The Quarterback Project

This is a post in which I systematically rank each NFL quarterback in terms of marry-ability.  I will judge 32 men almost baselessly (how their backsides look in their football pants will be taken into consideration), and determine which man I would like to spend my life with (should Dan ever die in a tragic school bus accident). It's not unlike The Bachelorette.

Back in October, when Bill Simmons picked the Giants to win over the Seahawks in week 5 (good call), he noted this in one of his posts:

Eli Manning's Husband Potential (+10.5) over Every Other NFL Starting QB Last Sunday, we were watching football when Sarah Larimer (Grantland's sports blog editor) was asked the question, "If you could marry one NFL QB, who would it be?" Without blinking, she responded, "Eli!"


We were dumbfounded and immediately demanded an explanation. Sarah quickly spouted out three reasons: he's handsome; he lives in New York (making a long-distance romance more realistic since L.A. to NYC is an easy flight); and most important, she loves that Eli is such a sensitive guy. Apparently, Archie Manning doted on Cooper and Peyton as kids, and poor Eli was left hanging out with his mom and learning how to be sensitive or something (as this 2008 New York Times feature covered). This left us even more dumbfounded, and once Sarah's Eli selection was quickly and vociferously backed up on e-mail by Grantland's Katie Baker, we were practically stupefied.

Forget about the fact that I will never look at Eli Manning again without thinking of him making Sarah a mixtape or standing outside Katie's apartment in the pouring rain holding a boom box over his head and blaring "In Your Eyes" for a second, or that the whole exchange inadvertently gave us a running Eli/Sarah joke for the rest of the season, and really, the rest of the decade. Here's my question to my 18 female readers out there: Do women really dig Eli Manning, or is it just a massive coincidence that our two-person sample size produced this result?  (source)

Dan and I laughed about it; then he turned to me and asked, "Who would you marry?"

My gut reaction was Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons.  Good looking guy, nice nick name (though not as cool as "The Law Firm"), doesn't have a hot head.  Seems unlikely to cheat on me, lives in a big city where it's warm.  Perfect teeth (seriously, they're like dentures; what the heck).

Dan  was not satisfied.  "Did you know Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard?"  "But wouldn't you like to live in Miami?"

It was at this point I decided a more in depth analysis was in order.  And thus, the Quarterback Project was born.

I began by listing all of the starting QBs by division, then defined the parameters of my husband search.

Location: Worth 25% of the final score.  I am operating under the assumption that if I were married to an NFL QB I would have the means to travel at will, so proximity to family and friends will not be taken into consideration. Proximity to the beach, OBVIOUSLY, will be.

Personality: Worth 40% of the final score.  My personality assessment is based on press conferences, interviews, articles, tweets, etc.  Needless to say Jay Cutler isn't going to fare very well in this department.

Sheer, unadulterated physical attractiveness:  25% of the final score.  Points are awarded for how the quarterback looks at present.  Some men have the unfair advantage of being 24 years old.  C'est la vie.

Je ne sais quoi:  10% of the final score.  This accounts for idiosyncrasies and/or "impressions" that turn me on or off for whatever reason.  i.e.  That Andy Dalton could give me red-headed children (turn on); That Tony Romo dated Jessica Simpson (turn off).

First I rated each man's location and physical attractiveness on a scale of 1-5.  One being unfortunate and five being delicious.  Here are the standings after the first round of quasi-baseless judgement.



Why is Miami a 2, you ask?  Because there are too many exotic-looking, voluptuous Puerto-Rican women in bikinis.  I'm Irish; I freckle.  That's why.

Why is Oakland a 5?  Because if I lived in Oakland I would REALLY live on Alameda Island.  That's why.

Why is Green Bay a 3?  Because I was born in WI and it feels like home turf.  And to cite Lydia from Seattle, "being in Wisconsin, you'll never have to worry about people thinking you're fat."  (source) That's wisdom right there.

Front runners: Tony Romo (what?), Alex Smith (what?), Mark Sanchez (that's more like it), Tim Tebow, and Philip Rivers.

Then I assigned points for personality and the intangible " je ne sais quoi" on a similar scale of 1-5.

1 - "You wear your hat backwards (and equally repulsive behavior)." 2 - "Eh." 3 - "You are not famous enough for me to know anything about you." 4 - "I like you." 5 - Exclusively reserved for Tim Tebow.

All four categories were tallied up and weighted, giving each QB a numerical score out of a perfect 50.  This is how it came out; without further ado I give you -


1.  Tim Tebow            45  (Just like him to sneak up from behind with charisma for the win.)

2.  Mark Sanchez      41.5 (UPDATE: Since writing this post it has been brought to my attention [by A LOT of people using very colorful language] that Mark Sanchez is likely to cheat on me with Kim Kardashian or Kate Upton or a 16-year-old, making his ranking obsolete.  Thank you for your input, internet.)

3.  Eli Manning          37.5 Matt Ryan                   37.5 Drew Brees                 37.5 Alex Smith                 37.5  (A tad out of his league, I believe) 7.  Josh Freeman     32.5 Cam Newton              32.5 Carson Palmer          32.5 Matt Hasselbeck      32.5 11. Philip Rivers       32 12. Peyton Manning  30 Colt McCoy                   30 14. Aaron Rodgers     29.5 15. Tony Romo            29 Christian Ponder        29 Blaine Gabbert             29 18. Sam Bradford        28.5 19. Tarvaris Jackson  27.5 20. Rex Grossman       26.5 21. Ryan Fitzpatrick   26 Andy Dalton                  26 23.Michael Vick           25.5  (Worth noting that everyone from this point down has something about them that I find less attractive than having done hard time.) 24. Matt Schaub            24 Kevin Kolb                      24 26. Jay Cutler                 22.5 Tom Brady                      22.5 28. Matt Cassel              21.5 29. Chad Henne             20.5 30. Joe Flacco               19.0 31. Matt Stafford           18.0 32. Ben Roethlisberger 10.0

Surprises:  I can't say that I'm in absolute agreement with the numbers here.  Perhaps this is like the version of quarterback dating - the guys at the top of the list may not be the same ones I'd pick out of a bar, but all things considered we'd be pretty compatible.

If I had gone with my gut I'd have bumped up Brady (whose superiority complex is mitigated by his intelligence, voice, and Ken-doll face), Fitzpatrick, Dalton, Bradford, and Rodgers.  I'd have bumped down Smith, Freeman, Palmer, and Gabbert.

I'm not a Tebow-maniac by any stretch, but neither am I opposed to him being on top.

Notable Pairings:  Jay Cutler and Tom Brady tying for 26th seems particularly fitting.  Cut from the same cloth, these two; they go together like a pair of Uggs.

Apparently Colt McCoy tying with Peyton Manning is hilarious to my husband.  This post is likely the only time their names will be mentioned in the same sentence.

What have we learned?

- One Eli Manning > Two Matt Staffords.

- One Mark Sanchez > Four Ben Roethlisbergers.

- U-Haul All Stars: If Ryan Fitzpatrick were traded from Buffalo to San Diego he would jump from 21st to 7th.  Christian Ponder would move from 15th to 3rd, and Sam Bradford would move from 18th to 7th.

- The NFC South is far and away the most eligible division: all 4 quarterbacks are in the top 10.

- The AFC North is the least attractive division: 3 of the 4 quarterbacks are in the bottom 10.

- Matt Stafford's hair and backwards hat is serious enough offense that it places him in the bottom tier with a meathead sex offender.  Sorry, alleged sex offender.

- When pursuing me in marriage, it's better to be a felon in Philly than to be superior in Massachusetts.

 In conclusion,

Ladies and gentlemen, what needs further consideration?  Who deserves a second glance?  Who deserves to be taken down a peg?  In the event that my husband ever dies in that tragic school bus accident, your input will be invaluable.