Sports scribes have called him a “moron.” Kirk Herbstreit wondered if he was “the dumbest player ever to play.” It turns out Johnny Football is pretty smart.
Johnny Manziel scored better on the Wonderlic than any other quarterback at the NFL combine. He tested at a 32 out of 50 on the 12-minute intelligence gauge. UCF quarterback Blake Bortles reportedly scored a 28 and Louisville passer Teddy Bridgewater reportedly scored 20.
By way of comparison, the Texas A&M product comes in four points better than Peyton Manning and seven points lower than Eli Manning. Though he outscored his draft-day competition, Johnny Football would not place tops among quarterbacks in any other recent draft or in the top ten among starting NFL quarterbacks. Manziel’s Wonderlic would put him behind Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, and Alex Smith.
Former Cincinnati Bengals punter and Harvard graduate Pat McInally boasts the only perfect Wonderlic score in NFL history. Retired linebacker Mike Mamula scored a 49 and current New Orleans Saints tight end Ben Watson scored a 48.
Because of the complexities of the quarterback position, a high Wonderlic test matters to talent evaluators. But football isn’t rocket science. Dan Marino scored a 15 and it didn’t keep him out of the Hall of Fame.