I want to propose a new stat.
I would like to think that I may have noticed this particular statistical distinction before interceptions started to cost me fantasy QB points, and it has bothered me for a number of years that we don't differentiate between an interception and a pick.
And, I propose this as a difference:
Interception: An ill-advised throw by a quarterback that results in the turnover of the ball. That is, throwing into a crowd, letting the ball fly under pressure rather than eating it, or throwing the sphere away, or simply not seeing the defender's position, letting the ball go, and the defender becomes the aggressor, capturing the ball and momentum.
Pick: A throw that is not necessarily bad, but rather is tipped off bodies or fingers and results in the ball magically landing in the hands of a defensive player forcing a change of possession.
Since I have been watching primarily Jay Cutler over the past five years, and having seen a lot of both his obvious interceptions, and not so obvious picks, I feel that I have more than just anecdotal experience by which to make this distinction.
However, let's use yesterday's Packers/Bears game as the example, for there were three such plays in that contest.
The first was the culmination of a 15-play Green Bay drive, with the Packers on the Bears five, third and goal. Rodgers let the ball fly to the outside, intended for Jarrett Boykin, but Chris Conte went parallel to the ground and made a fine catch and not the best of throws. Interception.
So, the delineation is, to me at least, when the quarterback cannot be directly responsible for the turnover--as in a set of hands or fingers deflects or drops the ball in an untimely fashion--he should not be penalized. In fact, the alert fellow who catches the ball off the rebound should get serious credit for making an extra heads up play.
And, as an example, Flacco's throwing wide in the flat to Torrey Smith that was nabbed by Dre Kirkpatrick and run in for a TD was a definite interception, and the Ravens QB did not see all the blind spots.
I am not sure how we would account for these plays in fantasy, or even on the gridiron, but, I do think we can make a case noting the distinction between bad judgement and a bad bounce.
Either way, it is still a turnover, and that is all that really matters, right?