Andy Dalton occupies the space between horrendous and perfect. His mediocrity is less a result of consistent average results, but rather the product of massive parabolic swings in either direction. His blunders often come in the face of national attention while the country points and laughs until he assumes competency in the shelter of afternoon football. His popularity rests above tectonic plates, ready to disintegrate with the slightest shift. Maybe it’s his name. Andrew is the name of kings, presidents, biblical figures, and titans of industry. Andy is the little boy from Toy Story. Andrew commands respect. Andy is genial, non-threatening. Andrew recalls harrowing images of hurricanes past; Andy recalls harrowing images of Mayberry. Over the last 100 years, 1,228,724 boys have been given the name Andrew at birth. The name peaked in popularity in 1987, the same year that Andrew Gregory Dalton was born. Maybe his parents wanted to differentiate him from the slew of other infants named Andy. Maybe it just sounded better with a Texas drawl. We decided to periodically gauge Andy Dalton’s popularity by comparing him to others that share his same name. Some share the birth name, others the surname. All varieties of spelling are welcome and all qualifications are subjective. Over the coming weeks, Andy Dalton’s popularity will be ranked in a variety of categories, including but not limited to: actors, musicians, fictional characters, non-sentient beings, etc. And, most importantly, this only measures where Andy Dalton ranks in popularity among other Andys and Andrews of the world on this day. This was measured by comparing Andy A to Andy B and asking this: if you were walking in the middle of a busy sidewalk and these two Andys approached simultaneously, which one would you say hello to first?
9. Andy Reid Poor Andy Reid. He seems like a nice enough fellow. Sort of reminds me of my high school English teacher. But in the court of public internet opinion, Andy Reid is a pariah. You can’t be seen saying hello to Andy Reid lest ye be scorned by bitter Eagles fans and clock management lovers.
8. Andy Pettitte Nobody likes a cheater. And nobody really likes the Yankees. But everyone does like contrition, and Andy Pettite is a shining example of admitting your wrong and seeking forgiveness will ultimately make you more popular than Andy Reid.
7. Andy Roddick Here’s where we insert a joke about Andy Roddick’s popularity being directly attributed to his wife, model Brooklyn Decker.
6. Dr. James Andrews The Alabama-based Tommy John doc sounds like sweet tea. His southern inflection, mixed with the kindly aura that comes with your septuagenarian welcome package, makes him an easy person to approach. And man, if scalpels could talk…
5. Andy Murray Now it’s assumed that this street is in the United States. Actually, let’s specify it even further. This street is downtown, on a closed off section of Vine Street. And on that stretch, only ardent Western & Southern fans are stopping the pride of Scotland for a quick hello.
4. Andy Dalton After leading the Bengals to four straight wins to begin the year for the first time since 2005, Dalton’s popularity is on a steady incline. There are weeks when he would’ve jockeyed with Reid on the list, and that could very well happen again if Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman give Dalton nightmares Sunday. But everyone is cautiously optimistic about Andy right now. Should he best the Seahawks, his popularity may soon rise.
3. Andrew McCutchen What’s that? Something about my Twitter profile? Sorry, can’t hear you.
2. Andrew Luck I know Andrew Luck is a better quarterback than Andy Dalton. He’s won big playoff games, he’s carried teams for seasons at a time. I would absolutely rather have Andrew Luck quarterbacking my team than Andy Dalton and I think Bengals fans would agree. But let’s take a look at each player’s numbers for their third NFL season.
It’s just that come playoffs, Andy Dalton crumbles like a dry oatmeal cookie. Luck is better, to be sure, but it’s not like Dalton hasn’t in the same ballpark.
1. Andrew Whitworth There was a catcher that played for the Pirates for a hot second named Rod Barajas. He was not very good at baseball, but I always thought he looked like he’d be a great guest at a barbecue. You know those sites where you could pay $1,000 to have someone like Amani Toomer play catch with you? I always thought Barajas should have offered barbecue attending services. And that’s the same feeling I get about Andrew Whitworth. He’s a mountain of a man that makes Andy Dalton look good. You pay him your respects. Stay tuned for the next round of An Andy Amongst Andrews, the fictional character edition!
Adam Flango is an associate editor for Cincinnati Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @adam_flango.