Wonderlic, Smunderlic…….VY Can Just Flat Out Play

By Tony McClean
Updated: November 29, 2006

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — All I wanna know is “Where are they?”. Just where the hell are they? You know who I’m talking about. All the pseudo “experts” that tried to base a player’s whole career on a test.

Where are they? Where the hell are these arrogant jerks?
Remember all the “buzz” just after the NFL Combine in February? You remember don’t you? Several erroneous reports surfaced that Texas star quarterback Vince Young allegedly scored a six on his Wonderlic Test.
Let me bring you up to speed. The Wonderlic, or Wonderlic Personnel Test, has been administered to prospective NFL players since the 1970s as a means of assessing intelligence, aptitude for learning a job and general problem-solving ability.
Players are given 12 minutes to answer 50 questions. The score is calculated as the number of correct answers given. A score of 20 indicates average intelligence and corresponds to an IQ of 100.
Now you must also remember, supposedly Wonderlic scores are to be kept confidential and are never confirmed publicly by the NFL. However, because they are included in combine results given to teams after the combine, scores just seem to leak out.
You know, like “sealed grand jury testimony”? Now we’re not trying to make put these scores and grand jury testimony into the same importance, but follow me and you’ll see where we’re going with this.
After Young clearly outperformed and defeated the Heisman Trophy duo of Matt Leinhart and Reggie Bush in this past January’s Rose Bowl, even VY’s most harshest critics had to stand up and notice that he was an extraordinary player.
But predictably, media folk and other pundits had to find something wrong with VY. We were getting a lot of “He played great, but……” or “He won’t be able to do that in the pros”. The same old tired lines we here about black quarterbacks who don’t fit the NFL “mold”.
Then the erroneous reports about Young’s Wonderlic score surfaced and to no ones surprise, the media talked about how VY’s “stock” was dropping. The talk was that Vanderbilt’s Jay Cutler and or Leinhart would be and should be the first quarterback chosen.
This was all said nearly two months before the actual draft!!!
Despite all that craziness, VY turned out to be the first quarterback chosen (third overall) by the Tennessee Titans. However, even after that the haters and second guessers were saying that the Titans had made a mistake.
Fast forward to the regular season. While VY has had his ups and downs, it’s safe to say that he has been the best rookie quarterback in the NFL this season. A look at last Sunday’s miracle win against the Giants is a very good barometer.
Behind Young, the Titans overcame a 21-0 fourth quarter deficit and defeated the NFC East leading New York Giants 24-21 at Tennessee. The comeback topped the Titans’ previous best fourth-quarter rally from 15 points on Nov. 1, 1987, against Cincinnati.
It was the biggest in the NFL since Indianapolis came back from 21 down in the fourth period at Tampa Bay on Oct. 6, 2003, and won 38-25. The final minutes were reminiscence of VY’s last second heroics against USC in January.
He finished with a career-high 249 passing yards and also ran for 69 yards on 10 attempts. Most importantly, it was Tennessee’s (4-7) second straight win, and fourth in its last six after starting the season 0-5.
All of those wins have come with VY under center.
During the Giant game and the winning streak, VY showed all the physical traits and mental intangibles that makes him a rising star and leader in the NFL. Something that no test in the world could show.
No one dared ask or talked about Young’s Wonderlic score after this game and rightfully so. As far as I’m concerned, it (Young’s alleged score) was leaked by folks who after all these years still have a problem with black quarterbacks that don’t fit the NFL “mold”.
Here’s something these “critics” had better realize. With guys like Young and Michael Vick currently in the league and guys like Ohio State’s Troy Smith and others coming from college, this is the future of the NFL.
Mobile quarterbacks who can throw on the run and can also run for first downs are going to be the rule not the exception. The days of the big armed, but stationary quarterbacks are going the way of 8-track tapes and beta VCRs.
Back in April, I wrote a piece entitled “Is The NFL Afraid Of Vince Young?”. A few months later, I think I may still be waiting for an answer. However, the maturation of VY is making the search for that answer a fun ride.
Hopefully, the rest of the NFL will jump along for the rest of the ride as well.