SPORTS DOCTOR- Testing, testing: Avoiding the truth about NFL players

What's the ninth month of the year? If one notepad sells for $.21, how much will four cost?

If you can accurately answer those questions, you may have a future in the NFL.

If you don't know that flammable and inflammable mean the same thing, no biggie. Considering Vince Young reportedly scored 6 out of 50 on his Wonderlic Test (a score of 10 indicates literacy), one can have zero concept of fire and still do well.

The Wonderlic Test didn't come to my attention until last year, though the NFL has relied on it since the 1970s. Shoot, when I first heard of the NFL Combine, I thought Brett Favre was teaching the guys how to drive a tractor.

Favre scored a 22 on the Wonderlic Test, so he's allowed to drive. 

The NFL Combine resembles nothing more than an elementary school Field Day. The 40-yard dash, the broad jump– if there were a beanbag throw, any fifth grader would win the day. Unfortunately, the NFL can't take anyone that young, unlike the NBA.

Save a precious few, I can't imagine the last time most Combine participants picked up a number-two pencil, unless a pretty girl dropped it. When presented with a number-two pencil, how many football stars know which end to use?

I admit that's a little harsh. Even a tight end from Miami has half a chance of picking the pointy end on the first try. 

Seriously, whom does the NFL think it's fooling by administering an intelligence test? By the time NFL hopefuls reach the Combine, their intelligence– or lack thereof– has long since ceased to be an issue. For the NFL to require a Wonderlic Test is markedly unfair.

Does it really do anyone any good to know how much dumber he is than the guy next to him? And if, even though he's dumber, a multimillion-dollar NFL contract and a United Way spokesmanship are still forthcoming, what merit do the scores have anyway? 

If you answered "none," you score two points. 

The only reason the NFL administers the Wonderlic Test is to placate the public. The test shows the NFL cares about its players and wants to reinforce that football is an intellectual game.

Playbooks have to be read, right?

Vince Young's score only serves to prove that the Wonderlic Test is a farce of the highest order. Young's impressive debut with the Tennessee Titans not only confirms that a low score doesn't keep one off the field; it doesn't predict how one will perform. Despite the NFL's attention to detail, the gamut of tests run on Combine participants left a gaping hole the League is reluctant to fill.

I'd like to think I can't be pinned down by personality tests, but I can't deny that if answered honestly, the tests can be very telling.

Which would be more valuable to a team owner, a player who knows the ninth month of the year or one who's almost never late for his appointments? A player who knows a rectangle from an octagon, or a player who welcomes objective criticism?

Why doesn't the NFL administer personality tests? The answer is Wonderlic easy. The NFL doesn't want to know a prospective player's personality. It wouldn't be easy for the NFL to shrug off a player's score. 

If a draft pick showed a clear propensity for violence and self-involvement, how could his contract be justified to the public?

A violent profile coupled with drug use, theft, or fighting would certainly put the NFL in a sticky position, and the NFL does its best to ignore sticky positions.

Not to worry. Personality test or no, an NFL player's true colors don't take long to shine. Whether John David Booty can help me figure out how much fencing I need for 60 acres doesn't matter. Whether he can run fast enough to get away from a drive-by is far more important.