February 28 - It's A Wonderlic World
We sit at the foot of a great opportunity.
With the NFL draft only months away, the opportunity exists to see just how
important brains are in the NFL. A guy who seemed like a pretty solid #1 pick -
Texas quarterback Vince Young - racked up a score of 6 on the Wonderlic, which
is the NFL scouting combine's intelligence test.
A fifty is perfect. A zero is inanimate. 19-21 is the average score. A six speaks of
near/total illiteracy. A cabbage would get a six. A 2nd grader stands a good
chance of breaking a six. A chicken could peck at the test paper and beat a six. If
you took the test and TRIED to get questions wrong, you'd stand a good chance of
fouling up enough to get a six.
Vince probably isn't score-a-six dumb. I've administered a few tests in my day. I've seen these tests
fouled up in every possible way. I'm thinking that Vince got a six for one of these reasons:
- Vince looked at the test briefly, after which he just filled in a bunch of ovals and used the extra time to
go to McDonald's. I used to see that all the time when I was counseling- if you don't give a damn, a
test is just a chance to be given a breather.
- Vince started at the END of the test, unwittingly beginning with the more difficult questions. I'd add
that he probably spent a lot of time on the harder questions, and the time ran out before he could get
to the beginning for the "What is frozen water called?" gimme questions.
- Vince was thinking of something else when the tester told hm that he only had 12 minutes to
complete the test.
- Vince saw a pretty tester, and then spent the test time silently flirting with her.
- Vince needs glasses, and doesn't know it yet.
- Vince has an undiagnosed learning disability.
- Vince fell asleep while the test was being given.
- Vince kept clean, took his drug test, then ran out to the parking lot and got high right before the
- Vince has Test Anxiety, and freezes like Alaska when handed a standardized test.
- Vince sees a "What is the first letter in 'Cat' question, thinks that the test is trying to trick him, and it
can't be C. He then answers "A."
- Sabotage. I had kids who didn't want to go back to their mainstream school, and fouled the test up
on purpose to keep them at their comfy SPED school with the French chef history teacher. Maybe
Vince doesn't want to play for the Jets or the Raiders, so he's trying to lower his draft position by
coming across as being really, really dumb.
- Vince is really, really dumb.
To be honest, Vince's reasons are his own. It doesn't really matter how dumb you are when you make
every hike of the football into a serious scoring chance. Vince won't drop that badly in the draft, and he
will bank several million dollars over the course of his career.
Much like being blonde, being an athlete is a more instinctive thing in which brains matter less than
strength/speed. All the brains in the world won't help you when the offensive line breaks down, while
fast feet are like a Godsend. David Carr probably scored well, but he got sacked more than groceries
So, Vince can be as dumb as a mud fence... it doesn't matter. In fact, many coaches like the tabula
blanc that a stupid kid gives them- football plays are complicated, and you don't want Vince thinking
about the Holocaust or the Renaissance while he's dropping back in the pocket.
Multiple Intelligence advocates know that Vince is smart in his own way. He just has an athletic,
rhythymic intelligence that isn't accounted for when people are crafting these Wonderlics. He'll be
Check out a sample Wonderlic test.