Personality Traits That Matter Most In Football

football, american football, ball-1518040.jpg


In professional American football, what personality traits matter most? This is a question that has been debated for many years. Some people argue that players need to be aggressive and have a lot of energy. Others believe that players need to be intelligent and think on their feet.

Which personality traits are really the most important in professional American football? Let’s take a look at some of the research on this topic.

Why is Identifying Personality Traits Important to an NFL Team?

It’s not just important to know what personality traits matter most to answer who is most likely to be successful in professional American football. It’s also important because it helps NFL teams identify and develop players who could become stars on their team.

How Important are Aggression and Energy?

A recent study looked at this question. Researchers looked at college football players drafted into the NFL (National Football League). They found that personality traits such as aggression, competitiveness, and energy were significant predictors of success in professional American football.

This makes sense, as a sports team needs aggressive players who are ready to go out and give it their all. However, other traits may also be important.

How Important is Intelligence?

While aggression and energy are critical in professional American football, intelligence is also essential. For example, a study examined the personality characteristics of NFL quarterbacks. Researchers found that intelligence was related to success at the quarterback position.

In fact, more intelligent quarterbacks tended to have a higher winning percentage than other starting NFL quarterbacks. These findings are crucial because they show that being aggressive and energetic isn’t enough to succeed in a professional American football quarterback position.

What About Other Positions on the Field?

A study examined whether personality traits were related to success at other positions on the football field. In this study, researchers looked at linebackers and wide receivers.

They found that personality traits such as aggression, motivation to lead, trustworthiness, agreeableness, and emotional stability were related to success in these two positions. This seems reasonable. For example, a linebacker needs to be aggressive enough to want to go out and hit the opposing team’s players.

Personality By Position

The personality profiles of some positions on the football field may surprise you. Read below to see how aggressive and emotional stability are related to success at these positions.


The quarterback is, without question, the most critical position on the football field. When evaluating quarterbacks, which personality traits do NFL franchises look for? The answer might surprise you. Intelligence is most important, but research suggests that agreeableness and emotional stability may also be essential qualities in a quarterback.

Another trait that coaches can’t get enough of is competitiveness. While it might seem obvious that a quarterback should be competitive, there are levels to this. Coaches admire quarterbacks that hate to lose as much as they want to win. Being the team’s fulcrum, coaches say an excellent quarterback must be driven to succeed.

Another trait coaches must identify in any quarterback they’re eying is calmness under pressure. The best quarterbacks can remain composed in the face of a blitz or during a two-minute drill. They can see the big picture and stay focused on their next pass play rather than become rattled by an opponent’s aggression. This calmness serves them well when making pre-snap reads — another crucial trait for NFL quarterbacks.

Defensive End

The defensive end is another position on the football field that is very dependent on aggression. This player must have enough aggression to want to go out and hit opposing players hard throughout an entire game. He also needs the intelligence and emotional stability to play well with his teammates.


A linebacker’s aggression, strength, and intelligence are all important traits when determining who will have success in this position in the NFL. Linebackers need enough aggression to battle in the trenches. At the same time, they also need to be intelligent enough to properly execute their defensive schemes.

Finally, while important, raw strength isn’t enough to be a successful linebacker. A player must have all three personality traits to thrive at the professional level.

Wide Receiver

Being a wide receiver on a football team is never an easy task. There will always be tough matchups or even challenging personalities for you to go up against each week during the regular season. One trait that is important for a wide receiver to have is steadfastness.

This player must be able to make tough catches and fight through grueling play after grueling play during the course of an entire game. Coolness under pressure is also an important trait for any wide receiver trying to succeed professionally.

Significance of Personality Testing in the NFL

Coaches always look for high intelligence, aggression, strong, and competitive players. But sometimes, these coaches may look past some of the most talented players because they fail to understand why a prospect is so aggressive or competitive.

This is where personality testing can help coaches have more success evaluating prospects. Instead of trying to figure out their personalities through interviews, coaches can actually test these football players to better understand their various characters.

Getting into the mind of your competition may sound like something you’ve seen on an episode of CSI. Still, it’s also what NFL scouts are doing every year with thousands of prospects. Personality testing is gaining traction in professional sports because it helps franchises determine what makes players tick and if they will fit into specific team cultures. It’s a way for teams to get inside the mind of their competition.

With this information, the franchise can better predict how a player might interact with his teammates and perform on the field as an NFL player.


In closing, professional football players must possess a range of traits that go well beyond their physical skill sets. They need to be intelligent enough to know their schemes, aggressive enough to compete with the best in their sport, and calm enough to keep their emotions under control. If they aren’t, their chances of succeeding at the professional level go down exponentially.