Mar 25, 2009

Matthew Stafford says: Analyze This

So there's some story going around now about how the San Fransisco 49ers, in evaluating Matthew Stafford for the NFL draft, had a psychologist interview him and ask him some interesting questions. One question in particular had Stafford a little bit annoyed.

According to an update on Sports (which is the most legitimate source I could find), the psychologist asked Stafford about his parents' divorce (which happened while he was in high school) and how it has affected him. The San Fransisco Chronicle reports:

"According to Stafford, the psychologist told him as if it sounded like he had "unfinished business" concerning the divorce. Stafford said no, and then said he felt if he should be wondering how much he was being charged by hour for the psychoanalysis."

49ers Coach Mike Singletary commented that maybe since the divorce issue bothered Stafford so much that he might not "belong" on the team. What?
I assume that after grilling Stafford on personal issues, the psychologist also taunted him with this picture and called him names.

Here's my take on this situation:

On one hand, I understand what the team was trying to do by basically testing Stafford to see how he responds to stress or how he deals with difficult situations. It could almost be stretched to compare to the decision making a quarterback faces on the field. Let's imagine that instead of being asked about your parents' divorce, a 250 pound defensive end is barreling toward you with a thirst for quarterback blood.

Tell me 'bout your parents' divorce now! And give me ball please.

So you have to think quickly and make a decision. Do you:
1. Just answer the question politely (throw the ball away as you know you're about to get eaten alive and don't want to screw up)


2. Get annoyed and make a sarcastic/rude comment (try to throw the ball before getting hit, even though there are no open receivers and thus you will perhaps throw an interception)

Like I said before, this is a pretty big stretch to connect the interview to an actual game-time situation, but I can see where they're coming from. They also obviously don't want to deal with any emotionally unstable players who could be problems in the future by committing crimes, making it rain, or shooting themselves in the thigh.

But still, should a team really put much (if any) stock in the usefulness of having a psychological interview with a top caliber player for the draft? It honestly sounds to me like Stafford was just a little annoyed about being psychoanalyzed about personal issues for a job playing football. This is a response I would expect from most people, and so should the 49ers organization.

Imagine if you were applying for a job and instead of asking you about yourself, your ambitions, weaknesses, and so on they instead asked you about a family issue that happened years ago. You probably wouldn't be so comfortable either.

It may have served Stafford's best interests to play nice in the interview, but I don't see how the 49ers coach's opinion on Stafford will change anything about his future or draft status.

But hey, if the 49ers master plan is to bother potential players and then act like they don't want them anyway, then so be it. Everyone likes a little game of "hard to get" right?


  1. Find a better source before you say he was rude. He was never rude. His response to the question about having unfinished business was a simple 'no.'

    You can find the original article at

  2. Regardless, asking Stafford to comment on something that is none of his busniess (or the 49ers business, either) is ridiculus. The guy is the best QB coming out this year, scores a 38 on the Wonderlik, has everything needed to become an excellent pro QB, and this is the best question about "leadership under stress" that the 49er rocket scientists can come up with? It is not the answer that concerns me most, it the stupidity of those who are evaluating him as a pro prospect with asinine questioning that have no bearing on his onfield leadership abilities.

    With luck, maybe his answer disqualified him from consideration. If he plays for a west coast team, we'll never get to see him play here Florida. I think he would be an excellent prospect for the Jax Jags - both on the field and in ticket sales.

  3. According to the info we've got,

    "According to Stafford, the psychologist told him as if it sounded like he had "unfinished business" concerning the divorce. Stafford said no, and then said he felt if he should be wondering how much he was being charged by hour for the psychoanalysis."

    Call it whatever you want. But I'm siding with Stafford on this one anyway. I think he acted like most anyone would.

  4. This basically makes Mike Singletary look like a jerk. I appreciate teams not wanting to make a $30M mistake and set the franchise back 10 years, but this is crossing the line. Because a guy thinks your line of questioning is over the line and he calls you on it doesn't mean that he doesn't want to be there or isn't deserving of the billing as a top QB. All it means is you asked a question that has no bearing on how he will perform on the field. My parents got divorced when I was in grade school. My current employer sure as heck didn't ask me about it and it hasn't seemed to affect my performance. The bottom line is that the question should have never been asked because personal items like that are none of the team's business.

  5. Singletary is a hyocrite. He never answers negative questions concerning the 49ers or his coaching. Good luck with Alex Smith as your QB!