Researchers at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania analyzing the facial structure of a sampling of 320 NFL starters found the Buffalo Bills to be the best looking team in the NFL, and the Kansas City Chiefs the worst, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The study looked at five offensive and five defensive players from each team and also threw in two of the most photographed personalities on any team: the owner and the head coach.
To measure each subject’s attractiveness, the researchers analyzed their photograph with a computer program that measures facial symmetry, or how closely the two halves of a person’s face match up. Research suggests this is a reliable measure of how attractive a person is perceived to be. It also suggests that looks are a fair predictor of a person’s career success. A 1994 study found that more attractive "symmetrical" people are paid about five percent more than the average person, while more homely "asymmetrical" people earn up to 10 percent less.
Jennifer VanGilder, a professor of business economics at Ursinus who oversaw the research, said the lure of hiring pretty faces is unconscious. "People are drawn to more symmetrical objects."
The most attractive sample of NFL players, with an average facial symmetry rating of 99.47, was one of the worst teams in the league: the Bills. Their record last season was a woeful 4-12. The least attractive team, the Chiefs, won its division last season and made it to the playoffs.
The research also found that the vast majority of NFL players rank 10 percent higher in facial symmetry than the average Joe. They also seem to be better looking than other athletes. VanGilder also measured the NBA’s All-Star team and found it was less attractive than its sample of NFL players.
Another surprising finding: NFL quarterbacks are not the most attractive players. According to this sample, the most attractive position in the NFL is the kicker. The symmetry score for kickers beat the score for quarterbacks by .16 percent.
The least attractive position of the ones studied was wide receiver. But with a score of 97.04, these men were still vastly more attractive than average people, who score in the high 80s, VanGilder said.