Ding dong the Wonderlic is dead.
In a note distributed to all NFL teams on Wednesday, a copy of which was obtained by Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press, the league explained that the 50 general intelligence question test will be eliminated of the pre-draft process.
Long a source of controversy given the pointlessness of scores and other factors that make results unreliable (including whether players care about the test or even realize they would pass it), the NFL has continued to put implemented the test as part of the obsession with apples to apples data points during the various years of draft courses.
Getting and reporting low scores has become a cottage industry for sports media. We were aggressively researching these numbers. Eventually we realized that they are unreliable and that it is unfair to use low scores as a basis to ridicule the intelligence of players who have taken the test. In recent years, we have completely refrained from publishing specific scores for specific players.
At one point, agents got the different versions of the test and handed them to their clients, giving them the best possible preparation for the exam. The Boy Scouts shrugged at the perception / reality of cheating. As a scout told PFT years ago, if players can memorize the multiple versions of the Wonderlic and repeat the answers when asked to, they can memorize a playbook. everything that matters.
Then there is the other end of the spectrum. Too good on the test. Former NFL punter Pat McInally (pictured) got the only 50 in history in the Wonderlic pre-draft process. Some coaches may feel threatened by having smarter players in the locker room than Phys Ed majors who end up scratching X’s and Bones for a living.
“Coaches and guys at the front office don’t like extremes one way or the other, but especially not the high side,” McInally said in 2006, explaining that he believed the perfect score was detrimental to his draft stock. “I think they think guys who are smart will challenge authority too much.”
Hopefully, the dropping of the Wonderlic at the league level means that teams will not be able to implement the test during the one-on-one visits with the players. Otherwise, most teams will be tempted to continue using the test, making the broader decision to drop it largely meaningless.
The Wonderlic test doesn’t make sense for football. It always has been. With extensive access to prospects in the weeks leading up to the draft, there are other ways to determine if a player has the basic intelligence to function in the NFL, without giving them a hokey test that says nothing about skills. and football’s abilities – and all too often used to embarrass them, especially since the NFL has consistently failed to keep the results confidential.