Rick Reilly of ESPN is a fan of giving tests to professional athletes. He spent quite a long time on the trail of Sammy Sosa in a futile effort to get him to take a steroid test while Sosa was slugging homers for the Chicago Cubs, and that experience appears to have caused him to aim a little lower. He got hold of a quiz that the Cowboys make their cheerleaders pass before they can join the squad and gave it to 12 Cowboys to see how they did.
Surprisingly enough, the players didn't do very well on a test that asked them to name lean proteins, the governor of Texas and a country that borders Iraq. Why Reilly thinks players who devote every waking hour of their week to football would be fountains of knowledge on those three topics isn't clear, but the players weren't so sharp when it came to questions about the Cowboys either.
Q: Name the two ex-Cowboys quarterbacks in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ho-ho! It's like combining the Jay Leno skit where he asks ordinary civilians questions about the government with the Wonderlic test given at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Seriously, though, who cares whether or not Watkins, born in 1982, knows the list of players who came before him with the Cowboys? Do you think Reilly knows who was the MVP of ESPN's intramural flag football league in 1993? He probably doesn't, although he really should know that the late Tom Mees had a right arm touched by the gods.
Reilly seems dumbstruck by this fact that Cowboys players have one job and one job only. They are paid to win football games, and they have enough trouble with that whether or not they know that Namath never played for the Cowboys. Maybe its stupid that the cheerleaders need to pass a general knowledge test to get their job, but you can at least see how doing personal appearances, USO tours and the like might make having a familiarity with certain topics useful. For the players, not so much unless more beat writers start asking for historical context when finding out how a groin strain is healing.
Not that Reilly cares about the fact that there's no reason why players not knowing the answers to these questions matter. His only point is to try and get some cheap laughs through the notion that football players are dumb, something he could only prove if there was evidence that doing really well in a bar trivia competition got you something other than a free round of beers.