The Wonderlic is topical at the moment again so I'm going to update a Fanpost I did in March 2009. It looked at Wonderlic scores of NFL QB's and found there's a high correlation that very successful Quaterbacks will have above average (or better) Wonderlic scores. To get a better idea about the stats I'm putting up now have a read through that Fanpost for further explanations;http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2009/3/23/807364/wonderlic-scores
For those of you who don't want to read the other Fanpost I'll reiterate a couple of key points;
Being that the Wonderlic seems to be a somewhat controversial issue and some people seem to just "know" that it's "irrelevant" and react dismissively or angrily towards it, I'd like to make this first point abundantly clear so please understand the what I'm trying to say here: I'm not saying that anyone who scores high on a Wonderlic will perform well as an NFL QB. What I'm saying is that it is definitely more likely that NFL QB's who are very successful in the New Millennium Era (year 2000 onwards) will have scored high on the Wonderlic skill test.
Please understand that paragraph before posting so the thread is not riddled with irrelevant posts like "but Alex Smith scored 40" or "but Drew Henson scored 42". I'm not saying a certain type of intelligence is the only measure of success, quite obviously it's football, they also need to be athletic, tough, have a strong work ethic, can handle multiple pressure's both on and off field etc. What I am saying is that in the multitude of skills QB's need to be successful intelligence is absolutely one and an important one at that. While the Wonderlic might not be the perfect test it does seem to show some interesting results that can't just be dismissed.
The average Wonderlic score for those trying to enter the NFL is 20. The average Wonderlic score for those trying to enter the NFL as QB's is 24. The 2008 figures are covered in the original Fanpost so I'll update it with 2009 and 2010.
2009 – Name, Score, QB Rating.
Drew Brees – 28 – 109.6
Brett Farve – 22 – 107.2
Philip Rivers – 30 – 104.4
Aaron Rodgers – 35 – 103.2
Ben Roethlisberger – 25 – 100.5
Peyton Manning – 28 – 99.9
Matt Schaub – 31 – 98.6
Tony Romo – 37 – 97.6
Tom Brady – 33 – 96.2
Kurt Warner – ?? – 93.2
Eli Manning – 39 – 93.1
That's the Top 3rd of QB's in the NFL in 2009. The only person under the average QB score of 24 is Brett Farve (a guy with a career long reputation for throwing boneheaded interceptions at the worst possible time!). Every other QB on the list scores over the average of 24. As a group (including Farve) they averaged almost 31 (30.8).
2010 – Name, Score, QB rating.
Tom Brady – 33 – 111.0
Philip Rivers – 30 – 101.8
Aaron Rodgers – 35 – 101.2
Michael Vick – 20 – 100.2
Ben Roethlisberger – 25 – 97.0
Josh Freeman – 27 – 95.9
Joe Flacco – 27 – 93.6
Matt Cassell – ?? - 93.0
Matt Schaub – 31 – 92.0
Peyton Manning – 28 – 91.9
Matt Ryan – 32 – 91.0
That's the Top 3rd of QB's in the NFL in 2010. The only person under the average QB score of 24 is Michael Vick who had a career year is probably the most athletically gifted QB of all-time. Every other QB on the list scored over the QB average score of 24. As a group (including Vick) they averaged almost 29 (28.8).
That's totally in line with what the results were in 2008 (group average of 30.3). That's 3 years straight of the NFL's Top 3rd of QB's averaging well over the total QB average (it's probably a lot longer than 3 years but who's got the time!). In the previous Fanpost an analysis of every starting QB in the league revealed their average was a few points higher than the average of every college QB that took the Wonderlic. A clear sign that when the NFL picks the best QB's, on average, it's picking both the best athletically and mentally and that the Wonderlic is a useful tool for measuring the mental aspect.
Next, some updated data from the last Fanpost.
Superbowl winning QB's from 2000 onwards;
Kurt Warner – ??
Trent Dilfer – 22.
Tom Brady – 33.
Brad Johnson – ??
Tom Brady – 33.
Tom Brady – 33.
Ben Roethlisberger – 25.
Peyton Manning – 28.
Eli Manning – 39.
Ben Roethlisberger – 25.
Drew Brees – 28.
Aaron Rodgers – 35.
The only Superbowl winning QB below the average QB score is Trent Dilfer; a QB who is regarded as having been a bus driver behind one of the greatest Defenses of All-Time.
9 out of the last 10 Superbowl winning QB's have been above the average score of 24 and the Superbowl winning QB average is 30.1.
And as I stated in my previous post, all the multiple Superbowl winning Quarterbacks since 1990 have been well above the total football average (score of 20) and clearly above the statistical average QB (score of 24).
Troy Aikman, 3 Superbowls – 29.
Tom Brady, 3 Superbowls – 33.
John Elway, 2 Superbowls – 29.
Ben Roethlisberger, 2 Superbowls – 25.
To conclude I'll steal a few lines from my original Fanpost:
In conclusion; I'm not suggesting that a QB should be drafted solely on his Wonderlic score. The same way I wouldn't suggest drafting a RB solely on his Forty yard dash time. But measuring a RB's speed is very important as they make the jump from College to the much faster NFL game. In the same way, measuring a QB's mental skill is very important as they make the jump from College to the much more complicated, technical and challenging NFL game.
The Wonderic Test; not every Quarterback who scores high on the Wonderlic is going to be a success, but the most successful Quarterback's very often have the higher scores.