NFL continues to fail to secure Wonderlic scores

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The NFL is good at plenty of things. The NFL is not good at plenty of other things. The NFL is very bad at keeping Wonderlic scores secret.

Every year, someone from one of the NFL teams (or from the league office) leaks Wonderlic scores, to someone. With nearly a month to go until the 2018 draft, the leaks have commenced regarding his year’s incoming class of players.

I’ve had a complicated relationship with the Wonderlic test. At one point in the ever-evolving life cycle of PFT, I aspired to get the Wonderlic scores, to report them, and to shine the brightest light on the players who, based on the scores, weren’t the brightest bulbs.

But then at some point I realized some things about the Wonderlic. First, plenty of players don’t know about the test. Second, plenty don’t care. Third, the scores don’t mean squat when it comes to assessing football scores. Fourth, the NFL should apply the highest level of secrecy and confidentiality to these numbers, out of respect to the players who are voluntarily submitting to these tests as part of an extended job interview that culminates not in the players picking their first NFL destinations but in their first NFL destinations picking them.

Contrast the league’s chronic inability to secure the Wonderlic scores with the league’s impressive ability to safeguard every PSI test taken in the three football seasons since the dawning of #Deflategate. Has even a single measurement taken ever made its way out of the league’s clutches?

We’ll continue to not post Wonderlic scores. And we’ll continue to advise players to refuse to submit to the test, until the NFL can treat this data the same way the NFL treats PSI measurements that, if leaked, would demonstrate for all that the prosecution of the Patriots was far stupider than any stupidity that ever could be inferred based on the outcome of a Wonderlic exam.

84 responses to “NFL continues to fail to secure Wonderlic scores

  1. This is just another responsibility of Troy Vincent that he completely screws up.
    Its amazing that he still has a job. How does someone who has failed so repeatedly continue to have a job?

  2. I think a big problem is that a lot of the athletes have pretty much been able to coast and have always had academic things “done” for them through high school and college and have never really had to take a test so it is all new to them.

  3. The wondelic is probably as good of measurement as the 6 cone shuffle of the 80 meter dash (or whatever). Publish it. The fantasy guys need to know how smart these guys are to determine draftability.

  4. Flaw in your article is that you mention league by generalizing with the secrecy regarding Patriots cheating and then compare to these scores where every coach gets to see them. The amount of peoples eyes on the Wunderlic goes goes up dramatically.

  5. ” I aspired to get the Wonderlic scores, to report them, and to shine the brightest light on the players who, based on the scores, weren’t the brightest bulbs.”

    It takes a big man to admit to having a petty mind. I bet your momma’s proud of you.

  6. Why must these scores be kept from our view?
    Should they hide their 40’s or their other metrics?
    Intelligence factors into play just as the 40 times.

  7. Why shouldn’t Wonderlic scores be made public?
    You claim 40 times don’t correlate to football speed, yet you have no issue continually posting the times of guys who ran slow at the Combine — not just in Combine stories, but in every draft story that follows.
    We hear how high every player jumped (or didn’t), as if jumping guarantees NFL success. We hear over and over how fast (or slow) guys were in shuttle and cone drills, or how strong (or weak) they in the bench press, as if either of those are sure predictors of NFL ability.
    Why is the Wonderlic any different? I suspect it’s because so many players do so poorly in it. It’s OK to embarrass a guy if he’s not physically up to par, but God forbid anybody find out he didn’t score well on a mental acuity test. After all, the ability to think or make quick mental decisions never plays a role in a football game.

  8. Playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right. If an employer is willing to give a pick that much money, then you take the damn test.

  9. Nothing good comes of it. You’re either Ryan Fitzpatrick with a high score but you can’t play football. Or you’re Vince Young and you score low and you still can’t play football.

  10. Some of the questions on the Wonderlic test are so easy, a relatively bright chimpanzee should score at least 20.

    When potential quarterbacks are scoring in the low teens, it’s a definite red flag to consider. Just ask Vince Young.

  11. What’s the problem? Having a low Wonderlic score should be mocked as much as the player that can only bench 225lb twice. Doesn’t mean he can’t be a great player. The whole combine is one big test. Deal with it.

  12. Im surprised you harp on how meaningless this test is. Given two qb’s with equal talent but one with low IQ vs. High IQ which one are you taking? Its like comparing Rodgers/Vick. Rodgers can master an offense and recognize every D in a year while Vick couldnt do it in a career.

    I have to believe its a good indicator on who the problematic players will be as well.

  13. None of us care about some 30 yr old under performing guy in the Mets minor league system, but you post at least 1 story a week about him.

    Doesn’t seem like it’s too much of a stretch to post whatever comes out about a combine test.

  14. The wussification continues. We sure don’t want to hurt these multi million dollar players feelings… God forbid pick the smart guy, that’s just not fair.

  15. You can bash the test all you want but i would have some concerns over a qb scoring a 13. Sorry

  16. “We’ll continue to not post Wonderlic scores. And we’ll continue to advise players to refuse to submit to the test, until the NFL can treat this data the same way the NFL treats PSI measurements that, if leaked, would demonstrate for all that the prosecution of the Patriots was far stupider than any stupidity that ever could be inferred based on the outcome of a Wonderlic exam.”
    ———————————
    Many Patriots haters will not like this paragraph. Deflategate was a sham? But, but … the Patriors …

  17. after looking at some of the scores over the years, im starting to think this test is racist.

  18. Don’t need a Wonderlic test to tell me if somebody’s intelligent all i have to do is listen to them talk.

  19. We all know why certain media members object to the Wonderlic score. SJW time! Because players like Vince Young tend to do poorly on it while players like Tom Brady do alright on it. The 40 times are vice versa. What does running really fast have to do with playing QB? You’re guess is as good as mine but because it makes players like Brady look bad and players like Vick look great, the media has no problems highlighting 40 times.

  20. meccalambeaufield3 says:
    March 29, 2018 at 3:11 pm
    Flaw in your article is that you mention league by generalizing with the secrecy regarding Patriots cheating and then compare to these scores where every coach gets to see them. The amount of peoples eyes on the Wunderlic goes goes up dramatically.

    ——————————–

    Jeezus Christ you cannot even spell ‘Wonderlic’ correctly and it was the topic of the story.

  21. We all know that all tests that don’t involve athletic supporters and $300 tennis shoes are inherently racially biased. I don’t see why we even bother.

  22. Regarding the pathetic excuses:

    1. NFL Combine is their most important job interview and not knowing/preparing for the Wonderlic test is itself deserving of ridicule.

    2. If they don’t care about something a team obviously cares about, that says a lot about them and how they’ll treat their next employer.

    3. The scores is an indication of how fast a player can process information on the field, absorb time & mental pressure and ability to learn/memorize a 700 page playbook.

    4. The whole Combine is one, big test of smarts and skills. Deal with it.

  23. Ryan Fitz-fizzle-patrick:

    “Wonder-licky” of FORTY-NINE + Ivy League Grad = MEDIOCRE quarterback lol

  24. wallabear says:
    Ryan Fitz-fizzle-patrick:
    “Wonder-licky” of FORTY-NINE + Ivy League Grad = MEDIOCRE quarterback lol
    ==

    That comment might have made sense if the Wonderlic were the only factor in evaluating a player. It’s not; it’s merely one of many, including game tape, combine results, interviews etc.
    That’s why Ryan Fitzpatrick was drafted in the seventh round and not the first, despite his high Wonderlic score. On the other hand, his mental acumen is probably one of the reasons he parlayed mediocre talent into a 14-year NFL career (and counting.

  25. “For instance, an average score for a chemist is set at 31 while that of a cashier is set at 21.” lulz

  26. Everybody likes to blab about Fitzpatrick’s score. Interesting that Ben Watson had the same score, yet no one mentions it. Wonder why?

  27. If you’ve ever seen this test, it’s amazing that anyone past 8th grade would score under 25. Half of the questions are absolute gimmes. Another 20% are very easy.

    For example, which number is largest? .1 .31 .33 .031 .13

    And that one is from the non-gimme group of questions.
    Don’t believe it? How about “The 9th month of the year is:” with multiple choice answers

  28. Has anyone who scored a 35 or higher on the Wonderlic ever been suspended from their team or the NFL? Or arrested?

    I would love to see the numbers on that.

  29. dxm091n says:
    March 29, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Josh Allen lighting it up. Scored higher than Brady and Rodgers.
    ———————

    And the same as Kaepernick.

  30. Jeezus Christ you cannot even spell ‘Wonderlic’ correctly and it was the topic of the story.
    ===================

    That tells you all you need to know about the spygate/deflategate truthers.

  31. Who cares about the Wonderlic tests, anyway? They don’t tell the teams anything about what kind of football player some kid is. If I were an agent, I’d tell my client to refuse to take the Wonderlic test on the basis that’s it’s moronic.

  32. sbdt says:
    March 29, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Everybody likes to blab about Fitzpatrick’s score. Interesting that Ben Watson had the same score, yet no one mentions it. Wonder why?
    ———————

    Is he a quarterback?

  33. sbdt says: “Everybody likes to blab about Fitzpatrick’s score. Interesting that Ben Watson had the same score, yet no one mentions it. Wonder why?”
    ———————–

    Interesting YOU don’t mention Greg McElroy as he had the same score too. Wonder why?

  34. gator2006 says:
    March 29, 2018 at 3:12 pm
    Lamar Jackson got a 13, so that does not look to good for him.

    Actually, that’d be, does not look TOO good for him. Guess you wouldn’t even get a 13, huh?

  35. “Everybody likes to blab about Fitzpatrick’s score. Interesting that Ben Watson had the same score, yet no one mentions it. Wonder why?”

    I agree with you – it’s for the same reason that nobody talks about Mike Mamula’s score; he’s not a QB. Media doesn’t mention it. Mike Mamula actually scored a point higher than Fitzpatrick or Watson.

  36. A major component of being a successful NFL QB is being able to read a Defense, change the play and go through your progressions all of which require intelligence !!
    Look at highly drafted QBs in the past who had low scores—it was a major handicap !!
    Some positions require intelligence and many don’t. QB and MLB (who calls the Defense) definitely do but positions like DT not so much.

  37. blackstrat says:
    March 29, 2018 at 3:16 pm
    Why must these scores be kept from our view?
    Should they hide their 40’s or their other metrics?
    Intelligence factors into play just as the 40 times.

    ———–

    Because players don’t want to be perceived as dumb by NFL fans over a short, meaningless logic test test that you could definitely score very well at on one try and fail miserably on an another.

  38. Donald Bowen Jr says:
    March 29, 2018 at 3:17 pm
    Playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right. If an employer is willing to give a pick that much money, then you take the damn test.

    ———

    Or you don’t take the test and they hire you anyway because you are a good football player.

  39. jimmypx says:
    March 29, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    A major component of being a successful NFL QB is being able to read a Defense, change the play and go through your progressions all of which require intelligence !!
    Look at highly drafted QBs in the past who had low scores—it was a major handicap !!
    ———————————

    Marino seemed to do okay for himself.

  40. mmack66 says:
    March 29, 2018 at 4:07 pm
    sbdt says:
    March 29, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Everybody likes to blab about Fitzpatrick’s score. Interesting that Ben Watson had the same score, yet no one mentions it. Wonder why?
    ———————
    I don’t think anyone should be surprised that Watson had a high score. In addition to being a physical specimen when he was younger, he was always very articulate and bright, evidenced by his published books. I would also expect a tight end to have a higher score because they need to be able to know and do more than many positions.

  41. It’s easier to secure the PSI numbers. Even with the deflating scandal, there are far fewer people who see them-the refs and their outfit and probably Troy Vincent are the only ones who regularly handle those.

    Wonderlic scores, on the other hand, have been a thing for years. There are far more inquiring minds, and the people who actually take the test themselves are not part of the NFL. More people are familiar with the Wonderlic test than they are with appropriate PSI levels. The only ones still asking about PSI honestly are a handful of reporters and Patriots fans. Much smaller group to deal with.

  42. I feel another Roger Goodell press release coming on, and then everything will be “ok” again. Let’s all turn over our cell phones to Roger. He will keep our secrets confidential.

  43. It’s easy to safeguard the PSI test results, since none were ever recorded, because none were ever done.

  44. rkt4mayor says:
    March 29, 2018 at 3:02 pm
    2018 NFL Draft QB prospect Wonderlic Scores:
    1. Josh Allen Wyoming – 37
    2. Josh Rosen UCLA – 29
    3. Sam Darnold USC – 28
    4. Baker Mayfield OU – 25
    5. Lamar Jackson Louisville – 13

    So much for the notion that Rosen is too smart for his own good. As usual the guy that talks the most isn’t usually the most intelligent. That honor going to Josh Allen and by a wide margin!

    All this shows is that Allen is good at memorizing books. Rosen on the other hand constantly gets criticized for questioning things. That alone is a sign of intelligence. I would prefer my kids to question things in life rather than following along with what the masters have told them. Rosen is definitely not a sheep!! Whether it’s football or life in general people need to question things instead of going along on the rat race.

  45. “Contrast the league’s chronic inability to secure the Wonderlic scores with the league’s impressive ability to safeguard every PSI test taken in the three football seasons since the dawning of #Deflategate. Has even a single measurement taken ever made its way out of the league’s clutches?”

    Didnt the league say that it was neccesary that the data be destroyed because They were conerned it would mislead people to the wrong conclusion or some reason like that? That would explain why it never leaked if they actually destroyed it.

    I know after that they said something about how it was only random spot checks that were supposed to have a deterrent value, that rhey had never said they were going to actually retain and study the effects of weather on ball pressure. (So Im not clear on how you say you had to destroy the data then later say it never existed in the first place.)

    In the Jan 10 playoff game between the Vikings and Seahawks that was played in extreme cold the psi measurements at halftime resulted in the swapping out and replacing every ball in the game. The NFL declined to tell us what those readings were and did not want to speak nor answer questions about why they meant the balls had to be swapped out. (Apparently they were swapped because everything was fine)

  46. I agree with the comments about equating the physical test results with the mental test results– with one major caveat. A 40-time is a 40-time. If you run it fast enough, you’re objectively fast. But does this test actually and accurately measure intelligence or the ability to learn? Those sorts of tests tend to be more subjective, which is the problem. That said, I don’t have a problem with the results being public…I just question whether the results are indicative of any true insight.

  47. Wonderlic scores don’t matter at all, in football any more than they do in the business world. I took mine as part of an interview and they said I could play QB for any team in the league. Guess what? I can’t.

    Historical scores have some people higher than others. There’s a lot of HoF QBs in the lower ranks, and a lot of not so good QBs in the higher ones. There is absolutely no statistical correlation between QB play, business performance, or anything else with respect to the Wonderlic test. It’s why I canceled it at as a hiring tool. Waste of time and money.

    So yeah, the NFL should stop being stupid about it. Stop doing it, or at the very least protect what should be a very private matter between potential employer and prospective employee.

  48. Dan Marino, Donovan McNabb, Jim Kelly, and Neil O’Donnell probably weren’t too concerned about their own Wonderlic scores in the mid-teens when they were starting Super Bowls.

    Otoh, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Greg McElroy, Drew Henson, Blaine Gabbart, and Jason Maas have the 5 highest known scores for QBs. They have a combined 0 playoff victories.

  49. Playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right.

    Will someone tell me why playing a sport you excel at is a privilege?

    Is being a high paying musician or actor, actress a privilege? Is Going to one of the most expensive colleges in the world a privilege? Is being the President of the USA a privilege?

    All of us start off the same, some get better opportunities in life than others. How is excelling at football a privilege? Is it just because you can potentially earn millions because there are a lot of people out there who are not footballers and many of them are multi millionaires are they privileged too!!!

  50. If I’m going to pay a guy millions, I’d want to understand his physical skills, football knowledge and overall mental sharpness. That doesn’t mean I would let a Wonderlic score sway me, but I deserve the opportunity to know it. QB’s in the NFL face complex D’s and I want to know how quickly my QB’s mind works.

    As for the test being racist as suggested sbovr, that’s insane. It’s a basc intelligence test and guys like Benjamin Watson got a 48 and Calvin Johnson a 41.

  51. Wonderlic scores should NOT be made public because, accurate or not, the results have implications reaching far beyond the scope of football.

    Consider this: most NFL players have short careers, lasting only a few years on average. After they’re done playing, former NFL players typically need to find “regular guy” employment. By releasing Wonderlic scores, there is risk of a future “regular” employer using that score against a former NFL player in the hiring process.

    Sure, intelligence and physical characteristics (strength, speed, etc.) all factor into whether a person becomes a successful NFL player. But a “regular” employer looking to hire a salesperson, for example, is much less likely to use a former NFL player’s poor 40 yard dash time against than it is his Wonderlic score. That’s why physical test results should be public, but intellectual ones should not.

    In sum, the NFL should keep Wonderlic scores as private as possible to avoid the possibility of making post-football employment more difficult to obtain.

  52. The comparison of Ball PSI records to the wonderlick test scores is a bad comparison – I don’t believe the league shares the ball PSI data with anyone on the teams. The wonderlick data on the other hand is by design shared with all the teams, just like the results only the 40 yard dash times are. If the league did not share the wonderlick data, it would be pointless to have gathered it in the first place, other than for the commissioner to know who the bright bulbs are all by himself.

  53. Its funny that the people who generally do the best with the physical aspects of the various combine tests usually do the worst on the mental test.

  54. Frankly I’m surprised you used to try to get the leaked scores and publish them. Doesn’t seem like your style. You come off as a snowflake, “everyone gets a trophy”, common core type. Now your opinion on it has evolved and you get to pontificate about it to the NFL.
    I like finding out what the scores are every year so stop trying to ruin my entertainment.

  55. The NFL is chock full of window lickers.
    We know that. We don’t need the tests to confirm it.
    Mongo run fast hit hard. Mongo want more money.
    We get it.

  56. “….in the three football seasons since the dawning of #Deflategate. …”

    New England Patriots are 2-1 in Superbowls since the above mentioned time frame…

    How’s your team doing?

  57. To show that the wonderlic has nothing to do with football or even reading a defense. Colin Kaepernick scored a 38 that’s higher than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson. Hell Johnny Manziel have a higher scores than Manning, Brees, and Wilson. Derek Carr has the same wonderlic score as Michael Vick at 20. Larry Fitzgerald scored a 18, Dan Marino scored a 16, and Jim Kelly scored a 15.

  58. After Wonderlic score, I predict Lamar Jackson WILL NOT be drafted in the first round.

  59. Intelligence is very difficult to quantify, and there are many spheres of intelligence that all overlap in some ways. I had the highest SAT score in my school, yet I have difficulty understanding things my dropout father can do with ease (car and boat repair being one example).

    And yes, all tests are inherently biased, every single one. They are timed, they involve demonstrating knowledge or intelligence only through certain forms of expression, they are usually held early in the day. I always got good test scores, because I am good at taking tests. I don’t get performance anxiety, I manage time well, I am most comfortable expressing myself in writing, and I looked forward to having a class period in which I didn’t have to pay attention to the teacher.

    Understand that a test result can give you some insight, but it can hardly tell you who is smart and who is dumb. We all have our various talents and abilities, and there is no human who ever lived who knew everything. It is a grave mistake to dismiss any person’s intelligence, because it is a universal certainty that they have some area in which they can exceed you.

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