Can being taller make you a more successful quarterback?
Tall signal-callers have a distinct advantage over shorter players—and not only because they have a better view over their offensive linemen, a new study found.
Taller players are better at being able to identify targets that are “in their middle-distance vision,”—about 20 yards away in football terms, according to Teng Leng Ooi, a professor of optometry at The Ohio State University. The study, which was published in Science Advances, found that taller athletes have advantages due to having better “spatial relations” and a “better perspective of the ground.”
“That could be because they’ve spent a lifetime of looking at the ground from a higher vantage point,” Ooi said.
The study looked at 24 subjects, split evenly between tall (around 5’10”) and short (around 5′), and had them predict the distance of targets in various settings, including in full light, pitch black, and dimly lit settings. The research found that even when the taller subjects were sitting and the shorter subjects were standing, the taller ones were still better at predicting the distance.
“Maybe taller athletes have advantages on the field, especially in sports such as tennis and football,” she said.
While those findings are interesting when it comes to quarterbacks, there are some players that have bucked that trend in a big way in the NFL. According to USA Today, as of the 2015 season, 6’3” was the average height for quarterbacks in the league. So for our list, we looked at quarterbacks that have excelled in the league that were 6’0” or shorter—hardly short by the standards of this experiment or everyday life, but certainly on the shorter side for the typical NFL QB.
Here’s a look at some of the quarterbacks that have kicked ass despite their short stature.