The NFL Defensive Players with the Most Interceptions in a Season
NFL Stats and Records
A timely interception can turn the tide of an NFL game, and over the years some special players have proven themselves to have a gifted instinct for the ball. If defense really does win championships, you’d certainly want these guys on your team. Get free NFL Picks and NFL Predictions all season long for every game at Sports Chat Place.
These are the NFL players with the most interceptions in a season.
1. Dick “Night Train” Lane, Los Angeles Rams, 14 (1952) - The guy with the coolest NFL name of all time also singlehandedly holds the record for the most interceptions in an NFL season. The Hall-of-Fame cornerback nabbed 14 interceptions in his rookie year with the Los Angeles Rams. Lane picked off 68 passes during his decorated career.
2. Lester Hayes, Oakland Raiders, 13 (tie, 1980) - Three NFL players are tied for second on the most interceptions in an NFL season list, and we’ll start with Hayes here. The man nicknamed “the Judge” intercepted 13 passes for the Raiders in the 1980 season, a year in which they also won the Super Bowl. In a career that spanned from 1977-1986 Hayes won the Super Bowl twice and made the Pro Bowl five times.
2. Dan Sandifer, Washington Redskins, 13 (tie, 1948) - Sandifer holds the distinction of being our oldest entry on the season interceptions list, and he played with six different NFL teams from 1948 to 1953. Sandifer picked off four passes against the Boston Yanks in a Halloween game during his rookie year, and also boasts 74 career carries for 247 yards and a TD.
2. Spec Sanders, New York Yanks, 13 (tie, 1950) - The New York Yankees that Sanders played for weren’t baseball’s Bronx Bombers, but an All-America Conference football team that existed in the late 1940s. Sanders only played for four seasons, but made the Pro Bowl in his final year when he logged 13 interceptions.
5. Jack Christiansen, Detroit Lions, 12 (tie, 1953) - There’s a log jam of players at the end of this list who all hold a third-place tie in season interceptions, but we’ll get to everybody. Here’s Christiansen, who bagged 12 interceptions with the Lions in 1953. After his playing career, Christiansen had a long NFL/college tenure as a coach, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970.
5. Don Doll, Detroit Lions, 12 (tie, 1950) - Doll tallied his 12-interception number in a span of just 11 games, which makes it even more impressive. Aside from that epic 1950 campaign, Doll played in each of the first four Pro Bowls and won an NFL championship with the Lions in 1952. After his retirement from playing, Doll coached football for another 34 years at the college and pro levels.
5. Fred Glick, Houston Oilers, 12 (tie, 1963) - Glick played for the NFL during his first two years, then went on to play another half-dozen seasons in the AFL for the Oilers. He was an AFL champion in 1961, and a three-time All-Star in the league. Glick is also a member of the Colorado State University Hall of Fame.
5. Paul Krause, Washington Redskins, 12 (tie, 1964) - Krause isn’t necessarily a household hame, but he probably should be. After an epic 16-season NFL career that stretched from 1964-1979, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998. Krause notched 81 interceptions in his career and was an eight-time Pro Bowler.
5. Woodley Lewis, Los Angeles Rams, 12 (tie, 1950) - Lewis played 11 seasons in the NFL for the Rams, (Chicago) Cardinals and Cowboys. The Oregon product made the Pro Bowl in 1950, made All-Pro in 1951 and 1953, and won the NFL championship in 1951. Over 126 career games, Lewis had 26 picks.
5. Bob Nussbaumer, Chicago Cardinals, 12 (tie, 1949) - Here’s another blast from the 1940s. After getting drafted in the third round in 1946, Nussbaumer went to the Packers and Redskins before his 12-interception season with the Cardinals, and he’d only have four picks otherwise in his career. In 49 games, Nussbaumer also notched 992 yards with five touchdowns.
5. Dainard Paulson, New York Jets, 12 (tie, 1964) - Jets fans don’t have too many team legends outside of Joe Namath, but Paulson is worthy of some recognition as well. Paulson put up his 12-interception campaign in 1964, a year in which he was also named an AFL All-Star. In 84 career games, Paulson had 29 interceptions and one TD.
5. Mike Reinfeldt, Houston Oilers, 12 (tie, 1979) - Reinfeldt was a safety for eight seasons in the NFL with the Raiders and the Oilers. His best year was 1979, where he was elected to the Pro Bowl and was All-Pro. Reinfeldt played in 104 games during his career and also recovered 11 fumbles.
5. Emmitt Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs, 12 (tie, 1974) - Hall-of-Fame player Thomas had an awesome career, and he’s a great way to end the NFL season interceptions list. Among his myriad accomplishments are five Pro Bowls, three Super Bowl championships, two AFL championships and he had his number (18) retired by the Chiefs. To top it all off, Thomas had a lengthy professional coaching career once his playing days were finished.