The closer you are to the ball, the higher your score

Friday, July 25th, 2008

The closer you are to the ball, the higher your score on the Wonderlic IQ test. Ben Fry decided to illustrate this:

Wonderlic himself says that basically, the scores decrease as you move further away from the ball, which is interesting but unsurprising. It’s sort of obvious that a quarterback needs to be on the smarter side, but I was curious to see what this actually looked like. Using this table as a guide, I then grabbed this diagram from Wikipedia showing a typical formation in a football game. I cleaned up the design of the diagram a bit and replaced the positions with their scores….To make the diagram a bit clearer, I scaled each position based on its score….With the proportion, I no longer need the numbers, so I’ve switched back to using the initials for each position’s title:

I’m odd enough that this was one of my first questions:

Don’t tell Tufte that I’ve used the radius, not the proportional area, of the circle as the value for each ellipse! A cardinal sin that I’m using in this case to improve proportion and clarify a point.

(Hat tip to Alex Tabarrok.)

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