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Quizzing the Fitz

Harvard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick '05
Harvard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick '05
By Brian A. Campos, Crimson Staff Writer

Buffalo Bills and former Harvard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick ’05 has enjoyed quite a bit of attention recently for leading a perennially underachieving team to an unblemished 3-0 record. After Fitzy’s heroics against the Patriots, ESPN named the former Crimson star as the top player in this week’s Cross-Sport Power Rankings.

That was just one of several ESPN features on Fitzpatrick in recent weeks. Another that has grabbed the attention of many (including our very own Greg Mankiw) was an interview with Fitzy during ESPN’s NFL Sunday Countdown.

Rachel Nichols sat down with Fitzpatrick to talk about what everyone else talks to Fitzpatrick about: what it means to play in the NFL without having come from Auburn, LSU, Florida, etc. Instead of letting this bit be like the hundreds of interviews that discuss how hard it is for a Harvard man to throw a football, the segment added a new twist.

Find out after the jump!

A smiling Nichols surprised the Bills quarterback with a quiz on economics—Fitzpatrick’s concentration at Harvard. After closing his eyes and regretting his decision to sit down, the Harvard man coolly answered the two questions Nichols asked him—though he stalled a little with a Rex Ryan story in order to come up with Keynes.

Pretty funny of ESPN to pop quiz Fitzpatrick, huh? Well, though the idea and humor came from the network’s writing staff, the questions did not. ESPN reached out to the Harvard Economics department to come up with a series of basic questions for the show to ask Fitzpatrick. The task of coming up with these multiple-choice questions fell to David Johnson, Head Teaching Fellow for the wildly popular Harvard course Ec10 (no wonder Mankiw liked it so much).

Johnson gladly put together a quick, five-question exam to test how much Fitzpatrick retained from Mankiw’s course. Here’s the original pop quiz (courtesy of Mr. Johnson):

1. Who is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in the U.S.?

a. Timothy F. Geithner

b. Lawrence H. Summers

c. Ben S. Bernanke

d. Muammar Gaddafi

2. "QE2" refers to:

a. A type of expansionary monetary policy used recently in the U.S. because short-term interest rates were already zero.

b. A type of expansionary fiscal policy used to bail out failing investment banks on Wall Street.

c. The code name for the so-called "Buffett Tax" the President has included as a part of his deficit reduction plan.

d. A big ship on which tea is served at 4 p.m. daily.

3. Who was famous for saying, "In the long run, we're all dead."?

a. Milton Friedman

b. John Maynard Keynes (pronounced "canes" as in "rains" OR U of Miami's team NOT "keens" as in "jeans")

c. Adam Smith

d. Rex Ryan

4. The total value of goods and services produced in the U.S. last year (U.S. GDP) was approximately:

a. $14.5 trillion

b. $14.5 billion

c. $14.5 million

d. $14.50

5. Even WITHOUT a contract extension (which is imminent, no?!?), which of the following represents your (Ryan's) average U.S. federal tax rate?

a. 14.1%

b. 18.9%

c. 22.5%

d. 28.2%

According to the show’s producer, Zac Budman, Fitzpatrick “did well,” though no word on what his final score was. If Fitzy’s Wonderlic performance is any indication, then the Harvard man probably missed just one question. In any case, we should stop doubting Fitzpatrick’s intelligence, as should the rest of the world, especially ESPN. The man got a near-perfect SAT score, for crying out loud.

P.S.: Here are the answers for those of you who didn’t pay enough attention to Mankiw ...

1. C

2. A

3. B

4. A

5. D

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