The NFL Combine is coming up soon. That lovely word that fans will start hearing is ‘The Wonderlic.’ What a name for a test that is supposed to measure intelligence.
Regardless, players attending the NFL Combine in a couple of weeks will be asked to take this test. The Wonderlic Test is designed to measure a player’s intelligence. While there is some validity to the results, there are more questions than answers.
The test is 50 questions with a 12 minute time limit. The score is simply the number of questions that are answered correctly. These scores are to be part of the process to find out if a player can fit in your system. However, the evidence of reliability is far from perfect. Here’s an example.
This is a humongous list of NFL players and scores from the test. In this list, there are everything from Hall of Famers to players that have not fared well at all in the NFL. In case Jeopardy calls, the only person that’s known to ace it, is punter Pat McInally. Former tight end from the New Orleans Saints Ben Watson also fared well with a 48. Ryan Fitzpatrick is another player that scored a 48. Yeah, he went to Harvard. So perhaps there’s some validity to the intelligence thing right?
Additionally, Drew Brees scored a 28 on that same test. Does that mean that his tight end is twice a smart? Surely, Ben Watson would even disagree with that notion. What’s interesting is that the numbers are skewed as far as NFL success. Most people would agree that Drew Brees had a better career than Akili Smith who scored a 37 on the test.
Sebastian Janokowski scored a 9 on the test. Seems like Sebastian can figure out how to kick a ball fairly straight through a goalpost. Donovan Mcnabb had a great career in the NFL and went to Syracuse. Yet he only was able to post a 14 on the exam.
This is yet another interesting article. The story breaks down the average score for each position. Offensive lineman rate the highest and running backs have the lowest on average. There’s enough statistics to make anyone’s head spin.
So does any of this matter? Of all the numbers, skill tests, statistics, and traits, the Wonderlic would seem low on the pecking order for scouts. The only real confusing dichotomy that remains is why. What’s the point of the test if the results are not an accurate reflection of future success? Society loves to be able to have some way of measuring ability. Unfortunately, a low or high score can be something that is attached to that player’s profile.
Standardized tests are given in almost every field of work nowadays. The NFL is not exempt. As a consequence, players will simply have to deal with it, like it or not. The fact of the matter is though that the Wonderlic is not very wonderful.