The Myth of Quarterback Hand Size

ESPN Daily


So let's talk some measurements. That's what went down today. The consensus number one overall pick Joe. Pearls hand sized came in at nine inches. Listen to this. The last quarterback that man that small drafted first overall was jared. Goff BACK IN TWO THOUSAND SIXTEEN GUYS. So that's some comparison it's annual. Nfl tradition every year were introduced to the incoming class of rookie quarterbacks. And we're told that a single measurement matters hand size but what if the metric is totally meaningless as the NFL combine unfolds in Indianapolis we investigate the connection between big hands and big production and ask whether Scouts are chasing a myth. I mean it's Tuesday February twenty fifth this is espn daily presented by ADT. Dave I was very self-conscious reading this piece because I don't know if you know this about me but I have tiny tiny hands. I have gigantic cans. Do you See come on tiny baby hands. Dave Flemming is a senior writer for. Espn his report on the NFL's obsession with quarterback hand size publishes ESPN DOT com today. So Dave yesterday was a big day for the quarterback prospects at this year's combine the annual release of the hand size measurements and the annual freak out about said measurements. Well I mean. It's like a national scouting holiday when the the QB hand size measurements. Come out because there is the belief that the distance between a potential NFL quarterbacks tip of his pinky and the tip of his thumb directly correlates to their success in the NFL. That's why we care just to give people sort of a framework here. What what is the big hand? And what is this small hand in football world red flags and NFL SCOUTING? Go up if your hand is smaller than nine and a half inches. But the guys who are said to have hands the size of Catcher's Mitts are. That's generally anything above ten inches. The normal size of adult humans hand is like eight and a half inches eight eight eight point seven five inches right now. Everyone is listening to this. Podcast is looking at their hands if they're under STEERING WHEEL WONDERING DO. I have two small hands. I've never thought about it until this very moment. Well Yeah and I think that is also part of it right that it's a myth or a theory or a legend that are virility is directly connected to the size of our hands that basically goes back to the beginning of time so in that sense. It seems logical that that we care about. How big a quarterback's hands are. What is the origin of the belief in the NFL world? That big hands equals good quarterback as far as I could tell were really took off with with Brett farve scouts and just people in general trying to quantify any way they could why this guy who was sort of a washout in Atlanta would go to the freezing cold and ice elements inside Lambeau field and become a three time. Mvp I mean. I think that's just human nature and scouting in general right that it's like whoa something weird like this happens. We want to be able to quantify it honestly. I think the there were some packers personnel. Who sort of wanted to claim credit for basically knowing in advance that he would be great because of his hand size and then what happens is human nature takes over right and people are like well. That's that's gotta be true. Look at Brett Farr for Lou peyton manning or look at Russell Wilson drew brees. I mean their hands are huge. So therefore air go right. All good quarterbacks have to have big hands breezing. Wilson are interesting examples. Because those were quarterbacks who were not universally seen as being sure things? Yeah in cases like that especially with Russell Wilson. You've got a really influential scouting and personnel department in Seattle right. That is sort of the envy of the rest of the League. And what happens is they. They can't decide. They're worried about picking him so high mainly because of his height and then one of the things that pushes him over the edge in their minds is the fact that he's got huge hands. I think the bigger the hands the easier it is to grip the football and let it rip so for me this this pointer finger right near the tip of the football and let spent basically he should be like seven foot seven if you go proportionately of for how big his hands are so the seahawks based on this data get pushed over the edge. They're like okay. We're GonNa Take Russell Wilson and then retrospectively. It's like Oh look at that. How genius that was that. We went by his hand size. And then that sort of proliferates the myth through all these other kind of envious scouting department's and the same thing for debris. I mean he's a short guy but he's got huge hands data on S. U. Y. When did you as a reporter? Who's been covering football for a long time? I start to doubt the correlation between hand size and being good quarterback I was at years ago at Jamarcus Russell's pro day at at Lsu and it was not good and as he finished up his workout. I walked out with a GM and a coach that I respected and I was like what did you guys think. That was very good and they both were like. Yeah but did you see his hands? They were huge. I think the coach even said it's like he's got an extra knuckle and I was like what that doesn't make any sense right. He could barely connect with his wide receivers on these on routes where there was no defense and they walked out of there going. Yeah but his hands are so huge. He's a can't miss prospect and ever since then really it was kind of like we need to look into this because it doesn't make any sense there have been exhaustive studies including one we did at ESPN. That went back over the last ten graphs and compared quarterback hand size to fumble rate per game and then Qbr overall there is zero correlation between the size of a quarterback's hand and their performance in the NFL. Zero correlation if anything it was in reverse the GUYS WITH QUOTE UNQUOTE SMALLER. Hands fumbled at the same rate and had a higher qbr than quarterbacks with bigger hands. It's like I don't understand. It takes two seconds to look this up to see if there's any correlation and what happens is you look at the data and you go. Well what's going on it's laughable coaches say? Oh hand size is more important than how Tala quarterback is I've read quote unquote draft experts. Who are saying you know in some situations. The size of a quarterback's hand is more important than his arm strength. What and Yes yes. It's never ending. You make a really important point story beyond questioning you know. The connection hand size measurements themselves are not very reliable. This the more you look into this it just gets sillier and Sillier and the fact that between the senior bowl and the combine and then pro day workouts on college campuses. There's no universally accepted way to measure a hand so you could go to the combine and where there's a ruler tape to a desktop and you have to put your hand down and they measure the distance between your thumb and your pinky and that's your hand size and three weeks later at your pro day. They might ask you to just hold your hand up in the air and they would spread a tape measure between your pinky and your psalm. And and that's your hand size one. You can lean into and spread your hands out on a desk. The only thing wrong with the theory of quarterback hand size is that it's fundamentally flawed on every single level if grip strength is more important. Sounds like you think it is. Why don't teams measure that? I honestly that's the million dollar question right. I think that they think that. There's a correlation between size and strength of a grip that's like measuring a kickers foot size to try and predict how long his field goals will be. I think that they think they're measuring for hand strength. And they're not they're measuring hand size and those are two completely different things. There's an entire cottage industry in the draft process of preparing these quarterbacks for you know the combine drills the interviews. Is there any preparation they can do? I can't believe I'm asking a question to make. Their hands seem larger. Yes absolutely there are players because they have no choice. That will hire your hand. Masseuses to loosen up the connective tissue in their hand just so that they can get that measurement over nine inches and sort of. Check that box off Brandon Allen. Who's now a backup in? Denver is a perfect example of that right. He went into the senior bowl. Didn't even realize hand measurement was a thing and just sorta held his hand up and they were like oh eight and a half inches. And everyone's like Oh my God his career's over and so between the senior bowl and the combine the masseuse that he was already working with spend a little extra time massaging his hand and then when he got to the combine he really concentrated on the measurement spread his hand out as far as he could and I think he got just under nine inches and again like the talk of the combine. Was this guy's magical hand masseuse. And he told me right that other quarterbacks with tiny hands we're blowing up his phone asking him what his secret was and and could they get the number of his masseuse coming up. How our brains allow this and other faulty? Nfl Scouting Practices to persist

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