The Wonderlic Cognitive Ability test was created over 60 years ago and has been used by the NFL since 1968. Think about that. A sixty year old test is being used to judge the intelligence of football players in today’s very different world.
But that’s not the the only problem, according to the Kathy Kolbe, daughter of the test’s creator (Eldon Wonderlic). According to Kolbe, her father’s test is biased against minorities and is a terrible predictor of how an NFL player is going to perform.
“The first time I heard they were using it, I had to laugh,” Kolbe says. “The issue isn’t whether or not to use the Wonderlic. The issue is: Don’t say it tells you how a player is going to do. Because it doesn’t.”
Kolbe says the Wonderlic test measures only one part of a person’s intelligence. Not surprisingly, she has her own test, which she thinks should be given in conjunction with the Wonderlic, to give a clearer picture of a person’s innate intelligence abilities.
This is all covered in more detail in this fine article by Kent Babb of the Kansas City Star: Daughter of creator says NFL misuses Wonderlic test. Check it out, it’s a worthwhile read.
Meanwhile, some Wonderlic scores are being reported for public consumption (which is not supposed to happen, by the way).
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen published these scores of some QB prospects:
- Alabama’s Greg McElroy:43
- Florida State’s Christian Ponder: 35
- Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi: 30
- TCU’s Andy Dalton: 29
- Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett: 26
- Auburn’s Cam Newton: 21
- Washington’s Jake Locker: 20
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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.
2 thoughts on “Are NFL Teams Wasting Their Time With the Wonderlic?”
Coaches use this as a small factor. No coaches believe, that if you do well you’ll be a sure fire great player and if you do bad you won’t make a roster. Different positions require more or less intelligence. Coaches usually have a number for each position that once a player gos over, it doesn’t move them any higher on the draft board. Also a number that once a player scores lower than, will start to become a negative. The guy in charge of this test now is the great great grandson of Eldon. The test changes very frequently and is used for screening potential employees of many large corporations. It’s not a tell all and isn’t looked at as one. Maybe Kathy got cut out of the family business…..
haha. She says she’s disagreed with it’s use since the first day the NFL started using it, but you’re right, who knows if there’s another motivation.
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