Above is a scatter plot of height (y-axis) and weight (x-axis) for professional athletes in the five major sports in the United States: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS. The data points displayed are averages at different positions in the sport. For example, the average point guard in the NBA is 6’2” 185 lbs whereas the average center is 6’11” 250 lbs. The average US man (approximately 5’9” 190 lbs) is labeled in white. Keep in mind that only 14.5% of US men are taller than 6 foot and only 3.9% are taller than 6’2”. Given that the average height for the shortest position in the NBA is 6’2”, virtually 96% of the US population is eliminated for consideration on height alone.
Another thing that stands out is the weight difference in the NFL compared to other major sports. Every position averages a higher weight than the average US man. A big driver of this is the ‘arms race’ of teams drafting larger and larger offensive linemen and subsequently larger defensive linemen in response. Below is a bar chart displaying the number of players in the NFL that weighted over 300 pounds in ten-year intervals. In 1980, only 3 players weighted over 300 pounds – today average offensive lineman is 6’5” 312 pounds.
For what it’s worth, here are my current (as of Feb 2017) rankings of the NFL’s top quarterbacks. The ‘Num’ column on the far right indicates my opinion of QB ranking. In the spreadsheet I have included columns displaying Super Bowl wins, Super Bowl appearances, NFL regular season MVP’s (with Offensive Player of the Year winners included in the case of Brees, Fouts, and Moon), QB rating, Career completion percentage, Career TD’s, TD to Interception ratio, Game winning drives, Playoff wins, Playoff appearances, Playoff winning percentage, and a few additional columns used for calculations.
I have color coded each column as: dark green – top QB in the statistic, green – in the top 25% in the sample, red – in the bottom 25% in the sample, dark red – the bottom QB in the statistic in the sample. Rankings are dependent on what category metrics one wants to ‘rank’ the best quarterback of all-time. It can’t simply be by Super Bowl wins, or Super Bowl appearances, or playoff record alone – as the player could have merely been on a good team. Or should it only be considered by regular season stats alone? Longevity of career is also considered, although how much weight should be put on this? Rankings, this one included, are always subjective – this is what keeps the debates alive and on-going. What do you think of my rankings? What would you change?