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New Combine test is aimed at leveling the playing field


More details are emerging regarding the new test that will be administered at the Scouting Combine. But still not enough to allow the players who’ll be taking it to skew the results by preparing for it.

Cyrus Mehri, co-founder of the Fritz Pollard Alliance who with Johnnie Cochran prompted the NFL in 2002 to launch the Rooney Rule, helped develop the new exam. And while Mehri has yet to directly say anything negative about the Wonderlic, a 50-question exam developed in the 1930s and adopted by the NFL in the 1970s, it’s clear that Mehri believes the Wonderlic is, for modern purposes, less than wonderful.

“These guys are making these multi-million dollar decisions, and in some regards it’s like they are walking into a dark room with a flashlight,” Mehri told Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “This is going to turn on the lights.”

Mehri said that the 60-minute computerized test “kind of levels the playing field from a socio-economic point of view.”

The test was developed with the input of multiple NFL executives. “A lot of guys may be very intelligent, but are not as book-smart as others,” Mehri said. “Someone may not be the best reader, but they can still be very smart in picking up things.”

Players will still take the Wonderlic, primarily because the NFL wants to be able to make apples-to-apples comparisons between modern players and players from past years. Perhaps the new test will take on far more meaning, and the Wonderlic will become an outdated ritual like saying “Gesundheit” after a sneeze and “excuse me” after a fart.

Um. Excuse me.