These days, faces that are symmetrical are recognized as the prettiest (some even claim they're the healthiest). Still, it's hard for me to picture two young women in a bar saying "Wow, check out the symmetry on that guy!" But I digress.
Now there's new evidence about NFL quarterbacks. Turns out, not only do they get to be sports gods and make McDonald's commercials -- the ones who are especially symmetrical (formerly known as "good-looking") also make more money. These findings appear in the latest edition of the NY Times' excellent sports magazine, Play.* David J. Berri writes "Players are evaluated solely on their ability to contribute to wins, right? Not entirely. The economists Rob Simmons, Jennifer VanGilder and I collected data on 121 N.F.L. quarterbacks who played from 1995 to 2006. We looked at the factors that determine player pay — career statistics, experience, Pro Bowl appearances and draft position — as well as the symmetry of each quarterback’s face. Sure enough, symmetry had a positive impact on a quarterback’s salary. Specifically, an increase of one standard deviation in facial symmetry led to a nearly 8 percent increase in pay."
*The N.F.L. 2008: Big Brain Edition appears in print in this Sunday's New York Times. I highly recommend Play.