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What makes quarterbacks so attractive?

Sure, quarterbacks may be hot, but there are other factors at play.

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams
Jimmy Garoppolo should be at the top of any list measuring hotness.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Quarterbacks make people swoon: Tom Brady. Aaron Rodgers. Jimmy Garoppolo. Russell Wilson.

But why?

With a new NFL season upon us, I thought it was the perfect time to explore this important topic on the latest edition of my “Sports Kiki” podcast. Making the subject even more timely, the Golden Ratio Face app recently came out with a list of the 10 best-looking quarterbacks, according to their formula.

And the omissions were glaring. No Jimmy G? Justin Herbert? Matt Ryan? Rodgers ahead of Wilson? Are you kidding me?

While Golden Ratio Face app’s formula remains opaque, two sportswriters conducted some surveys a few years ago to try and nail down what makes quarterbacks stand out. L. Jon Wertheim and Sam Sommers dedicated a chapter to the phenomenon in their 2016 book, “This is Your Brain On Sports.”

In it, they write about their polling, and its surprising findings. To get a read on QB hotness, the writers selected the official team photos of all 32 starting NFL QBs in 2014, as well as random receivers and defensive backs. They insured the racial demographics were equal among all position groups.

To judge the photos, they recruited 100 people, who voted on the players online. As it turns out, quarterbacks were rated as the least attractive group. An excerpt of the chapter with the exact figures was published in Sports Illustrated:

“Just how much more attractive were QBs than other players? The answer in our first sample of 100 respondents: not a bit. In fact, quarterbacks received the lowest ratings of the three positions: 4.5, compared with 4.7 for wide receivers and 5.0 for defensive backs.”

Those results indicate the perception of QB attractiveness doesn’t match the reality. But the writers’ informal poll only considered physical looks. There are other factors that determine desirability.

One of them is the halo effect. As outlined in the SI piece, positive impressions that others have about people can cast their other characteristics in a better light — including physical looks.

And what are some of the traits commonly prescribed to quarterbacks? Intelligence, leadership, confidence.

It’s the hunk holy trifecta. You mean he’s hot and has a brain, too?

Cincinatti Bengals QB Joe Burrow, who tops the Golden Ratio face app’s list, fits the classic criteria. He’s 6-foot-4, 220 pounds with a strong arm and inviting smile.

In other words, he’s a complete stud.

Arizona Cardinals v Cincinnati Bengals
I mean ... come on!
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

There’s a lot of sociology that goes into measuring attractiveness. It’s probably not a coincidence that Tom Brady seemingly got hotter with each Super Bowl win.

Quarterbacks benefit from perception. If only I could throw a spiral.

Click here to check out this episode of our Outsports podcast, “The Sports Kiki.” You can also subscribe to the show on Apple’s Podcast page as well as on Google Podcasts, and wherever you’ll find Outsports podcasts.

Episode rundown:

1:45: What on-field impact will Carl Nassib have this season?

3:45: Most handsome quarterbacks in the NFL

11:12: Why are quarterbacks considered so attractive?