Using official media photos, researchers concealed the players' team names and asked participants to rate each player's attractiveness on a scale from 1 to 10.
Out of the three groups shown in the experiment -- quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive backs -- quarterbacks, on average, got the lowest scores on attractiveness, while defensive backs got the highest.
Researchers even did the study two more times -- one time using NFL players again (but switching linebackers for defensive backs) and another time with college players. Same findings.
A few of the QBs deserve honorable mentions. Among their lowest-performing group, these three came in first: Alex Smith, Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill.
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10. Eli Manning – Super Bowl XLII, Super Bowl XLVI
The narrative sure has changed for former first-overall selection out of Ole Miss, Eli Manning who was considered a near bust for the New York Giants. Covered in the giant shadow of his brother Peyton Manning, Eli entered the 2007 season with 54 touchdown passes and 45 interceptions in three seasons while completing just about 55 percent of his passes.
He had moments where he looked sharp, but threw interceptions at an alarming rate and that only got worse in 2007. Manning completed 56.1 percent of his passes for 3,336 yards with 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
Then Eli got hot in the playoffs and found himself winning his first of two Super Bowls, both against the heavily-favored New England Patriots. What people seem to forget in their praise of Eli is he never would have won that first if not for a miraculous catch by receiver David Tyree. Manning threw a desperation pass up for grabs and being a third-and-5 play, it could have ended the comeback drive that led to the win.
The Giants defense stifled the Pats in that game and even had a great stand in the second quarter after an Eli pick that helped keep New England from putting their foot on the Giants throats. If not for that defense, a miraculous play by Tyree and dropped passes by New England in their rematch at Super Bowl XLVI Manning would be seen in a different light.
Without any rings, Eli would be harshly criticized for throwing an average of 16.5 interceptions per season, including an embarrassing three seasons of more than 20. In 2007 he threw 23, 201o he tossed 25 and in 2013 he had a ridiculous 27 interceptions.
Football is the ultimate team sport, but a team victory gives a quarterback immunity for the rest of his life apparently.
(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
6. Jim McMahon – Super Bowl XX
Jim McMahon was the fifth-overall selection by the Chicago Bears in the 1982 NFL Draft and he was as interesting as they come at the position. As a player, he was never necessarily a bad quarterback, but he also was never really that good.
McMahon had the luxury of being on the right team at the right time as he worked with legendary coach Mike Ditka and running back Walter Payton. Defensively the Bears were one of the best groups ever during much of McMahon’s time in Chicago as they featured future Hall of Famers like linebacker Mike Singletary and defensive end Richard Dent.
The quarterback did enjoy his best season in 1985, preceding their Super Bowl XX win. He threw for 2,392 yards with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
In his 15-year career, McMahon barely managed to get to triple digits in touchdown, hitting exactly 100 while posting 90 interceptions. He finished his career once again going to the right place at the right time as McMahon was a member of the 1996 Green Bay Packers team that saw starting quarterback Brett Favre win his lone Super Bowl.
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
5. Jeff Hostetler – Super Bowl XXV
New York Giants quarterback Jeff Hostetler wouldn’t even be on this list if not for a an injury to the Giants staring quarterback and a missed kick heard around the world.
Things looked bleak for the 1990 Giants, who went 14-2 during the regular season but in a loss to the Buffalo Bills (the same team they beat later in the Super Bowl) starting quarterback Phil Simms went down with a broken bone in his foot.
Hostetler, who had only played in two games in his whole career before then had to finish the year out and was able to keep the power football team on track just long enough to win it all, but that still wasn’t a given. The Bills kicker, Scott Norwood missed a field goal attempt that would have defeated the Giants. Instead, with a backup orchestrating the offense, the Giants squeaked by with a narrow win.
After a couple more seasons backing up Simms, Hostetler went on to start for the Raiders and finished his career with the Redskins.
He never became a franchise style quarterback but posted decent career stats. He competed 58 percent of his passes and had 94 touchdowns to 71 interceptions. Hostetler wasn’t a terrible quarterback, but he definitely wasn’t one of the best to ever win a Super Bowl, especially given his lack of playing experience when he did manage to get that ring.
(Photo by Rich Pilling/Sporting News via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 22: Jim Plunkett #16 of the Los Angeles Raiders turns to hand the ball off to a running back Marcus Allen #32 against the Washington Redskins during Super Bowl XVIII on January 22, 1984 at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Raiders won the Super Bowl 38 - 9. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
3. Brad Johnson – Super Bowl XXXVII
What an interesting Super Bowl it was in San Diego on the 26th of January, 2003. The Oakland Raiders were playing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coached by Jon Gruden who was coaching Oakland the season before. The Raiders were coached by Gruden’s former assistant, Bill Callahan and were favored to take the title. Then the Bucs defense showed everyone what happens when you underestimate a tough defensive unit as they thumped the Raiders by a score of 48-21.
Lost in all that was the sensational season Gruden got out of the journeyman quarterback Brad Johnson who had completed 62.3 percent of his passes and threw 22 touchdowns to just six interceptions. This season was sandwiched by a season with 13 touchdowns and 11 picks and one with 26 touchdowns and 21 picks. Johnson was good in spurts, and his best moments as a passer were in relief of an injured starter.
Still, Gruden managed to get one really good season out of him and the defense led by defensive tackle Warren Sapp did the rest.