Height, Why It Has Never & Will Never Matter For Quarterbacks

Taking a Step Back, and Actually Evaluating If Height Matters For Elite Level Quarterbacks

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This has to be one of my favorite traits to hear the average football fan, coach, or quarterback guru discuss. Height and its importance to the Quarterback position. Today I am going to explain to you why it has never and will never matter for Quarterbacks.

Uneducated scouts, fans, coaches, parents, moms, dads, bloggers, will all tell you that a Quarterback has to pass the 6’ 3” threshold to make it in the NFL. They dub Russell Wilson and Drew Brees as anomalies and then go on to tell you why 75 inches tall is the sacred cow that must never be killed. Once and for all I am calling BS and I am backing it up with numbers, arguments, and truth in which old-school scouts will write off with the same vigor they tell their grandsons that social media is ruining the youth today.

The Traits Argument

The first argument to be made on why height has never and will never matter for Quarterbacks is the trait argument. Quick question for you “Quarterbacks must be a certain height die hards”, would you rather have a Quarterback with quick game accuracy or a tall quarterback? A follow-up, what would you rather have a Quarterback with Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning like recall or a tall quarterback? I think you guys see where I am going with this. Frankly, unless you participated in Bud Lights’ Dilly Dilly call this Sunday you should be able to predict where I was going but I will continue to spell it out below.

Here is my list of traits that come before being tall in no particular order:

Accuracy ( Quick Game, Down Field, Shot), Recall & Recognition, Football IQ, Footwork, Arm Ability, Arm Angle Variation Ability, Leadership, Ability To Influence, Ability To Communicate, hell I might even put how to handle the media and post-game press conferences above height.

The traits argument is the strongest and most effective way to quickly see just how far down the list you actually rank the height of a quarterback.

Interior Lineman Argument

Before you bang the table and call your mom downstairs into the basement, where you still live at home to tell her why I am wrong and you are smart, let me ask you this, have you ever taken a rep in the NFL or even College? If the answer is no please stop acting like you know if the height of a Quarterback matters.

Anyone ready to jump all in on the “he can see over the lineman” argument, please feel free to jump right off of this page before you get destroyed.

In 2016 the NFL’s tallest offensive line averaged 6’ 6” and shortest averaged 6’ 4”. A quick living room study, thanks to the MVP: my wife Emily, tells me that I am 6’ 2” (74 inches). However, my true eye level is 70 inches (5’ 10”) which means that you would need to be 6’ 8” to have your eye level be at 6’ 4”. Let’s also make the jump that helmets and offensive line posture cross each other out. That would mean that the ideal height for an NFL QB needs to be 6’ 8” – 6’ 10” to see over the average lineman.

Can the Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler over Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers fans please stand up? Crickets? Yeah, I thought so.

I am also here to tell you that lineman are not getting any shorter in the near future. Lineman are getting bigger and bigger, oh by the way they are faster than they have ever been too.

Complexity Over Data Argument

My final argument is easy but I need to start by giving some credit to the “ideal quarterback height” people. The data would lead me to believe you are correct, the average NFL quarterback in 2015 was a little over 6 foot 3 inches. However I hate groupthink and I will not let averages shake me from my true gut instinct on the position, and I am willing to bet that by the league year 2025 this number is trending down not up.

With that, I still need to explain my final point. Take a second and sit upright, visualize the tallest QB’s in the NFL that struggled and got knocked on their butts in the league, the Jamarcus Russell’s of the world. What was their issue? Was it their height or was it the complexity of the NFL game, recall, lack of a different trait?

I would truthfully debate anyone, anytime, anywhere, that each quarterback who has spent any time in the league and not been effective had something other than height drawing them back. Was Johnny Manziel ran out of the league because he wasn’t tall enough? I think there were a couple other issues there. How about Drew Brees? Is he successful because he is barely 6’ 0”, no he is successful because of all of the other traits that make him great.

I am a believer that it is simply foolish, heck, fiscally and morally irresponsible to fan bases for scouts and GM’s to judge quarterbacks based on height. We all need to take a step back and think: in a game in which the snap-to-throw time ranges from 2 to 3 seconds, it is intellectually dishonest to act like height matters. In a game where the complexity of protection checks, read progressions, and run checks are at an all-time high lets take a second and ask: would I rather have 6’ 5” of a QB who can’t get us to the correct side on a run bubble check or a 5’ 11” QB who always gets us blocked up in protection. I know who I am picking, and I hope, I pray, that you don’t bet your next scholarship QB or 1st round pick on a guy who “looks the part”.


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