The quarterback is one of the most important positions of any football team. They are responsible for calling the plays in the huddles and making an audible when needed on the line. Many are considered to be the leaders on and off the field. With this great responsibility comes great compensation.
On average the quarterback is the highest paid position in football. Many teams try to have what is called a “Franchise QB”. These teams invest heavily in these franchise players with the hope that it will lead to Super Bowl Tittles. They are rewarded with huge long term contracts. Some of which are more justified than others (i.e. Mark “Butt Fumble” Sanchez’s huge contract). This week I decided to look at some of the data with quarterback salaries to try to determine what factors play into how much a quarterback gets paid.
A sample size of 75 quarterbacks was collected from the 2005-06 up to the 2009-10 season. Only quarterbacks that were deemed starters, played mostly every game, and did not retire the following season were used. Then these stats were corresponded with how much they were paid the following season. The theory behind this is that how well a quarterback does in their current season will determine how much they will make in the next season.
Below are some of the basic stats from the different variables.
Attractiveness and Intelligence are two variables you may see above that warrant a little explanation on how a number was derived. Intelligence was measured by using a player’s Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Score. This is a mental examination tool that is used to test players when they are in the NFL Draft Combine. The scores range from 0 to 50, with 50 meaning you answered every question correctly. Attractiveness was measured by using the theory of facial symmetry. This essentially says that the more symmetrical a persons face is the more attractive they are. By using Symmeter.com I used each players official NFL photo and was able to produce a number to correspond with their level of attractiveness.
After running a regression analysis along with several correlation tests, some interesting observations were revealed. The first is that the AFC has more attractive quarterbacks than the NFC (must be because of Tom Brady’s Uggs). We also observed that quarterbacks in the NFC earned $685,298 less than the quarterbacks in the AFC holding all other statistics constant.
The next is that attractive quarterbacks were paid slightly better than their peers. For each percentage increase in facial symmetry a quarterbacks salary is projected to go up an extra $186,291. Quarterback’s who are better looking may sell more jerseys, which may explain why a franchise may pay these players more. There have also been many studies that have shown that attractive people tend to be more confident. This confidence may help inspire a locker room and lead a team to a Super Bowl win.
The final insight pulled from the data is probably one of the most expected findings. Winning a Super Bowl in the current season is the largest predictor on how much a quarterback gets paid in the following season. Quarterbacks who had won the Super Bowl in the season prior earned $7,087,339 more the following season than quarterbacks who had not. Brad Pitt said this perfectly in the film Money Ball, “If you don’t win the last game of the season, nobody gives a shit”. The goal of every team, every season, is to make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl, and it only makes sense that quarterbacks who achieve this were highly rewarded.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any article ideas or sports data that you would like to see tested.
Special thanks to Matt Lurie and Kyle Ostrander for their help with compiling the data for this weeks article.