Dear incoming rookies: Don’t take the Wonderlic

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Last year, we cooked up a hot take regarding the test every kid takes at the Scouting Combine weeks after the Combine happened. This year, we’ll remind the next crop of Combine attendees of the free advice.

Refuse to take the Wonderlic test.

All incoming rookies should refuse to take the Wonderlic not because the results have no relevance to football performance, although the results indeed have no relevance to football performance. All incoming rookies should refuse to take the Wonderlic because the NFL consistently flunks the pass/fail test of keeping the results secret.

Every year, all or some of the numbers are leaked. (PFT no longer attempts to obtain or report the scores.) No matter what the league does, no matter how many threats are made, the numbers get leaked. Often, the numbers are leaked to reporters who are employed by the league itself.

So here’s what we suggest that every player should say when the time comes to take the Wonderlic: “Sorry, sir. I choose not to take the test. You’ve told me that the results are private and confidential, but every year the scores for one or more players are leaked to the media. So the only way to reliably secure my own test result is to not create one.”

There’s not really anything the NFL can say in response to that, because there’s no way the NFL can secure the results. But the NFL will never voluntarily get rid of the test, because NFL teams are obsessed with apples-to-apples factors that can be compared from player to player and from year to year. So the only way the process will change is to have change forced upon the process.

And the only way that will happen as to the Wonderlic test will be for players to refuse to take it.

96 responses to “Dear incoming rookies: Don’t take the Wonderlic

  1. I took the practice wonderlic online. If you fail that thing you need to go back to middle school not high school. Also, most importantly, get a fall guy.

  2. You do not need the Wunderlich to figure out most of these guys IQ… As a grandmother said just sit down and have a civil conversation with them that I’ll tell you all you need to know

  3. Why should the results be confidential in the first place?
    They should also refuse to run the 40 because their time isnt being kept secret.

  4. Let’s face it. Not everyone is good at math — and that is the major deal-breaker when it comes to modern “standardized” testing. The old adage is: you are only “dumb” if you can’t realize that you’ve been cheated out of your paycheck. So Dan Marino or Vince Young scores a 16 on the Wonderlick [sic]… what has that got to do with scoring touchdowns?

  5. If you’re not an idiot, go ahead and take the Wonderlic because you’ll do well and it can only help you. If you’re an idiot, don’t take it. Pretty much that simple.

  6. Maybe the header should be Dear “dumb” incoming rookies…if I was taking the test I would have no fear of it being leaked, because it would be a good score.

  7. Yup, that will surely work, and not raise a red flag to teams. LOL. If the players are borderline between 2nd/3rd round, for example, that will guarantee them dropping in the draft, costing them perhaps millions of dollars.
    To someone applying for a job that pays, potentially, millions of dollars, to disregard your prospective employers requests for a particular test is asinine.
    A poll:
    tu if you would take the test to improve your chances of landing a million dollar job.

    td if you would refuse to take the test and jeopardize your chance at the job

  8. I wholeheartedly agree. The motivation for teams “leaking” the results are to raise or lower a player’s draft stock in hope that the player they want – maybe even the player whose results they are leaking – falls to them.

    Florio is right, the players shouldn’t take the test. It is impossible to prepare for. I’m a slow reader, though intelligent, when taking tests I often have to re-read questions numerous times to come up with the answer. Though I have never been diagnosed with a learning disability, with unfamiliar timed tests I have always struggled. Many players may suffer from what I do and be undiagnosed as I am so my message to them is: do not take the Wonderlic

  9. Dear incoming rookies: Don’t take the Wonderlic………if your a dumbass.

    Why would you be concerned about scores being leaked if you were well prepared to take it?

    The only players not willing to take it are going to be the ones that flunk it anyway.

  10. weepingjebus says:
    Feb 22, 2016 9:58 AM
    But then how will the Bills know which draftable dunce is truly the dumbest?


    That’s easy…. Ask the Vikings. LOL

  11. Horrible advice. Refusal to take the Wonderlic, no matter how you slice it, is a negative mark on your scouting report and unless you’re a top prospect (like top 10) it’s going to cost you BIG money when you fall in the draft because of it.

    Teams will assume one of two things:

    1. You’re dumb as a rock, and you don’t want that fact certified.
    2. You’re deliberately defiant. So what are you going to be defiant with in the future?

    Take the test, and deal with the fact that being a celebrity (which NFL players are) means private details of your life will almost always get sold to the public by somebody.

    And despite what people will say, getting a crappy score on the Wonderlic can indeed give a preview to how smart of a football player you will be. Morris Claiborne flunked the Wonderlic, so lo and behold, he turned out to be a dumb football player. It may not always be a 1 for 1 comparison, but it’s just another measure.

  12. The league and the teams are always gaming this stuff, leaking true and false data to serve their own agendas, with the players’ interests being a non-consideration. So, yeah, anytime a player can refuse to help them play their games, I’m all for it.

    If a coach needs this standardized test to figure out if a guy is smart enough to play for his team, then that coach is the dumb one. Sit down and talk to the kid; that’s the best way to assess. And remember, stats are for losers.

  13. The owner of the Dolphins Steve Ross, should be mandated to take the wonderlic test. That way he can call a press conference and claim the test was Racist.

  14. Don’t take the Wonderlic rookies. You know, just like you didn’t go to class or take your own exams in college.

    PS: I don’t want fries with that.

  15. The test seems to matter as it relates to the draft, but who believes any team has ever factored in this test score when evaluating a trade or signing a free agent?

  16. Teams employ guys who have beaten women, various drug convictions, beaten children, DUI’s, etc,etc and you think a score on a test is going to not get a guy drafted / employed in the league?

  17. You can see how smart a guy is on film. You can see how fast and how strong guys are on film. You see can how well guys block and tackle on film. If a scout can’t see these things, he should look for another line of work. This stuff is just a big waste of time.

  18. Smart players will take the test because they are smart. Dumb players do not want to take the test because it quantifies their lack of intelligence. Any player that refuses the test on the privacy principle will automatically be categorized with the latter group. The advice is a flawed blanket approach to a made up problem. Just make all the results public and failure to take any test, physical, interview or event should mean removal from the combine. No more QBs that are scared to throw the ball because they can’t use their own personal receivers.

    How many of you believe you would get the job if you refuse to answer interview questions or pass on a personality questionnaire during the hiring process for a job you want?

  19. a really poor score on the test is helpful information. Vince Young scored amongst the lowest ever and sure enough, he couldn’t comprehend the NFL playbook or NFL defenses. A high score doesn’t guarantee NFL success, but a really low score is meaningful (depending on the position). A nose tackle just has to occupy blockers, which doesn’t take much forethought or afterthought.

  20. It’s either important or it isn’t. If it isn’t, get rid of it. If it is, then make the rookie pay scale commensurate with the results.

    Example: Below 10 results in a reduction of -10%. Below 15 results in a reduction of -3%. Above 15, +3%, above 20, +10%, above 25, +20%.

    Maybe the “student athlete” would make a better effort.

  21. Yep. Once the league gives the results to each team’s GM you can figure it’s going to be common knowledge by the end of the next happy hour.

  22. The wonderlic is an imperfect way to measure intelligence, and low intelligence does not always prevent a player from being successful in the NFL.

    That said it’s a pretty silly position to say the wonderlic has no relevance on football performance. Intelligence is an asset in most positions on the football field.

  23. Damn, some of you people are as short on brains as the players you call yourself denigrating. His theory has nothing to do with the test or its relevance. Florio makes a good point, the inability to keep secure the results, after stating this is a confidential, impartial process makes the PROCESS, null-in-void. Students, by Federal law cannot have academic efforts, grades, or scores made public
    knowledge; so why wouldn’t a rookie want the same safeguards regarding their academic abilities. And for those comparing this to ‘…an employer’, NO employer would allow your results to go public without the consternation the term ‘lawsuit’ brings into play.

  24. What are these college educated idiots afraid they don’t know how many months on a calendar end in ber?

    I mean Vince Young didn’t and we see how he turned out…..Jellyhead!!!!

    As a GM, owner or head coach you need to see exactly how stupid the guys are you are drafting so you can adjust your schemes appropriately.

    As for the privacy of the test….the results should be televised like the combine….TRANSPENCY is good when millions are involved in a contract. The more information the better…..

  25. who cares how smart they are or where they went to school. the only thing that matters is that they are a student of the game. it doesnt even matter if u go to class, what matters is that you have class (which a lotve the players in the league dont to be Frank)

  26. @PokeSalad
    Anyone know/remember Manziel’s score?
    Actually he scored very well. It goes to show you this test is a lousy predictor of intelligence or savvy.

  27. The Wonderlic test is not “outdated.” It is a reasonably accurate method to measure something called “cognitive g” or general intelligence.

    So, it is just another measurable for the scouts, coaches, and GM’s to ponder while they stack their draft boards. No big deal.

    Here’s an amusing tidbit: I use this test in my research, and I was curious to see what would happen if I answered every question randomly. The result was a “12.” So, when I hear that someone scored a 7 on their first try, and then a 12 on the retest, my reaction is, “they got a better coinflip on the second try!”

  28. How about this? The players sue those who print or say their grades on the Wonderlic Test? If it’s confidential, it should be confidential.

    I agree with PFT, though. The Wonderlic Test has nothing to do with how a guy plays football. There are plenty of NFL players who can’t put a sentence together without sounding illiterate, but they can understand the X’s and O’s of football and play like superstars because they are superior athletes.
    So — get rid of the Wonderlic Test.
    And for a “new” concept, how about asking their parents or guardians to make sure they attend school and try to learn something so they graduate high school with a real education, and ask the universities to make sure they attend class and learn something, too? It boggles my mind that a guy can graduate from a top university and then can’t put a coherent sentence together. We see that all the time in the NFL.
    To me, that’s the real issue. We keep lowering our education standards in this country and then we wonder why we’re seeing more and more young people who can’t think beyond the constant texting they do and listening to the music they listen to.
    It’s not the teachers’ fault, either. I drive a school bus and I see exactly what they are faced with every day. It starts at home and with the lack of discipline they grow up with. Then the schools are handcuffed in disciplining them, so it’s virtually impossible to make them learn.
    It’s easier to lead a horse to water and make him drink than try to get these young people to do something they refuse to do. Because they know they can get away with it.
    To summarize, we need to stop lowering our education standards, and we need to give back to the schools the ability to discipline these young people. A society which brings everyone down to try to help those who refuse to learn is doomed.

  29. If I were a team, I would use wonderlic results as a conversation starter. It might also give an indication of areas that they might struggle with that I can adapt to and get even more out of the player than the other NFL teams.

    If I were interested in knowing the players IQ I would take a real IQ test. That takes 3-4 hours or something. But I really don’t see the point.

    So my advice, take the test. If you score badly, it doesn’t mean you are dumb, it’s just means that you scored badly.

  30. The nature of a wonderlic test, specifically the time aspect, means that a player could end up with a different score every time he writes it. He could blow it a few times and ace it a few times too. It doesn’t mean anything regarding intelligence or mental quickness if it is written once.

    All IQ testing of any type is inherently flawed because equally flawed humans invented the test and also how to interpret the results.

  31. I think the vikings rely heavily on it. They are consistently the least penalized team in football. Why? The guys they draft come from Stanford, Harvard and have done well on the wonderlic. What’s important about that.
    As a training specialist for 37 years I told my employer I can’t and we can’t train someone who cant read or write. Make sure we hire competant people that can be taught.
    The Lions draft idiots and have tons of ‘stupid’ penalties and mistakes.

  32. If you aren’t an idiot, you won’t care if the score is confidential. If you refuse to take the test, it will be assumed that you know you are an idiot, and now we do too.

  33. Take the test, it benefits you as the player, despite the negatives of the score being leaked.

  34. The Wonderlic is idiotic and useless. Dan Marino scored a 15 and had a Hall of Fame career, while Frank Gore scored a 6 and didn’t fare that badly either. On the other hand, Greg McElroy scored a 48 and had a cup of coffee in the NFL.

    My point here is the test has no bearing or relevance on what a guy can or can’t do on a football field. If anything, the only purpose it serves is to make kids who score low look dumb and become the butt of jokes.

    Look, we all know Morris Claiborne had the lowest Wonderlic score ever but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a total idiot. He should be judged by what he does on the field which, as we all know, isn’t much.

    Oh, by the way, A.J. Green scored a 10 and Patrick Peterson got a 9, so please tell me how the Wonderlic is working out for them now.

  35. You could make the same argument for many of the other drills – how many guys run a fast 40 and are drafted who end up being total flops?

    The Wonderlic does have value because it measures intelligence. Teams can use it to make sure they are avoiding picking bonehead players with no brains.

  36. League’s reply to player who uses PFT’s well crafted statement as to why they won’t take the Wonderlic test:
    Son, the Wonderlic is an intelligence test that helps us evaluate if you have the necessary reasoning abilities to perform at a high level. You absolutely have the right to refuse to take the test. In fact, you don’t have to run, lift, or jump either. Since I presume that you are here because you would like to play in the NFL, your decision to not take the intelligence test is actually the primary thing we will take into account when we collectively assess your intelligence.

  37. Vince Young is 31-19 as an NFL starting QB. That’s a pretty good record for a guy that supposedly can’t learn the playbook. The problems with Jeff Fisher had more to do with the fact that the owner wanted to draft Young, and Fisher never did like him.

  38. Is it the NFL that breaches the confidentiality or the teams that receive the results? I don’t think the NFL is at fault here, but instead the other parties (the teams) that receive the results.

  39. Why are Wonderlic score kept confidential, but every other measure of a players aptitude (like 40 time or jump height) isn’t?

  40. I would take it on my own and have the results sent only to me. Then I can choose who I show the results to. If an interested team really needs to see them, I can make that decision.

  41. So the kids who benefit from this should refuse to take the test in support of those who will not do so well? Perhaps the fast guys will also agree not to run the 40 in solidarity with those who are slower. Maybe receivers should not do the gauntlet because some others might not be able to catch and run so well.

    Perhaps they should all be equals and all have participation medals?

    Or perhaps we should come back down to planet earth and acknowledge that each player can use all their abilities to get drafted as high as they can and make their money. If someone is weaker, slower or not as bright, why should everyone else not be hamstrung by it?

  42. I can understand the NFL wanting to test players mental abilities, but the Wonderlic is useless. Rather, why not develop a football specific test…i.e. one that specifically tests a player’s ability to quickly learn, recall and understand an NFL playbook? Test that aspect, exclusive to football IQ.

  43. There is no valid reason to leak the scores, as the information being public has no bearing a draft prospect’s ranking. Why? Because the teams already know the scores before they are leaked. Pushing this data only serves to embarrass or flatter the player.

    The question is do we the viewer need to know a wonderlic score like a 40 time? Should we have access to a player’s mental aptitude? Is it now apparent that the NFL is leaking this info to keep interest between the combine and the draft?

  44. Am I the only one amused by how many comments there are here from people saying anyone who doesn’t take the test is an idiot when the authors of those comments do not know how to spell basic English words?

    Or how many people fail to grasp that it is not just the fact that the results are always leaked but they are done by teams scheming for their own benefit like tell everyone this guy is a moron so he hopefully falls to us, and if he does fall to us because of what we did we might just take someone else anyways if we like them more etc..

  45. As a Cowboy fan who had high hopes for Morris Claiborne, I have to say I disagree with the claim that the Wonderlic has “no relevance” to football.

    It is a limited data point whose use must be wisely understood, but it is a data point nonetheless. The more information you have to sort through and weigh, the better the chance that you’ll find a process that works well in evaluating players.

  46. I would love to see a study of Wonderlic scores and its correlation to success (All Pro, number of games started or some combination of stats)

    I am willing to bet in advance that one has nothing to do with the other. These teams interview the players and you can’t tell me that you can talk to someone for 30 minutes and not draw a conclusion as to their intelligence.

    Case in point, the child abuser Adrian Peterson is as dumb as a box of rocks and the Vikings could care less about character so they drafted him. Do you think that they looked at his Wonderlic score for one minute? Knowing Peterson, he probably dropped the test papers when they handed it to him.

  47. The NFL shouldn’t make any type of commitment to not release the test results. Make them a requirement of going to the combine. That’s part of what the combine is for. To get measurables – 40 time, bench press, etcetera. The NFL doesn’t make any commitment to not release that data, in fact it televises the test-taking. Other the fact that no one would want to watch a bunch of players taking a Wonderlic, what’s the difference between having official 40 times and having official Wonderlic scores? Medical testing results need to be kept confidential because of HIPAA rules. There’s no need to keep Wonderlic scores quiet.

  48. I tried taking the Wonderlic, and it’s hard and pointless. Don’t tell me that needing to know how much money I’d save using Oil A over Oil B is at all relevant to throwing a football in the correct place.

  49. Who cares … its just a test. Why not publish all the scores? Why do they have to be secret? Its not like you can’t tell from a random interview whether a person is educated or not simply by the way they communicate. I do agree that how educated and how well you take a test does not solely dictate how you perform in football, but it does give a clue as to how well a person can learn and comprehend a football system.

  50. People are so pathetic. “If you want to be in the NFL, just do whatever they tell you do. Don’t be a troublemaker” seems to be the drift of most of the comments.

    Troublemakers change the world, sheep don’t.

  51. The only reason they should refuse is if they think they’ll fail miserable. That being said, low scores have never kept anyone out of the league so what exactly is the point of the test in the first place?

  52. Or simply do some school work while in college, learn and educate yourselves, and then get a decent score on this easy test.

  53. I am surprised that Florio doesn’t have an “NFL keeps its free minor league system with the NCAA” theory in this post.

    We might as well theorize the following: the NFL uses the Wonderlic for an educational image to suck up to the NCAA can keep relations with the NFL going for the free minor league system intact.

    Here is what you learn from the Wonderlic:

    A) The NFL is nonsensical to keep this test around.

    B) The NFL average of 20 shows that these kids shouldn’t be in class and thus not given scholarships at all. If firefighters and, yes, train conductors average a 21, why should these kids be allowed into college?

  54. I took the Wonderlic and was told by a career counselor that I should become a professional blogger.
    See how misleading the results can be.

  55. Why stop at the Wonderlic? If they all could get together on anything they could simply skip the combine entirely and force teams to work them out individually or go off of film or scouting reports. Point is they won’t band together even on the Wonderlic.

  56. This is a catch 22, if you are dumb and aren’t smart enough to know to not take the test, then you are going to take the test. If you are really smart and you decide to follow the logic and to not take the test, then you are hiding something.

  57. NFL’s response: “Sorry currently unemployed person trying to make an impression on possible future employers, if you don’t take the Wonderlic you won’t be able to take part in the rest of the activities that follow it.”

  58. lukedunphysscienceproject says:
    Feb 22, 2016 12:41 PM

    People are so pathetic. “If you want to be in the NFL, just do whatever they tell you do. Don’t be a troublemaker” seems to be the drift of most of the comments.

    Troublemakers change the world, sheep don’t.

    They’re trying to get a job, in the NFL, playing on a team, where people are expected to work together.

    Unless you are one of the few really talented players, it’s best to wait to get drafted before you become an iconoclast.

  59. This is hilarious how ppl are outraged that players might not take the test.Tell it like it is,You ppl are drooling over laughing at certain players who score really low.Makes you’re own pitiful lives look fantastic that you can laugh at ppl who you wanna be.

  60. don’t feel sorry for the football players who are publicly shamed by bad scores….think of the guy named Wonderlic who actually created the test….imagine going through life with the name Eldon F. Wonderlic.

  61. “I tried taking the Wonderlic, and it’s hard and pointless.”

    Somebody posted this earlier. Really? I would expect an average 8th grader would get at least half. This test is a joke because it’s so easy. Find any sample.

  62. All incoming rookies should refuse to take the Wonderlic not because the results have no relevance to football performance, although the results indeed have no relevance to football performance.

    absolutely wrong

    intelligence and ability to answer the 2nd grade level questions in the Wonderlic makes a HUGE difference as to a given player’s ability to study playbooks, understand the coaches direction, be able to remember the play’s outcome, etc.

    It is unbelievable naive to say intelligence and the ability to learn new things doesn’t matter in the NFL

    The wonderlic is a slam gunk test for anyone above the age of about 12… if a given player refuses to take it, or scores poorly at it, they definitely deserve to be ignored at the draft.

    no way should a team hire someone who can’t pass the Wonderlic

    PS oh, and they need to be able to count to 11 on every play

  63. Just another test that shows you are working on every part of your game, physical and mental. Very valid test that you can prep for and or show you can handle learning a playbook 3 inches thick. I don’t know how putting some of these guys in their undies is any more embarrassing.

  64. I took the Wonderlic once and the questions on the whole are pretty easy, but it does measure computation speed more than anything else, which is critical in the NFL. If I were a GM, I would NOT pick a QB who refused to take or scored below average on the test.

  65. Case in point, the child abuser Adrian Peterson is as dumb as a box of rocks and the Vikings could care less about character so they drafted him.

    The Vikings drafted him 8 years BEFORE he beat his kid. Prior to that, there wasn’t a knock on him for being a degenerate.

    I guess maybe you think the Vikings should be able to see the future?

  66. Cam Newton – 21
    Ben Roethlisberger – 25
    Carson Palmer – 26

    Matt Flynn – 38
    Blaine Gabbert – 42
    Ryan Fitzpatrick – 48

    Yeah, that Wonderlic is sure important for QBs.

  67. If they’re going to give the Wonderlic test to QBs they should do it out in the middle of a busy intersection at rush hour. That’s closer to their work environment than a classroom.

  68. You don’t need a perfect 50 to be an effective QB, but those scores for Newton, Roethlisberger, and Palmer are at least respectable (in fact a little above average for the latter two.) I wouldn’t want someone who scored a 10 on the damn thing.

  69. PokeSalad says:
    Feb 22, 2016 10:40 AM

    Anyone know/remember Manziel’s score?


    Actually, I looked it up.Apparently, he scored a 32, which was the highest among QB’s in the 2014 draft.

    Soooooooo… anyone else out there think the test isn’t deeply flawed? The Wonderlic can measure intelligence but it obviously has its limits.

    By the way, what do the names Hugh Millen, Jeff Matthews, Bruce Eugene, Drew Henson, Jason Maas, Kevin Curtis and Mike Mamula have in common? They all scored over 40 on the Wonderlic and only a couple of them had some kind of NFL career. Mamula, in spite of a 49, was a notable bust.

    As for running the 40 or benchpressing 225 pounds, it can give some vague indication but it’s certainly not the end-all, be-all. For instance, Jerry Rice ran a 4.59 40 and he had himself a decent career, while Tony Mandarich lifted 225 pounds until scouts got bored watching and things didn’t pan ou that well.

  70. The Wonderlic is an excellent test of which Universities don’t give a damn about the academic standing of their “student” athletes.

    Well said. It’s still early, but this is a strong candidate for PFT comment of the year.

  71. linvillegorge says:
    Feb 22, 2016 10:06 AM
    If you’re not an idiot, go ahead and take the Wonderlic because you’ll do well and it can only help you. If you’re an idiot, don’t take it. Pretty much that simple.


    But the problem is that if you are an idiot you are not smart enough to understand that lol

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