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Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Wonderlic Test

Dave Sez has a great post on NFL teams and the lengths to which they go to evaluate players. Sure, they run them through all sorts of drills (click here for Breakaway Beach's excellent report on the physical tests that went on at the Indianapolis combine), but they also give them an intelligence test. Dave provide a link to a sample test which lets you take 15 of the questions. Take the test, and see how you did. Apparently, the University of Miami's Frank Gore didn't do very well.

Then again, do you want your feature back to think twice about hitting the right hole to dance away from obese and mean defensive linemen and puffed up linebackers?

I think not. Perhaps his intelligence lies within the fact that he doesn't think too much. He just does.

In prehistoric sports times, they didn't have the Wonderlic test. I recall a passage from one turn-of-the-century baseball player in Lawrence S. Ritter's fantastic book, The Glory of Their Times, in which the player recalled the curious baserunning exploits of a bad pitcher named Jimmy St. Vrain. This guy apparently attempted to run the bases backwards. Unlike The Clown Prince of Baseball, Herman "Germany" Schaefer, this guy actually meant to do it. As the player recalled, "But what else could you have expected from a guy whose hat size was 6 1/8?"

Good point.

Does the Wonderlic work? Do the psychological profiles work? Apparently there's some sports psychologist out there who's made a bundle based on the fact that he counseled the Colts to draft Peyton Manning instead of Ryan Leaf.

That's great advice. But where the heck was he when the Colts' front office decided to mortgage their salary cap to two players -- Manning and Marvin Harrison? Methinks that this generation's version of the Colts will prove the adage that offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.

Wonderlic or no Wonderlic.


Blogger LargeBill said...

I agree that the Wonderlic Test can not answer questions about a players drive or instincts. However, it is one more tool to use in evaluating a potential in combination with scouting, interviews, time trials etc. Look at how the Patriots have done compared to my hometown Browns. The Patriots have considered character more in their personnel decisions than the Browns with much better results.

8:38 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...


Thanks for the post. It would be interesting to see a correlation between NFL performance and how draft picks did on the Wonderlic test. My view is that character and what the players accomplished on the field in college have to be the two best predictors. Lawrence Phillips had the performance while at Nebraska, but he had character issues. Zach Thomas of the Dolphins is small, but had the performance in college (as Jimmy Johnson put it, when they were watching films, he was always there) and obviously the character. It isn't always about the metrics the pros choose to measure, that's for sure.

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL, just tooling around the internet and love to see idiots making comments about stuff that that are now seen for what they are. I guess that the Colts front office should be upset with their progress, they should be fired all that money and only one Superbowl ring.

8:00 PM  

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