Does the Wonderlic test matter?

By Joe D.

Before reading this article, go here and take a sample Wonderlic test.  Feel free to post your results.  And now, onto the article.

Per leaked reports, Tim Tebow achieved a 22 on the Wonderlic test.  For those who were in a coma the past 20 years, the Wonderlic test is a 50 question, 12 minute exam  that assesses an individuals learning and problem solving ability within the pressure filled confines of the NFL combine.  The question is, “What does the Wonderlic test measure.”

The Wonderlic doesn’t measure quick thought processing.  Most decisions at the NFL level are made within a fraction of a second.  50 questions in 12 minutes breaks down to 14.4 seconds per question.  That is an eternity in football time.  Playing Brain Age would be a more accurate test for quick thought processing.  I can imagine the Headline, “Tebow’s Mind is Geriatric, Brain Age of 69.”

If the test doesn’t measure the speed at which decisions are made, what does it measure?  Not intelligence or knowledge, though I do believe it measures willingness to study.  While all of these players are coming from college programs, we are all aware that some schools tailor the curriculum for the athletes.  Most people can get a 4.0 in English as a 2nd language and rocks for jocks.

In the NFL, the best players spend countless hours watching film, getting an understanding of their opponents tendencies, and with the help of the coaching staff, developing ways to attack those tendencies.  I missed question #18 on the above sample Wonderlic test.  I missed the connection between the letters being analogs for numbers.  Would I miss that question again (or a similar question)?  Absolutely not.

Players have ample opportunity to take sample tests and prepare accordingly for the Wonderlic test.  They prepare by lifting and running and practicing the drills in preparation for the combine.  Are they willing to spend countless hours learning different styles of questions that may be in the Wonderlic?  If they are, they will probably score well on the test.  There are those who will falter due to the pressure of the testing environment.  What are Sundays in the NFL, but the ultimate test of a players skill and knowledge.

So does the test matter?  It doesn’t for decision making on the field, but it could answer one more question mark about the player’s work ethic or whether they may have a brain freeze in the biggest moments in a game.

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