Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Are You Smart Enough to Play Professional Football in the NFL?

Vince YoungMeet Vince Young. Vince Young was quarterback of the Texas Longhorns team that stunned the University of Southern California in this year's Rose Bowl in January, becoming National Collegiate Champions for the first time since 1969. It was pretty much a one-man show from Young that led the Longhorns to the title, and it so enraptured the US football public that all of a sudden Reggie Bush, the USC halfback who was the automatic first pick in this year's NFL draft, wasn't so automatic a choice anymore. The Vince Young Era had arrived.

And now, all of sudden, it seems the Vince Young Era is over, and Shakespeare was correct in his postulation about all that glisters not being gold.

Last week saw the NFL scouting combine, which is the event where the great and good of the National Football League get all the aspirant talent together, and put them through their paces. If you remember the hiring fairs of your history books, you're half-way there to understand the notion of the scouting combine.

Vince Young's reputation sank like a stone at the Combine, and hit bottom this weekend when reports emerged of Vince having done particularly badly at the Wonderlic, which is the test that the NFL administers to see how intelligent - or otherwise - a prospect is. Now, let's remember that Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson of the Dallas Cowboys once said that Pittsburgh's then quarterback Terry Bradshaw was so dumb "he couldn't spell 'cat' if you spotted him the 'c' and the 'a.'" Bradshaw went on to throw four touchdowns against Henderson's Dallas in Super Bowl XIII, the third of the four Super Bowls Pittsburgh would win a six year stretch, and Bradshaw is now enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as one of the greatest ever to play the game. So, being smart enough to play football in the NFL isn't really the same as being smart enough to sit in the Chair of Philosophy at Heidelburg University.

Even allowing for that, Vince still looks a like a bust. The Houston Chronicle first reported that Young had scored 6 out of a possible 50 on his Wonderlic test, which is just shocking. The Young camp were very annoyed about this, and are now claiming that he re-sat the test and scored sixteen. Of course, 16 out of fifty, 32%, isn't a great score either, but the Young camp are then inclined to mutter that the test is "culturally biased," and leave it at that. Race pervades sports in America, as the great big elephant in the room of which nobody may speak.

But An Spailpín Fánach is nothing if not intellectually curious, and as such nothing would do me but to see if I could find this Wonderlic test online somewhere, and see how bad it is. As it turns out, Wonderlic guard their copyright jealously, and do not care for the prying eyes of the outside world. However, Peter Schrager of Fox Sports has found a similar test, from the Canada Revenue Agency. So click here and scroll down, to see if you can do better than College graduate, Vince Young, in this aptitude test.

It says a lot about the world and how it turns, doesn't it?

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