What Is The Ideal Height For An NFL Quarterback?

There has been a lot of talk about Quarterbacks and Height ever since the Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson in the third round.  There’s a pretty good article over on Field Gulls about recent trends in drafting quarterbacks according to height.  I thought I’d go the other way in looking at the very best the NFL has had to offer at the position.

I’m not going to replicate the list, so just open this link and refer to it as we go along.  Obviously, we’re going to look at the top quarterbacks of all time according to total passing yards, because I’m not all that adept at any kind of sabermetrics the game of football has to offer.  Aside from a few long-timers who were always mediocre, but just so happened to play forever (Testaverde, Collins, Everett, Hart, Hadl, among others), it’s a pretty good indicator of who was good.  Once the shock of seeing Kerry Collins in the Top 10 of all time quarterbacks in yardage wears off, take a step back and realize that all of these guys had some success in the league, and if Russell Wilson turns out to be any of the top 60 guys on this list, I’m sure the Seahawks would be ecstatic.

I stopped at the Top 60 quarterbacks because it’s an arbitrary number (besides, if I went very much deeper, I’d be including guys like Daunte Culpepper and Steve Beuerlein … yeesh!).  But, before we go too much further, go ahead and open this link as well, and look at the top active quarterbacks.  It’s not critical, as I won’t be naming any names, but of the Top 20 active quarterbacks, below you’ll find the heights and the number of players at those heights:

  • 6’5 – 6
  • 6’4 – 4
  • 6’3 – 1
  • 6’2 – 5
  • 6’1 – 2
  • 6’0 – 2
  • 5’11 – 0

You’ll notice that 16 of the top 20 quarterbacks are 6’2 and higher (but, no taller than 6’5).  You’ll also notice that exactly 0 of the top 20 quarterbacks playing at the moment are 5’11 (which is Wilson’s height).

That should give you a fair idea of where the game is at right now, but what about All Time?  Well, of the Top 60 all time quarterbacks, you’ll find the heights and the number of players at those heights:

  • 6’5 – 10
  • 6’4 – 11
  • 6’3 – 12
  • 6’2 – 12
  • 6’1 – 9
  • 6’0 – 5
  • 5’11 – 1

That would be 45 out of 60 between the heights of 6’2 and 6’5 (with none in the top 60 over 6’5).  Now, I don’t know how many quarterbacks there have been over 6’5 in the history of the NFL, but wouldn’t you think there would have been at least ONE in the Top 60?  Hell, there’s ONE at 5’11 (the late, great Sonny Jurgensen, at number 30 all time).

Anyway, those are the numbers.  It’s interesting.  The optimal window you’re looking at is 6’2 – 6’5.  However, if you want me to give you one definitive height for your ideal quarterback, I’ll see if my 5th grade education can work something out.

Convert the heights to straight inches, multiply by the number of players at each height, add up the total inches & divide by 60 … that puts you at 74.7 inches, or just a few hairs under 6’3.

That is your ideal height.  74.7 inches.  Spread the word, we know how to fight them.

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