Friday, June 30, 2006

The Measure of a Man

Does height have any effect on how well college quarterbacks play? Of course it does. The average Division I quarterback is taller than the average man. Coaches (whether accurate or not) are biased toward taller players. We know there is a difference between groups (quarterbacks and average joes), but is there a difference within groups? Are taller quarterbacks better passers? Are shorter quarterbacks better runners? To answer these questions, I sampled every Division IA quarterback that threw at least 100 passes last season. I set up an excel file and included four facts about each quarterback: their height in inches, their completion percentage, their TD/INT ratio, and their cummulative rushing yards. I then made three seperate graphs with height as the independent variable and the other three variables as the dependent variables. I also ran a regression analysis and determined the r squared value for height and each dependent variable. Unfortunately, I don't yet know how to transpose the graphs onto this blog so you'll have to take my word for it. Here are the r squared values for each set of variables.

Height and Completion %: .0028
Height and TD/INT Ratio: .0003
Height and Rushing Yards: .0596

No r squared value is very high. Completion percentage and TD/INT ratio both have minute positive relationships with height. Rushing yardage actually has a negative relationship with height. Although it is still very weak, it is exponentially more correlated with height than completion percentage or TD/INT ratio. All in all, this exercise was a lot like getting a degree from an online university: A lot of work and little to show for it. The reason their is no real discernable difference in height is beacuse of the lack of variation in height among college quarterbacks. Of the 140 quarterbacks who threw 100 passes last season, only 5 were under 6 feet and only 18 were over 6 foot 4. Maybe the ACLU can file on suit on the lack of diversity.

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