"I don't want to name names," said Palmer, "But if your name doesn't rhyme with 'shady', [Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady] 'thick' [Eagle's Michael Vick], or 'Schmeyton Schmanning', opposing teams will simply look the other way while their secondaries pick off your passes."
Palmer's accusations may be inflammatory, but they are substantiated by statistics. Quarterbacks like Palmer, 49er's Alex Smith, and Cardinal's Derek Anderson have each reached double digits in interceptions this season, while so-called "elite" quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Michael Vick each have less than 5.
"It's a matter of equality," continued Palmer. "I'm fine with throwing interceptions - that's just a part of the game. I'm just saying that everyone should be throwing the same amount."
The issue of dominant quarterbacks throwing fewer interceptions reaches back into the annals of history. Traditionally, passers with high quarterback ratings have had fewer passes picked off by opposing teams than their lesser-known contemporaries. Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath threw an average of just over 6 interceptions in his first three seasons; by comparison, Joe's college teammate Richard Todd threw more interceptions than touchdowns in his first five professional seasons.
Palmer's Bengals are now statistically eliminated from the playoffs and preparing for the next season, a fact Palmer is quick to attribute to his high interception count. "I can't say how things might have been if I hadn't been picked off so much," said Palmer, "but it's frustrating to think that the opposing teams have such a hand in determining our status in the league."