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Wonderlic Test vs. a Player’s True Potential

At every scouting combine, the Wonderlic Test is given to would-be NFL players. Is this test really just a basic intelligence test and does a players potential depend on the results?

50= highest possible score, superior intelligence

21= average intelligence

14= equivalent to unskilled worker

Below 14= moron

Let’s take a few quarterback examples from NFL history.

Dan Marino scored a 16. According to the Wonderlik Test, Dan should have been happy as a blue collar worker, making a low wage.  Instead he was a 9-time Pro Bowler, 3-time First-Team All-Pro, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005. Not bad for only getting a few questions right.

Ben Roethlisberger scored a 22, average intelligence level according to the Wonderlik Test but he keeps doing stupid stuff.

Donovan McNabb scored a 14 but since he was drafted in 1999, he has demonstrated consistent excellence in his quarterback role. His .651 (92-49-1) win percentage as a starter ranks near the top among active QBs. His career stats speak for themselves.

Eli Manning, scoring a whopping 39 is one of the highest scorers on the Wonderlik Test. He led the Giants to victory in Super Bowl XVII and was voted most valuable player. Does that mean he’s smarter than the rest or was he simply groomed for greatness by father and brother?

I don’t think the Wonderlic Test reveals anything other than the fact that some are better test takers than others. The logic, leadership, and decision-making abilities needed on the field are not always demonstrated on a piece of paper with questions. I’m surely not diminishing the intelligence level of those who have scored high – it’s a great thing to be viewed as one with high intelligence, but as far as football goes, it doesn’t translate to on-field performance. Passion, persistence, and power still reign supreme.

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2 Responses to Wonderlic Test vs. a Player’s True Potential

  1. tejones May 20, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    I agree, but the interesting thing is I have seen other industries administer this test. Sigh. Ah tests. They weed people out don't they. I guess tests only give part of the picture, but we use it to see the entire landscape.

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