NFL Sticking With The Wonderlic: Which Team Really Wants the Competitive Edge?

By Dr. Jack Singer

In a recent blog post I wrote about the infamous Wonderlic Assessment, used forever by the NFL at the Combine in order to “predict” who will and will not perform best at various positions, I spoke about the confidentiality compromising situation that is rampant and the fact that this assessment has NEVER been validated to predict anything which a football player does on the field.

Now, candid remarks from Robert Price, MS, who has worked as a consultant with NFL teams, reveals what goes on at the Combine regarding the Wonderlic and its scores:

“The NFL uses this assessment because this is what they have always used and they are not looking at any alternatives.  Teams themselves just do not feel comfortable with a new/better instrument…I have sat in meetings and listened to many executives use the wonderlic numbers in this manner:  We would like our defensive linemen to score here and our safeties in this range and our offensive tackles here so on and so forth.As far as the leaking of test scores I know that their are people in the room that should not be there looking at results who have given them out… Not good.”

It took a long time for professional sports teams, including NFL teams, to regulate themselves in terms of performance enhancing and illicit drugs, alcohol and domestic violence.  It’s high time they used proper psychological tools that can accurately predict such important traits as peak performance consistency, injury proneness, unresolved anger, and poor judgment.  The Wonderlic does not address any of these important NFL success criteria.  Teams which step up and run potential draft picks through current, validated assessments will surely have the advantage in both selection and on the field!

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

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