In a big-man’s game, some of the shortest quarterbacks have had pretty good careers in the NFL. Russell Wilson stands 5-foot-11 and has a Super Bowl title under his belt with the Seattle Seahawks. Drew Brees is listed as a generous 6-0 and is a sure-fire Hall of Famer. Most NFL QBs stand much taller than Brees and Wilson, but who is the shortest quarterback in the NFL?
The little guys can thank Doug Flutie
Doug Flutie held his own in the NFL, playing 12 years for four different teams. Flutie, however, has the stigma of being too short and never was given a fair opportunity. After beginning with the now-defunct USFL, the 5-foot-10 Flutie was drafted in the 11th round of the 1985 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams.
Flutie had a stellar career at Boston College and then played in the NFL. He got his NFL break when he crossed the picket lines during the 1987 season. Flutie, who had already been traded twice in his brief NFL career, left the NFL after the 1989 NFL season and went on to become one of the greatest players in the Canadian Football League.
In a time when short quarterbacks weren’t prevalent, Flutie showed it could work. In 2007, Flutie became the first non-Canadian to be named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. He played eight seasons in the CFL and led the league in passing five times. He threw for 6,619 yards in his second season in the league. After his stellar CFL career, Flutie returned to the NFL for eight more seasons.
Shorter quarterbacks are becoming more successful in the NFL
The size of a quarterback still matters. To some, it doesn’t matter as much. Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor said he used to be concerned too much about a quarterback’s physical presence as opposed to what he could actually do on the field.
“I’ve been guilty of this as well,” Taylor said to The Washington Post. “You just put this label on a guy’s size, when what’s important is: ‘Do they elevate the players around him? Do they believe in him? Are they accurate? Do they get the ball out on time? Do they understand what the defense is presenting?’ You’ve seen guys of all sizes excel in this NFL lately. I think that’s becoming less of a qualifier. Now guys are just looking at, ‘Can this guy play?'”
Russell Wilson is a prime example of the success a smaller quarterback can have in the NFL. Wilson, listed at 5-11, and has had the hold of the Seattle Seahawks starting job since he was a rookie in 2012. His durability has been tested and he hasn’t missed one game in his professional career. He guided the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, winning one of them.
Who is the shortest NFL quarterback?
At 5-foot-11, Russell Wilson isn’t the shortest quarterback in the NFL. That distinction goes to another NFC West quarterback in his second season in the league. Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals is listed at 5-foot-10 and has gotten himself off to a pretty good start in his NFL career.
Murray’s height was the talk of the 2019 draft. Would he measure at 5-9 or 5-10? For Kliff Kingsbury, head coach of the Cardinals, it didn’t matter as he selected Murray with the top selection in the 2019 NFL draft. Murray knows he’s small but knows he can play. “I’m always the smallest guy on the field,” Murray said to The Washington Post. “I’ve said it multiple times — I feel like I’m the most impactful guy on the field and the best player on the field at all times. I’ve always had to play at this height.”
Watching those smaller guys like Wilson and Murray succeed in the NFL is fulfilling to Doug Flutie. “I don’t know if I feel vindication,” Flutie said. “But I definitely cheer for them. I’m definitely pulling for those guys to do well. Maybe by them doing well, it validates what I was doing. For the most part, I just cheer for them. I just want to see them succeed.”