Monday, December 18, 2017
Perspective

The NFL's new head games

The NFL is experimenting with a new exam to supplement the controversial Wonderlic test, which is a 50-question multiple-choice IQ exam given to all prospective players. The test is controversial mostly because there hasn't been a reliable correlation between athletes' scores, which range between 1 and 50, and subsequent athletic performance.

Though he is one of the best tailbacks in the game, for example, 49er Frank Gore famously scored a 6, which is roughly the accurate-guess rate of a game of "cow-pie roulette," a Midwestern county-fair favorite in which a cow is marched over a grid of numbered squares and you bet on which she will first fertilize.

I applaud the NFL for recognizing it has a problem but would like it to go in another direction. The players don't need a new IQ exam. No one cares how smart football players are. We care about other things. I recommend they use my four-question test:

1 You sack the opposing quarterback. Which of the two following things would you most likely do next?

• I'd walk confidently back to my huddle, but certainly not gloat; for one thing, I'm paid to sack quarterbacks — just doing the job for which you are extravagantly paid should not be cause for unseemly celebration. But also, I'd be concerned that I might have caused a disabling injury. As players, we are in this violent sport together, and take no joy from inflicting pain on others.

• I'd start with a your basic bump-and-grind imitation of male sexual domination in the animal kingdom, then pantomime digging the quarterback's grave, and end with my crowd-pleasing, signature, wag-in-the-face buttock-taunt.

2 You are recording the short video that plays at the beginning of each game, in which the players serially recite their names and what college they played for. How would you do this?

• I'd say the name of my college, but with some humility, inasmuch as I went for only two years, majored in "kinesthesiology," which I still cannot spell, and then left for the bucks of a professional career. I recognize that my bragging about the college I "attended" makes about as much sense as George W. Bush bragging about having won the Vietnam War.

• I'd first pause for effect, as though the information I was about to disclose was Tibetan mountaintop wisdom. Then I would say, "THE Uni-VER-si-TEH of Southwestern LOO-siana, home of the Fightin' Prawns," as though I were talking about Harvard Law School and I were an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

3 You are an offensive tackle. You have eaten yourself up to 330 pounds, with a belly the size of one of those used-car-lot advertising blimps, which helpfully lowers your center of gravity but which makes it impossible for you to look down to see your own personal region. How would you carry yourself on the field?

• With some embarrassment. It would bother me that to get an "edge" in my chosen career I must literally distort my body into an unnatural and unhealthful state of corpulence; I would also fear that I might be subtly endorsing the lamentable American epidemic of obesity.

• With all the pride of the pregnant Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, carrying the heir to the British throne.

4 When interviewed by the news media after a game, how would you most likely express yourself?

• I would speak from my heart, trying to explain the thrills and disappointment of athletic competition plainly, in an honest way that people can understand and relate to their own lives.

• I would rely entirely on cliches, substituting for genuine observations those sports bromides that allow me to avoid ever having to think or engage another person in meaningful conversation. Ideally, this will include "taking it to the next level," "giving 110 percent," "controlling our own destiny," and of course, thanking the Lord for his having favored me, and not my opponent, in this game.

Scoring: I think you know.

© 2013 Washington Post Writers Group

Comments

President Trump isnít watching too much TV; itís just the wrong kind.

By JAMES PONIEWOZIKBecause President Donald Trump has said he is a reader ó big-league reader, reads documents, the best documents ó I hope that he is reading this, and not, say, watching a Fox & Friends recording on the gigantic flat-screen TV that ...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/14/17
PolitiFact: What you need to know about net neutrality

PolitiFact: What you need to know about net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commissionís vote to scrap Obama-era internet restrictions creates the potential for broadband providers like Frontier and Spectrum to divide their networks into fast lanes and slow lanes, throttle rivalsí video-streaming s...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Perspective: Sexual harassment training doesnít work, but some things do.

Many people are familiar with typical corporate training to prevent sexual harassment: clicking through a PowerPoint, checking a box that you read the employee handbook or attending a mandatory seminar at which someone lectures about harassment while...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/14/17

12Thatís how many cans of Diet Coke President Donald Trump drinks each day, according to the New York Times.3 timesThatís how much likelier farmed salmon are to be partially deaf than their wild relatives. Scientists at the University of Melbourne de...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Perspective: The year Santa Claus didnít come

Perspective: The year Santa Claus didnít come

The doctor studied the glob of puss oozing from the patchwork of scabs along my one-year-old sonís left index finger."Itís definitely infected. And you have no idea when or how it happened?"He didnít say it, but hereís what I heard next in my head: "...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Perspective: An economist explains how to sort facts from fictions

Perspective: An economist explains how to sort facts from fictions

In public debates about economic policy, it can be hard to separate real insights from political posturing. But a few simple rules of thumb can help.Start with information you can count on. Crucial economic statistics ó like the unemployment rate, in...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/14/17
News media offers consistently warped portrayals of black families, study finds

News media offers consistently warped portrayals of black families, study finds

If all you knew about black families was what national news outlets reported, you are likely to think African Americans are overwhelmingly poor, reliant on welfare, absentee fathers and criminals, despite what government data show, according to the r...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Perspective: Is the GOP tax plan an unprecedented windfall for the wealthy? We look at 50 years of data to find out.

Perspective: Is the GOP tax plan an unprecedented windfall for the wealthy? We look at 50 years of data to find out.

The Democrats say President Donald Trumpís tax cuts are a massive giveaway to the rich, the most unequal overhaul of the U.S. tax system in modern history. Republicans argue they are a huge middle class tax cut ó "a great, big, beautiful Christmas pr...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Perspective: Guilt can be good for your kid

Guilt can be a complicated element in the parent-child equation; we feel guilty, they feel guilty, we may make them feel guilty and then feel guilty about that. But certain kinds of guilt are a healthy part of child development.Tina Malti, a professo...
Published: 12/04/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Perspective: Why trying new things is so hard to do

Perspective: Why trying new things is so hard to do

By SENDHIL MULLAINATHANI drink a lot of Diet Coke: 2 liters a day, almost six cansí worth. Iím not proud of the habit, but I really like the taste of Diet Coke.As a frugal economist, Iím well aware that switching to a generic brand would save me mone...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/07/17