What Does PD Mean in Football?

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The quarterback drops back to pass, has time and fires the football toward a receiver. A hush of anticipation falls on the stadium crowd as the ball zips to a group of players. Hands fly and in a blur, the ball pops loose and hits the ground. The defender did his job and denied the pass. And there's a statistic for that.

Incomplete Pass

PD stands for pass or passes defended. For the stat to be recorded, the defender has to get his hands on the ball to disrupt the pass, either through a deflection or by knocking a nearly caught ball out of the receiver's grasp. The play must result in an incomplete pass. A deflected ball that is caught is recorded as either a reception or an interception, depending on which team caught the ball. PD's are used to assess a defender's performance but can also be used to judge a quarterback who makes poor decisions by throwing the ball into tight coverage by the defense.