Monday, February 27, 2006

Stupid Football Players?

Stupid Football Players?
Rumor has it that Vince Young, the quarterback from the national champion Texas Longhorns scored a 6 out of 50 on the Wonderlic intelligence test. His agent and college coach hastened to quell the rumor by saying that the test had been improperly graded, and that Young had re-taken the test and gotten a 16. Of course, since all Wonderlic scores are supposedly confidential, there is no way to confirm or deny the rumors.

The average person scores a 20 on the Wonderlic. According to Charlie Wonderlic Jr., "A score of 10 is literacy, that's about all we can say." That means a 16 corresponds to mild retardation, and a 6 constitutes illiteracy.

The average quarterback scores a 24 on the Wonderlic, higher than any other position other than offensive lineman (whose mastery of complex blocking schemes makes them the brainiacs of the pigskin set). Scores for quarterbacks in the past five drafts vary, according to nfldraftscout.com. Other high profile quarterbacks scored in that range. Michael Vick scored a 20, David Carr scored a 24 and Eli Manning scored a 39.

Does it make sense to judge a player based on a single test score? After all, if he's already had success, wouldn't that be a better measure of the man? And aren't standardized tests culturally biased?

More broadly, does it make sense to judge non-football-players by their test scores? By their IQs and SATs?

That's a question you have to answer for yourself. Vince Young looked amazing in the Rose Bowl. But if he really scored a 6, I'd drop him like a hot potato.

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