Wonderlic scores already are getting leaked


Last week, incoming NFL rookies took the Wonderlic test at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. This week, the scores already are being published.

It’s a stunning failure by the league to even make a half-hearted attempt to secure the scores, with someone leaking them to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has published several of them. While some or all of the scores get released every year, it’s rare that they get disclosed this quickly.

Several of the General Managers who spoke to PFT Live at the Scouting Combine were asked whether a refusal to take the test based on the league’s chronic failure to keep the scores confidential would be a red flag. 49ers G.M. Trent Baalke opted instead to lament the fact that the scores are always leaked.

As previously argued, the players should refuse to take the test, but they won’t. Job applicants will agree to plenty of potential indignities in the name of getting hired. So maybe the time has come for the league to stop administering it.

Really, what good does it do? The best reason for continuing to do it is the fact that the NFL has done it for years. Teams call it just another piece of a broader puzzle, but is it a piece that really fits — especially since it crosses the line from physical ability into a more inherently sensitive realm of intellectual capacity?

Teams won’t like it, because so many scouts and coaches are creatures of habit. Still, if all teams lose the benefit of the same test, none can claim an unfair advantage.

Besides, the Scouting Combine is maintained by the league and not by the teams. If the league tells the Scouting Combine to not administer the test, the test won’t be administered. And then there will be no scores to leak.

36 responses to “Wonderlic scores already are getting leaked

  1. There are plenty of front office people willing to give away secrets so that media people will write good stuff about them. That’s why it’s hard to believe what you read. There is so much competition between the media it’s kinda turned into a circus.

  2. all the other results are posted, why not the Wonderlic test scores…nobody in their right mind expects these “scholar athletes” to post much more than average at best and some of the scores are downright comical(sad)…I’m in my sixties and not a college educated guy, but 2 years ago a head hunting agency had me take the test and I got a 39, just winging it ,without any preparation….of course, my forty was a 6.93 …no bench press of 225, hand size 8.25…..lol

  3. Is the NFL trying to self destruct? They are taking one of the best products and sports franchises out there and turning it into Ringling Bros Circus!

  4. Who really cares about the scores? Can they play or not is all teams should worry about. I’ll bet there’s 0 correlation between a players score and their impact on the field

  5. Only because it casts light on what college football really is to the nfl…… A 100% free farm system that it can on occasion influence

  6. The Cowboys trade up to get Morris Claiborne who had the all time worst ever Wonderlic score of 4. Now how dumb do you have to be to do that. Jerry.

  7. Its a test just like another one. Stop being so sensitive. If its leaked just too bad. Teams need to have a little something to evaluate the mental side of it.

  8. Whether or not anyone wants to acknowledge it, the ability or lack thereof to learn and process information doesn’t become inapplicable because we’re talking about sports.

    Intelligence–or lack thereof–is often times a critical aspect of a given player’s development. If they don’t have the mental acumen to learn the complexities of the game, then their career could be in serious jeopardy.

    This is another example of people believing that sports operates in some kind of disconnected vacuum away from everyone else and that the ability to learn is somehow of no consequence because ‘they’re playing sports.’

    Intelligence matters in all occupations. How much it matters is the only thing worth discussing.

  9. The Wonderlic serves a tangible purpose, just like any educational test.

    How many times do you have to say the same thing until it gets through their skull, if it even permeated into the soft cranial tissue in the first place.

    Ill take a smart football player any day over an idiotic physical freak, its clearly a pre-requisite for QB, but especially relevant for WOs and Corners. You have to be able to understand what you are looking at, and remember what you are supposed to do when you see it.

    The wonderlic sheds light on their abilities to do such.

  10. Everybody has an IQ. Why is it wrong to evaluate a player’s IQ? Some are stupid and some are smart. Teams want to know.

  11. All things being equal between two players except for mental aptitude, you take the smarter player every time. Players should be able to refuse but let’s not act like administering the test is some kind of indignity.

  12. The “sensitive realm of intellectual capacity” LOL who cares? Guess what, if you can’t handle your score being leaked to the media, then you probably don’t have thick enough skin to play in the league where you’re under the microscope in the first place. And BTW, anyone who thinks that intellectual capacity is utterly irrelevant to performance on the field is foolish. Many great coaches have stressed the importance of having intelligent players.

  13. For a league that can punnish players without due process, this just adds to the fact that they can do a lot of crap that would not Fly in the real world

  14. If you think about this as an IQ test, then it’s horrible that it’s been leaked.

    As someone who has a professional understanding of Psychometric testing, I don’t think of this as an IQ test. Hence I don’t see a problem.

  15. Why is it wrong to test the intelligence of future players where intelligence plays a major role in the success or failure of the player you give hundreds of thousands of dollars to?
    It is a job interview after all.

  16. All it’ll take for the Wonderlic test to disappear is for a very high-profile sure fire number one pick, preferably a QB like Cam Newton or Jameis Winston, to refuse to take it, and explain his reasons for doing so. It won’t be long after that for the league to drop it.

  17. Some random thoughts, in no particular order:

    “The best reason for continuing to do it is the fact that the NFL has done it for years.”

    No, the best reason is to figure out who does well and who does poorly. Maybe it’s an indicator of future success in the league and maybe it isn’t, but that is the best reason.

    “…it crosses the line from physical ability into a more inherently sensitive realm of intellectual capacity”

    So? Why is it okay for 40 times to be public knowledge, but test results for questions like, “A race car travels 100 feet in .5 seconds, how far will it travel in a minute?” or “What is the 8th month of the year?” not okay?

    “Job applicants will agree to plenty of potential indignities in the name of getting hired.”

    Of course they will. So maybe the recourse is to take action *after* the draft. If the league is somehow “guaranteeing” testing confidentiality, then it seems to be a no brainer for a player to take legal action after he’s “hired”.

  18. The combine is no different. It tests a players physical assets while in underwear vs. game conditions. There have been just as many “busts” who showed their physical abilities well at the combine but failed miserably in the NFL as there have been busts who scored low on the Wonderlic. Many potential stars became busts because they couldn’t learn a route tree, couldn’t read a defense or otherwise relied solely on their physical capabilities. I’m certainly not a Pats fan, but perhaps that is why the best NFL coach came out recently and said he isn’t impressed with what athletes can do in their underwear as they spend a year preparing for the combine events and not what success on the field requires. Two of the best QB’s ever (Brady/Manning) never had outstanding physical attributes but they excel with their “intellectual capacity.”

  19. It’s pretty clear that intellectual capacity is a huge factor in some players’ success in the NFL. 40-yard dash times are huge factors in some other players’ success in the NFL. If the NFL stops measuring intellectual capacity, one could argue they should also stop measuring 40-yard dash times.

    NFL teams invests almost $5 BILLION in player compensation each and every season, it is absolutely reasonable to do intrusive physical, intellectual, and emotional testing on the potential talent pool.

    Many employers subject their potential employees to intrusive testing, it’s not just the NFL. Try to get a job at the FBI (or even the Dept of Health) without intrusive testing.

    As far as publicizing the results, I don’t see much of a difference between publishing 40-yard dash times and publishing Wonderlic scores. If a RB runs a 5.0 40, that’s just as embarrassing as a QB posting a 5 on the Wonderlic. If anything, knowing the results will be published would make some players take the Wonderlic more seriously.

  20. Contrary to popular belief (and common sense) teams do not use the Wonderlic to weed out the idiots. Teams love idiots. They especially love violent idiots playing OL and DL.

    Teams use the Wonderlic to avoid drafting players who have a higher IQ than the coaches. There are numerous reports of coaches and scouts saying that scoring too high on the Wonderlic is a red flag. They don’t want anyone in the locker room who could be a credible threat to a coach’s authority.

    Also – I think it’s fair to say that scores get leaked because the NFL wants them leaked. When was the last time the NFL did a serious investigation of a leaked Wonderlic score?

  21. cjpackfan says:
    Mar 2, 2016 11:19 PM

    all the other results are posted, why not the Wonderlic test scores…


    It’s more of a subjective morality thing. I’m a person with high test scores and would feel some type of way of somebody shared them without my approval.

  22. If I ever got a good Wonderlic score, I’d tell everybody about it. No reason to keep it secret.
    And Terry Bradshaw got a 16 on his. He’s also got 4 rings, a ring for every 4pts on his test. Nobody is going to say somebody scoring 40 will get you 10 rings.

  23. The scores by some of these players are an embarrassment to them and the education system.
    How they get out of the rain without a prodding is the wonder.
    I bet a fifth grader could do better then some.
    Dexter Manley was basically illiterate

  24. someone dont want to show what a waste of time and money it is to send someone to college, when they cant pass a sixth grade proficiency test….

  25. We run them in the corporate world all the time and it is definitely one useful indicator of potential.

    Those who tend to score higher tend to learn the more complex aspects of the business quicker and thus, often require less training time.

    I would imagine on average offensive linemen, for example, who score higher will learn the playbook quicker and make fewer repeat mistakes.

  26. I think it would be cool to see which Conferences or Universities had the highest Wonderlic scores… maybe too small of sample size though.

  27. I think that its fine if these leak, but consumers of information need to take things with a grain of salt. The test is controversial and it shouldn’t be the only method of measuring intelligence any more than a basic IQ test you could take online is – there are many forms of intelligence.

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