Where Does Colin Kaepernick Rank?

Oct 29, 2014 at 1:10 PM

There may be no more polarizing figure in the Bay Area football scene than Colin Kaepernick. It seems as though you either love him or hate him, there's no middle ground.

Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders put together a list of quarterbacks with the lowest turnover rate in NFL history. The percentage represents the total number of turnovers, interceptions and fumbles divided by the total number of drop backs. To make the list a minimum of 1500 pass attempts were required. Joe Montana came in at 6th with a 3.12% and Steve Young was 14th with a 3.35%.

Current 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick did not make the list because he has only 863 passing attempts. Kaepernick currently has a turnover rate of 2.8%. That would put Kaepernick ahead of both Montana and Young, and second behind only Aaron Rodgers.

It's interesting when you break down the first 36 starts for Montana, Young and Kaepernick with the 49ers. During that span Montana had 42 interceptions, Young had 25 interceptions and Kaepernick had 24 interceptions. Looking at their first six postseason starts you'll find that Montana still leads the way with 11 interceptions compared to 5 for Kaepernick and 4 for Young.

Just a little food for thought.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Gerry Cable
    Stats are funny things. Joe Montana was on a significantly underrated team during his first 36 starts and came away with a Superbowl ring and an MVP award.
    Nov 2, 2014 at 6:00 PM
  • John Q
    Liking these stats. Also: nice response time and choice-words to those who get to hear replies. Good article.
    Nov 1, 2014 at 11:01 AM
  • Mike
    What you fail to mention is Joe and Steve were throwing the ball twice, sometimes 3 times as much.
    Nov 1, 2014 at 3:06 AM
  • George
    Jack, one of the things I have observed about your journalistic style is that it shows initiative and curiousity. You like to dig into things, and I don't see that as much in others. Anyway, thanks for your article. Solid, informative, and to the point. The Niners have a QB with stellar physical abilities whose mind is starting to master the pro game. I'm very optimistic about this young man.
    Oct 31, 2014 at 10:32 AM
    Response: Thank you George
  • undercenter
    One thing that you omitted in your comparison. Both Young and CK took over established, talent rich teams. Montana did not. Even with the first super bowl that team was not really loaded with talent. A great defensive draft and Walsh was their saving grace in that first SB.
    Oct 30, 2014 at 5:40 PM
    Response: I don't think Kaepernick took over a talent rich offensive team. In 2012 his number 2 receiver was an aging Randy Moss. In 2013 there was Boldin and not much else for the majority of the season. This is the first time he's had real weapons at the WR position.
  • Razoreater
    NFL quarterbacks do not reach their full potential until year 7-8. Kaepernick is progressing, and he needs to develop more consistency along the way. Tasty little morsel Hammer. Keep up the good work!
    Oct 30, 2014 at 5:21 PM
  • ricardo
    Good stuff Jack. @Scooter - Yeah, that is an interesting stats. I've never seen Joe and Steve in their early days of playing but looking at the stats, it seems like CK is holding his own.
    Oct 30, 2014 at 5:20 PM
  • robert ethan
    Blaine Gabbert has 24 Int in 27 starts, playing for the worst team in the league. He was also two or more years younger than the three guys mentioned, when he reached that point.
    Oct 30, 2014 at 2:28 PM
  • Scooter_McG
    I think this is another example of how fans expect young players to play like seasoned pros from the get go. They forget that even the greats had to go through some growing pains. Great stuff Jack, I found this stat very interesting.
    Oct 30, 2014 at 2:00 PM
  • Ninermd
    In response to Sean..... Oh you mean the Super Bowl where the nfl had the grand idea of sitting the top officials of the year for some back ups due to "more race diversity" on the field. Great call by the nfl. I'm sure the millions watching that game were proud of them for having more color in the black and white uni's. Thank God it didn't hurt one of the teams on the field. Oh wait.....
    Oct 30, 2014 at 1:03 PM
  • Sean
    Actually that SB loss I blame the Refs more than anything... There were a few blatant fouls missed.... I think that the Pass Interference/ Hold in the end zone was bad... They said they didn't throw the flag because they didn't want to affect the outcome of the "Big game" but by not throwing the flag they affected the outcome.... That one was bad officiating but, the one I think was worse is on Jacoby Jones' Kick return for a TD... On that play if you re-watch it there was not only one Raven player holding Miller but two... If you look at the replay right where he breaks through the 49ers kick coverage at around the 25 yard line There are two Raven players sandwiching Miller both basically bear hugging him... I saw it in real-time as the play was unfolding & damned near threw something at the TV when there was no flag thrown...
    Oct 29, 2014 at 10:42 PM
  • Craig
    I think Kaep only threw one pass in that game winning drive against ATL. But he obviously is a factor when he changes the play and even when handing off. But yeah he was clutch in that GB game especially on that 3rd and long run late. I worded that totally wrong. I was thinking more of when has he thrown a game winning TD pass on the final offensive possesion? I will also never blame Kaep for that Super Bowl loss, he threw for over 300 yards and rushed for over 60, it was the defense and special teams that let the Niners down that day.
    Oct 29, 2014 at 8:25 PM
  • Monsterniner
    Kaepernick is the otherwise of Romo. Romo has great numbers in his career but very few important victories. Kaepernick has some relevant victories but his numbers in pass yards aren´t very impressive and his lack of consistency is something where he has to work on. Some might say that his defense is carrying him. Some might say that Kaep has been good but not great when it matters the most (Super Bowl and last Championship Game). I don´t know. I won´t crown Kaep unitl he wins the Super Bowl because we are the Niners and the ony thing that matters is winning in the big sunday.
    Oct 29, 2014 at 6:49 PM
  • Sean
    To respond to Craig... Kaepernick has 7 GWD including 6 4th Quarter comebacks.... Wilson has 12 including 9 4th quarter comebacks... But that is because Seattle seems to be behind or up late in games & win or lose by a TD or less more often than the 49ers... The Seahawks have had 24 games (Reg & post season) decided by a TD or less since 2012(under Wilson) going 14-10... The 49ers have had 14 going 9-4-1... Kaepernick is 7- 4 as a starter & replaced Smith in the Tie... In Response to Fryet... If you read the article it is counting drop-backs not games nor Number of passes per game... Going by the number of pass attempts overall... Number of passes per games is irrelevant...
    Oct 29, 2014 at 3:35 PM
  • Craig
    Kaepernick's issues seem to have come in the 4th quarter especially when down. I'm not sure if the stats would back that up. I'm having trouble remembering when he led the team to a 4th quarter comeback win. Both Wilson (Sea) and Palmer (Ari) threw late game come from behind TD's on Sunday. I generally support Kaep, and the stats you posted are one of the reasons, I just want to see him get over those late game jitters, trust his amazing skill set and make the big plays when the team is down.
    Oct 29, 2014 at 1:28 PM
    Response: 2013 NFC Championship. 2014 Wild Card are two.
  • fryet
    Colin probably is also throwing fewer passes than Montana and Young. This year he is throwing more, and his interception % is going back up. It is easier to throw the ball when defenses are playing to stop the run.
    Oct 29, 2014 at 1:23 PM
    Response: False. Kaepernick's interception rate through the first 7 games of 2013 was 2.7%. He's at 2.2% through the first 7 games of 2014.

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