For Pete's Sake

Alex Smith is best-looking NFL quarterback, according to authors’ research

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith holds his son Hudson as he throws out a first pitch before Friday’s baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees on June 6, 2014 at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith holds his son Hudson as he throws out a first pitch before Friday’s baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees on June 6, 2014 at Kauffman Stadium. jsleezer@kcstar.com

Maybe Gisele Bundchen married Tom Brady because he has a great personality.

Because he’s no Alex Smith in the looks department.

That’s according to a Sports Illustrated story about the best-looking NFL starting quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive backs.

Ranking athletes by their looks is a subject that has been studied by economists in the past. An example: In 2008, I wrote about a study that found good-looking quarterbacks get paid more money. Researchers based their findings on the symmetry of a player’s face, because there is facial-recognition software that recognizes beauty.

“We collected data on how good-looking they are. This is something that you can empirically measure,” sports economist David Berri told me back then. “The NFL takes pictures of every quarterback and you can measure the symmetry of a person’s face. That is a measure of attractiveness.”

Jon Wertheim and Sam Sommers, who wrote the book “This Is Your Brain On Sports,” used a little different tact, eschewing the software. They took official team photos of all 32 starting quarterbacks from the start of the 2014 season. They wanted respondents to rate each on a 1-10 scale.

As they described in a Sports Illustrated article, the writers were interested in learning if quarterbacks were considered better looking than other position players. So they also used photos of receivers and defensive backs as well. They asked 100 people to rate the looks of the players from the three position groups, and never mentioned that all were NFL players. Then they ran the test with another group of 100 people.

Their findings were interesting: quarterbacks ranked third, behind defensive backs (No. 1) and receivers.

But among quarterbacks, the Chiefs’ Alex Smith was ranked as the most handsome. Tom Brady was second, and the Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill was third.

So there you have it: Unequivocal proof that Alex Smith is the best-looking quarterback in the NFL.

You can read much more about their finds and other tests that they shared in the Sports Illustrated story here.

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Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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