See The Whole Story In 400 Touchdowns

Tom Brady joins the 400 TD club: but how did he get there?

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Recently, a colleague of mine sent me an article posted on Boston.com, which talked about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and how he recently joined the NFL’s 400 touchdown club. The author broke down the 55 players who caught Brady’s touchdown passes.

After reading the article, human nature took over and questions started popping into my head. I knew who caught the touchdown passes and I knew how many each player caught, but what I did not know were the other details:

  • Who was the opponent?
  • What was the length of the touchdown?
  • In which quarter of the game was the touchdown scored?
  • What was the time on the clock?
  • Was it a home or an away game?
  • Were the Patriots leading, trailing or tied when the touchdown occurred?
  • Was the touchdown recorded in the regular season or the playoffs?

So, using pro-football-reference.com, I scoured through every New England Patriots box score from 2001 through last Sunday (including playoffs), built a file and loaded the data into Qlik Sense to find out the answers. Here are a couple “Did you know?” type pieces of data that I discovered:

  1. Did you know that of the 13 touchdowns that Tom Brady threw in the “big game”, none of them happened in the 1st quarter?

  2. And did you know, of Tom Brady’s 229 touchdowns which occurred in Foxboro, more than half (124) happened while the Patriots were winning.

  3. And finally, did you know that David Patten (17) evenly split where he scored his touchdowns (8 home, 8 away, 1 neutral).

Some more general stats include:

Rob Gronkowski (64), Randy Moss (40), Wes Welker (38), Deion Branch (28), and Julian Edelman (22) are the top 5 touchdown recipients.


Tom Brady’s most productive quarter is the 2nd quarter (154) followed by the 4th quarter (111). Interestingly enough, he does have one overtime touchdown pass at Miami to WR Troy Brown.


Tom Brady threw the majority of his touchdowns to wide receivers (253), with tight ends (156) and running backs (35) filling out the top 3. He also threw 10 touchdowns to a Patriot who is best known for playing linebacker on defense and 2 offensive tackles, which normally block for Brady, caught touchdowns.


The Buffalo Bills have surrendered the most of Tom Brady’s touchdown passes (61), followed by the Miami Dolphins (45), and New York Jets (40).


The discoveries are endless. That is the beauty of seeing the whole story. It allows me to see patterns and trends that I otherwise would not have been able to see.

Here is a link to the app. Go see what kind of interesting facts you can discover about Tom Brady and his 400+ touchdown passes. Use the comments section to let everyone know what it was! 

And no, there is no information about Spygate or Deflategate in the data :)     

Photo credit: diane_thomas22 / Foter / CC BY

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