Joe Burrow is Toast

By Ron Wolforth- 


Have you ever had a day/ week/ month that no matter how many good things you do, somehow the world at large will poo poo on your parade and give you reasons why, contrary to recent events, you personally are doomed to mediocrity?


I think we can all relate to that experience multiple times in our lives.


It appears much of the world is cynical, pessimistic, skeptical and arrogantly believes their personal perspective and brilliant insight are somehow more accurate than those other delusional ‘blue sky’ optimists.


Well, just know you are not alone. Apparently the geniuses of data and analytics of the NFL combine have just uncovered a shocking truth about Heisman award winner Joe Borrow. It seems Joe has really small hands and apparently no one in NFL history has ever succeeded with the hands the size of Joe Burrow.


There it is folks. Game. Set. Match.


Joe is toast.


Forget that Joe put together, by many accounts, the single greatest season for a QB in NCAA history.


His hands are simply too small to succeed in the NFL.


Get that?


This is the type of thing I find incredibly offensive as our sports inevitably move to number crunching and decision making dominated by analysts. We SHOULD use data and numbers. They give us vital information. However, if given too much power, here is where these number jockeys often become poisonous and out of control.


To make my point, let me share with you an incredibly instructive story told by Malcomb Gladwell in his recent book, Talking to Strangers.


A few years ago, a team of psychologists led by Emily Pronin gave a group of people a word completion test. Psychologists use this exercise primarily to test such things as memory.  Dr. Pronin wanted to use it to test something else.


The list involves words structured something like this:


GL _ _

TOU _ _


You simply fill in the rest.


So, for example you could have answered, among other things,  GLUM or GLAD and TOUGH or TOUCH.


What Dr. Pronin wanted to investigate was how well the words that people came up with coordinated with the way people actually saw themselves and perceived the world.


In other words, did optimistic people come up with GLAD and pessimistic people respond instead with GLUM? Did sensitive people come up with TOUCH and colder personality types respond with TOUGH?


After the test, Dr. Pronin asked each individual privately if they felt the words they chose were an accurate depiction of their personality.


Overwhelmingly the testers said the words did NOT accurately depict their personality, they felt they just came up with random words that entered their minds. In fact here are some of the comments:


“These word completions don’t seem to reveal much about me at all…they are just random completions.”


“Some of the words I wrote seem to be the antithesis of how I view the world.”


Further research indicated that indeed their instincts were correct. The test had no correlation with personality. However, what happened next was the primary purpose of Dr. Pronin’s experiment and it is breathtaking and instructive.


Dr. Pronin then gave the group other peoples’ word completions. These completions were finished by complete strangers. She then asked them, ‘What do you think their answers reveal about their personality?


Keep in mind they JUST finished saying that their answers revealed NOTHING about their personality.


But this time, the group COMPLETELY changed their minds.


The exact same person who said moments before, “These word completions don’t seem to reveal much about me at all…they are just random completions.”, turned around and said this of a perfect stranger. ‘I think this girl is on her period…I also think that she either feels she or someone else is in a dishonest sexual relationship because she used the words SLOT, WHORE, CHEAT.”


Wow. Just Wow.


And now you know why I hit arrogance, humility and empathy so hard throughout my discussions.


Knowing that fact, should we then be at least a little skeptical on the conclusions made by analysts and number jockeys?


Darn Skippy.


Primarily because a vast majority of them do not doubt their own infallibility.


I don’t know if Joe Burrow will become the next Tom Brady or the next Ryan Leaf but I’m pretty certain his eventual place will not be dictated solely or even primarily by the size of his hands.


So when the world rolls their eyes at your accomplishments just remember Dr. Ponin’s little experiment. The world collectively really doesn’t know Jack.


Carry on.


Until next time, stay curious and keep fighting the good fight.


Coach Wolforth  


– – – – – – – – – – – – – –


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