The 40-yard dash. The agility tests. The weight lifting. The Wonderlic.
The NFL holds its scouting combine every year in Indianapolis. Each draft-eligible player is studied and prodded like cattle.
Achievement Metrics claims it can forecast whether college prospects are at greater risk for future off-field problems by dissecting their speech patterns from media interviews. Automated text analysis is conducted through a computer model that measures more than 100 different factors, including the use of individual words, adjectives and verb tenses.
So, when you hear a kid say, “Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy!”
That’s minus 3 points right there.
Hearing, “I like to give the opposition an offer they can’t refuse. Then I punk ‘em!”
That’s minus 5 points.
How do you measure the thuggeration of a player, anyway? Speech patterns, you say? Well, according to the article, no one picked up on Marshawn Lynch since they weren’t using this testing two years ago when he was drafted.
He’s been a poster child for problems and run-ins with the law.
How about Pacman (Call Me Adam) Jones?
Did someone miss him saying, “How am I funny? Funny how, [expletive]?!”
That would have been an immediate subtraction of 10 points.
These guys slipped through the cracks because there was no way to measure how they talked. No way to pick up on patterns in their speech.
From the company’s website:
Our Profiler Plus Text Coding Engine, together with our proprietary coding schemes, work to uncover critical information with a speed and accuracy impossible using manual techniques of the past. Social Science Automation’s clients are leveraging these data-driven insights in the following ways: Media and Brand Analysis with Perception Metrics; Media Analysis for Campaigns & Elections with Political Perception; Athlete Evaluation with Achievement Metrics and a variety of specific Government and Training Services are available to our clients.
Did I read that right? Political Perception? We could have been using this years ago to uncover corrupt politicians? Well, why didn’t you say so? Rob Blagojevich could have been outted long before the hair and the bull he’s selling appeared on Letterman?
To think of a day when there are no more Pacman Joneses or, dare I say, Rae Carruths is a wonderful thing. I’m sure that fans would like it and that Roger Goodell would be thrilled to not have to look like Mommy Dearest on steroids but it sure sounds like a utopia that just isn’t likely to me.
I have a suggestion – let’s give each player a labotomy and shock therapy. Or just let them wear shock collars. Each time they get near a night club with a gun in their sweat pants, we’ll shock the crap out of them!
Fighting dogs in your back yard? See how this 75 volts feels!! Throwing money up in the air in a strip club, idiot? Here’s 100 volts!
The NFL of the future. It looks like it’s already arrived.