to handle than others. Perhaps that’s why “dropped passes” isn’t a number often quoted in NFL circles.
It can be problematic for NFL statisticians to correctly call something like a dropped pass. It’s not as straightforward as, say, “passing attempts” or “touchdowns”. There are variables in place that make the work subjective—as some persons might claim a receiver never had full possession of the ball while others would say he did. One shifts blame toward the quarterback—or at least away from the pass-catcher—while the other assigns blame to the wide receiver or tight end, for instance.
The lack of a clear protocol is likely what keeps “dropped passes” from becoming an oft-quoted metric since it’s unreliable (or at least variable) but Greg Auman of The Athletic looked at look at some of the “unofficial” stats and credits Fox Sports for tracking the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs are ranked in the top 4 in terms of dropped passes on the season so far.
Here’s what Auman cooks up:
Right there near the top of the list is the Chiefs organization, tied with the Chargers, listed as “unofficially” one of the offenses in football with the most dropped passes.
Over at NBC Sports, they also list dropped passes, at least among league leaders, and they have Tyreek Hill credited with five drops to lead the team (and to sit just behind Keenan Allen for most in the AFC). From there, it’s easy to see Travis Kelce has 3 and Byron Pringle has 2. If these totals are all accurate and agreeable, then that means the rest of the roster would account for the other nine.
Here’s what’s also true: quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the league in passing completions and attempts, which means the Chiefs’ totals, in general, are going to be a bit more inflated than the average team.
Most of Chiefs Kingdom would likely shake their heads and nod at this stat knowing that we’ve seen plenty of drops this year so far, including several memorable ones in the first third of the season that cost the Chiefs at key moments. While the stats might be “subjective,” this number also passes the eye test and feels congruent with the offense we’ve all watched on the field.