Patriots' two interceptions in 2016 set the NFL standard

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots shattered the NFL record for fewest interceptions in a season with two, which is one of the few statistics outside of wins that is important to quarterback Tom Brady.

"I love throwing [just] two picks. That's the highlight of what my season has been for me," Brady said Monday morning in his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI. "The one thing for a quarterback that means the most to me is that I never want to be a reason why we lose a game."

The prior record was five interceptions, which was accomplished by six teams, including the 2010 Brady-led Patriots.

Brady noted how the record is reflective of the work of the entire "quarterback group," as backups Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett didn't throw an interception in the first four weeks of the season while Brady was serving a suspension as part of the NFL's Deflategate penalties.

Furthermore, he said "it's not just the quarterback," as the low interception total comes down "to receivers catching the ball, being in the right place, and great protection up front, which we've had."

A little luck on tipped passes helps too.

As for his two interceptions -- which came on an underthrown deep pass Nov. 13 against Seattle and an end zone delivery he was trying to throw away but didn't get enough on on Dec. 12 vs. Baltimore -- Brady still laments them.

"Those two piss me off still," he said on WEEI, "but it is what it is. I'm glad to not turn the ball over [otherwise]. That's my No. 1 goal every week."

Entering Sunday's game at Miami, Brady said he was aware that the team record for fewest interceptions was five.

"Going into the game, I didn't want to throw three," he said, laughing. "It's a good stat because it correlates to team success, and that's what it's all about for me."

Brady's strong 2016 season has him in the mix for MVP honors, as he finished 291-of-432 for 3,554 yards with 28 touchdowns and the two interceptions. His 28-to-2 touchdown to interception ratio also is an NFL record.

Asked on WEEI if he feels he is the MVP, Brady said, "I'm not one for those [awards]. I really don't think about it. Football is a team sport, and the reality of it is that MVP is usually a quarterback on a good team. It narrows down every defensive player, every running back, every receiver that are all the greatest athletes in the world. It's really a quarterback award, and there are a lot of great quarterbacks. It's impossible to choose someone who is most valuable to a team. There are a lot of great players in the NFL. It's very flattering to be mentioned as one of those players, but I've always been about winning and our team winning, and that's what's always been most important to me."

Meanwhile, Brady has prepared himself for the possibility of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels landing a head-coaching job next season.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have requested permission to speak with McDaniels, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, while the San Francisco 49ers have requested permission to speak with McDaniels and director of player personnel Nick Caserio. The Los Angeles Rams have also asked to interview McDaniels and Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, sources told Schefter.

Brady has worked with McDaniels in two different stints, first from 2001 to 2008 and more recently from 2012 to 2016.

"I see why there's a lot of interest, and there should be. I think he's the best in the NFL," Brady said on WEEI. "Great coaches get opportunities, and he's fortunate to be in a position where he should get it, because he's earned it. I would hate to lose him. He's been spectacular in every way. For me, I could never be the player that I am without him and the way he challenges me every week."