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The Quarterback Project

This is a post in which I systematically rank each NFL quarterback in terms of marry-ability.  I will judge 32 men almost baselessly (how their backsides look in their football pants will be taken into consideration), and determine which man I would like to spend my life with (should Dan ever die in a tragic school bus accident).

It’s not unlike The Bachelorette.

Back in October, when Bill Simmons picked the Giants to win over the Seahawks in week 5 (good call), he noted this in one of his posts:

Eli Manning’s Husband Potential (+10.5) over Every Other NFL Starting QB
Last Sunday, we were watching football when Sarah Larimer (Grantland’s sports blog editor) was asked the question, “If you could marry one NFL QB, who would it be?” Without blinking, she responded, “Eli!”


We were dumbfounded and immediately demanded an explanation. Sarah quickly spouted out three reasons: he’s handsome; he lives in New York (making a long-distance romance more realistic since L.A. to NYC is an easy flight); and most important, she loves that Eli is such a sensitive guy. Apparently, Archie Manning doted on Cooper and Peyton as kids, and poor Eli was left hanging out with his mom and learning how to be sensitive or something (as this 2008 New York Times feature covered). This left us even more dumbfounded, and once Sarah’s Eli selection was quickly and vociferously backed up on e-mail by Grantland’s Katie Baker, we were practically stupefied.

Forget about the fact that I will never look at Eli Manning again without thinking of him making Sarah a mixtape or standing outside Katie’s apartment in the pouring rain holding a boom box over his head and blaring “In Your Eyes” for a second, or that the whole exchange inadvertently gave us a running Eli/Sarah joke for the rest of the season, and really, the rest of the decade. Here’s my question to my 18 female readers out there: Do women really dig Eli Manning, or is it just a massive coincidence that our two-person sample size produced this result?  (source)

Dan and I laughed about it; then he turned to me and asked, “Who would you marry?”

My gut reaction was Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons.  Good looking guy, nice nick name (though not as cool as “The Law Firm”), doesn’t have a hot head.  Seems unlikely to cheat on me, lives in a big city where it’s warm.  Perfect teeth (seriously, they’re like dentures; what the heck).

Dan  was not satisfied.  “Did you know Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard?”  “But wouldn’t you like to live in Miami?”

It was at this point I decided a more in depth analysis was in order.  And thus, the Quarterback Project was born.

I began by listing all of the starting QBs by division, then defined the parameters of my husband search.

Location: Worth 25% of the final score.  I am operating under the assumption that if I were married to an NFL QB I would have the means to travel at will, so proximity to family and friends will not be taken into consideration. Proximity to the beach, OBVIOUSLY, will be.

Personality: Worth 40% of the final score.  My personality assessment is based on press conferences, interviews, articles, tweets, etc.  Needless to say Jay Cutler isn’t going to fare very well in this department.

Sheer, unadulterated physical attractiveness:  25% of the final score.  Points are awarded for how the quarterback looks at present.  Some men have the unfair advantage of being 24 years old.  C’est la vie.

Je ne sais quoi:  10% of the final score.  This accounts for idiosyncrasies and/or “impressions” that turn me on or off for whatever reason.  i.e.  That Andy Dalton could give me red-headed children (turn on); That Tony Romo dated Jessica Simpson (turn off).

First I rated each man’s location and physical attractiveness on a scale of 1-5.  One being unfortunate and five being delicious.  Here are the standings after the first round of quasi-baseless judgement.



Why is Miami a 2, you ask?  Because there are too many exotic-looking, voluptuous Puerto-Rican women in bikinis.  I’m Irish; I freckle.  That’s why.

Why is Oakland a 5?  Because if I lived in Oakland I would REALLY live on Alameda Island.  That’s why.

Why is Green Bay a 3?  Because I was born in WI and it feels like home turf.  And to cite Lydia from Seattle, “being in Wisconsin, you’ll never have to worry about people thinking you’re fat.”  (source) That’s wisdom right there.

Front runners: Tony Romo (what?), Alex Smith (what?), Mark Sanchez (that’s more like it), Tim Tebow, and Philip Rivers.

Then I assigned points for personality and the intangible ” je ne sais quoi” on a similar scale of 1-5.

1 – “You wear your hat backwards (and equally repulsive behavior).”
2 – “Eh.”
3 – “You are not famous enough for me to know anything about you.”
4 – “I like you.”
5 – Exclusively reserved for Tim Tebow.

All four categories were tallied up and weighted, giving each QB a numerical score out of a perfect 50.  This is how it came out; without further ado I give you -


1.  Tim Tebow            45  (Just like him to sneak up from behind with charisma for the win.)

2.  Mark Sanchez      41.5 (UPDATE: Since writing this post it has been brought to my attention [by A LOT of people using very colorful language] that Mark Sanchez is likely to cheat on me with Kim Kardashian or Kate Upton or a 16-year-old, making his ranking obsolete.  Thank you for your input, internet.)

3.  Eli Manning          37.5
Matt Ryan                   37.5
Drew Brees                 37.5
Alex Smith                 37.5  (A tad out of his league, I believe)
7.  Josh Freeman     32.5
Cam Newton              32.5
Carson Palmer          32.5
Matt Hasselbeck      32.5
11. Philip Rivers       32
12. Peyton Manning  30
Colt McCoy                   30
14. Aaron Rodgers     29.5
15. Tony Romo            29
Christian Ponder        29
Blaine Gabbert             29
18. Sam Bradford        28.5
19. Tarvaris Jackson  27.5
20. Rex Grossman       26.5
21. Ryan Fitzpatrick   26
Andy Dalton                  26
23.Michael Vick           25.5  (Worth noting that everyone from this point down has something about them that I find less attractive than having done hard time.)
24. Matt Schaub            24
Kevin Kolb                      24
26. Jay Cutler                 22.5
Tom Brady                      22.5
28. Matt Cassel              21.5
29. Chad Henne             20.5
30. Joe Flacco               19.0
31. Matt Stafford           18.0
32. Ben Roethlisberger 10.0

Surprises:  I can’t say that I’m in absolute agreement with the numbers here.  Perhaps this is like the version of quarterback dating – the guys at the top of the list may not be the same ones I’d pick out of a bar, but all things considered we’d be pretty compatible.

If I had gone with my gut I’d have bumped up Brady (whose superiority complex is mitigated by his intelligence, voice, and Ken-doll face), Fitzpatrick, Dalton, Bradford, and Rodgers.  I’d have bumped down Smith, Freeman, Palmer, and Gabbert.

I’m not a Tebow-maniac by any stretch, but neither am I opposed to him being on top.

Notable Pairings:  Jay Cutler and Tom Brady tying for 26th seems particularly fitting.  Cut from the same cloth, these two; they go together like a pair of Uggs.

Apparently Colt McCoy tying with Peyton Manning is hilarious to my husband.  This post is likely the only time their names will be mentioned in the same sentence.

What have we learned?

- One Eli Manning > Two Matt Staffords.

- One Mark Sanchez > Four Ben Roethlisbergers.

- U-Haul All Stars: If Ryan Fitzpatrick were traded from Buffalo to San Diego he would jump from 21st to 7th.  Christian Ponder would move from 15th to 3rd, and Sam Bradford would move from 18th to 7th.

- The NFC South is far and away the most eligible division: all 4 quarterbacks are in the top 10.

- The AFC North is the least attractive division: 3 of the 4 quarterbacks are in the bottom 10.

- Matt Stafford’s hair and backwards hat is serious enough offense that it places him in the bottom tier with a meathead sex offender.  Sorry, alleged sex offender.

- When pursuing me in marriage, it’s better to be a felon in Philly than to be superior in Massachusetts.

 In conclusion,

Ladies and gentlemen, what needs further consideration?  Who deserves a second glance?  Who deserves to be taken down a peg?  In the event that my husband ever dies in that tragic school bus accident, your input will be invaluable.

  • Dennis

    From one word wizard to another…fantastic.  Love, Dennis

  • Rhonda Hammons

    You know, as sisters in Christ, I have to be upfront here…. Tim is already taken — he is my future son-in-law. BUT, if for some unforeseen reason that falls through and, if something tragic does happen to Dan as you mentioned (which I pray it does not because I love his family), I’d support your marriage 100%! Teensy bit of advice, though… it might be good to dispose of that picture since it originally was a picture of Pam Tebow and her little Timmy. Might cause some mother-in-law/daughter-in-law tension — LOL! JK – I LOVE IT – very creative! Thanks for the smile!

  • Meg Collins

    I laughed out loud the entire way through this. I also snorted especially hard regarding Baltimore being on the scale of 1 of places to live. WHY would you ever think that?? (I’m still laughing.)

    I have come to the conclusion that I don’t watch nearly as much football as you do and am not able to make a fair judgment call. That, and the Collins household has sold its soul to the Green Bay Packers and Scott would only give me permission to marry Aaron Rodgers or Clay Matthews. (And since Clay reminds me too much of Fabio, and I have a certain thing for moody brunettes, I’ll accept Aaron’s proposal. Even if I have to wear ski parkas every day.)

  • TJohnson50

    This is hilarious. I thought I knew football but you have me beat by a long shot. The comparison of each quarterback in this fashion is not only hysterical it’s genius! I loved it.

  • Sgcmonroe

    Note to Dan: Stay off school buses! Love Mom

  • rdanconner

    I shouldn’t be shocked – but I am – that Tebow won and the Sanchize was second. The odds-on-favs were initially Eli, Brees and Matt Ryan. How they got passed is still amazing to me.

    i am a little afraid the Tebow-haters might assume you’re infatuated with him, but it is what it is.

    and this post . . . BRILLIANT!

  • Rose Jackson

    Usually when I read your blog, I am nodding and saying “yes, exactly!” the whole time. This time, I was surprised and a little confused by your post. I realize it is all in good fun, of course, however if I imagine my husband doing the same thing (judging women, I think Sports Illustrated models fit the analogy, by their looks and marriageability to find a replacement for me) I can’t help but think of how inappropriate that would be. I respect you a lot, and you have encouraged me a lot as a wife and mom. This post leaves me a little bewildered. Maybe it’s a football thing, I don’t know.

    • Rdanconner


      I’ll answer this for Kate, since I don’t know if she has even logged on tonight. This post, when you get to the heart of it, is nothing more than a fun celebration of random sports facts. It’s a fun look at what’s important in a partner: (example: there’s a reason that the winner is known for hanging out with sick kids and cancer survivors on game nights) It’s really not about getting married or desiring to be with any of these guys. In actuality, I was as excited as she was about this ‘project.’ You should have heard our late-night conversations we had while watching some Sportscenter highlights or even random commercials starring these qbs. It was and is a conversation starter. It was fun for us to talk about together. I love sports, and she just sees sports differently than I do. SO we hung out and this is what evolved from it.

      Also, it would be completely inappropriate for a man to do the same for Sports Illustrated Models. They are meant to be sex symbols primarily. Football players are primarily football players. Now if Kate asked me to do a silly, fun-only post comparing the marriageability of WNBA players or better yet famous historical figures (Betsy Ross or Harriett Tubman) than it remains fun. I don’t know if this is what Kate would say, but that’s my angle on it.

    • Kate Conner

       Hey Rose, I was wondering when someone might voice this concern!

      I think the most important thing I can say about this is that I never would have written this without the enthusiastic prompting of my husband.  Not only was he okay with it, but creating a formula and introducing me to all the QBs I wasn’t familiar with was entirely his idea.  He bookmarked articles and even did the calculations while I wrote. He was fascinated with the way a girl sees sports (I think Matt Ryan has nice teeth; all Dan sees is that he can’t win in the playoffs).  The project was actually a mutually beneficial way for us to love each other: he praised and encouraged my writing, and I was able to watch and talk sports with him (something he really enjoys).  

      I also agree with what Dan said about the inverse version of a post like this (him ranking models v. WNBA players v. historical figures. Oh man, as a side note, I think it would be hilarious to do that, especially if it ended with a poorly-pieced together picture of Dan with Susan B. Anthony or something.  Anyway…)  There was nothing about the way I analyzed these men that made me think of them as anything but NFL QBs; I’m not mentally or emotionally attached to a single one, and obviously (since Tom Brady is chillin’ down in spot #26) looks aren’t everything, either. :)   The whole analysis is just a creative way to discuss sports trivia – most of which is in the “why” column of the second chart in the form of subtle references to things that happened this year (like Jay Cutler texting while the owner of his team was trying to speak to him).

      All that to say, I’m crazy about my husband – we’re happier in love now than we have ever been (literally – that’s not just a way to say I like him a lot), and I hope he never dies in a tragic school bus accident. ;)

      I hope that helps you to feel a little more COMFORTABLE with the post, even if you never love it. I’m happy to call you friend.  Thanks for reading!

      • Guest

        I don’t know you personally, but I read your blog because it’s so inspiring. I’m not where you are in your life – married with beautiful children – yet, but I am a young Christian lady and your posts are always so inspiring and exciting about the future God has in store for me, whether it involves children and marriage or not.  I agree with Rose; typically, I’m relishing each post and always enjoy them.  However, this post was disappointing and left me mildly disgusted. Sure, your husband encouraged it, but I don’t think it sets the best example for young Christian women reading your posts.  In this instance, I realize you were joking and whatnot, but I believe that most husbands wouldn’t be okay with this.  I know that if I were married and my husband did any sort of post comparing any women (Sports Illustrated, WNBA, whatever), it would hurt me to some extent.  In a marriage, you belong to each other and I see any consideration of what it would be like to be with other people as disrespectful to your spouse and to God.  I don’t want a husband comparing other women, or worse, comparing me to other women ever.  In short, I realize that this was a joke. But, I’m still not comfortable with this post and it has disappointed me. I know I’m not the only young woman who looks up to you, and I fear that this post could lead some astray.

  • Smiles

    This post made my night. It was awesome. However, as an avid football fan who can name all 32 starting quarterbacks from memory and a large portion of their backups I have some comments.

    1) you don’t like hats on backwards? I find that weird and funny. I sometimes wear a hat backwards, sometimes frontwards. Depends on the hat and my mood.
    2) Colt McCoy should be higher. He, when he started to play really well in college, moved off campus because girls kept coming to his door hoping for…….him
    3) I hate Tony Romo because he’s a Cowboy but he should get a few points for dating Carrie Underwood. She may be married to some stupid hockey player but secretly she’s in love with me
    4) It doesn’t matter that you don’t know anything about Tarvaris Jackson. His days of being considered a starter are probably over
    5) Even though I’m a Redskin fan I’m glad Rex Grossman is rated low. He sucks and I want him out of Washington. On Madden I cut him and put Tim Tebow in Washington
    6) Speaking of Tebow he’s definitely the best choice for #1. I don’t know what’s attractive but the fact that he is unashamedly Christian and is all about helping people (built an orphanage in the Philippines)

    For my final thought I am posting a video that is all you need to know about the aforementioned Tarvaris Jackson. Turn the sound off because there is a stupid song that goes with it

    • Kate Conner

       That’s awesome, Smiles.  Crazy video – that man got lifted off the ground!  Good to know about Colt McCoy, I know he’s shared his testimony publicly and seems like a really great guy.  And the fact that you love Carrie is EXACTLY why Romo lost points for dating her – I don’t want to have to follow that act. :)  

      • Smiles

        Haha, yeah, that’s what he gets for throwing an interception. Yup, we carry McCoy’s biography at my work along with Tebow’s.

  • T.J. Mousetis


  • Guestington

    Oakland as a city is a 5?   NYC is a 4, but Oakland is a 5? 


  • MD

    Listen to Tim Tebow talk and then tell me he deserves a “5″ for “personality.:

    • Kate Conner

      Are you referring to voice or content?  If you’re referring to his voice I could see where you’re coming from.  He’s no Brady.  But I’d rather listen to Tebow for an hour than Andrew Luck for 10 minutes.

  • Josh Hand

    It’s funny because Bradys personality is the exact opposite of how you describe him… He’s just a really competitive person…

    • Kate Conner

      I hope so.  And to be fair, I totally love that he and Gisele are still together, and loved her “stand by your man” moment after the superbowl.  Props for making marriage work.

  • Poopypants

    Kansas City, KS would be a 1 on your arbitrary rating system.  Unfortunately the Chiefs reside in Kansas City, MO.

    • Kate Conner

      Yikes, good call.  And yes, the rating system is pretty loose.  But sill not sure the change of state swings the numbers any…unless you know of some awesome homes/haunts/culture in MO.

  • Jenny

    Geez! Harsh much?

  • Janie

    Does the city SUCK? Aren’t there much classier and less crude alternatives than that word?

  • Jillian Pratt Schooley

    This post made me laugh!  Thanks! :D

  • Ashley Pichea

    I’ve have picked Tebow as #1 without the list, but nice to know that the list works! :) lol

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