LOS ANGELES — Pat McInally never tires of reminders that he is the only NFL prospect to record a perfect score on the Wonderlic intelligence test.
"It's intellectual annuity," he says.
The Harvard-educated McInally, in fact, has gained far greater distinction from acing the Wonderlic in advance of the 1975 NFL draft than he did from playing 10 seasons as a punter and wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Further eclipsing his playing career, McInally in retirement conceived a line of action figures that were sculpted and painted to resemble specific pro football and baseball players.
The series of tiny plastic figures, called Starting Lineup, made him rich enough that he no longer had to work.
"That," McInally says, "and California real estate."
McInally, 57, is still buying and selling.
He is an avid collector whose unique holdings have included original handwritten Beatles and Bob Dylan lyrics; Beatrix Potter's own copy of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit"; and a copy of Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Saw There" that had belonged to Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Carroll's two "Alice in Wonderland" books.
And he has returned to football.
Last month, after three years coaching the team's receivers, McInally took over as the unpaid head coach at Huntington Beach Brethren Christian, where son Jack, 16, is a freshman quarterback and daughter Abby, 13, is an eighth-grader.
"He's obviously knowledgeable in the game," Athletic Director Jon Bahnsen says, "and he makes the kids think things through, explaining why they're doing what they're doing."
In all likelihood, none of McInally's players has ever met anyone quite like their eclectic new coach, who played beach volleyball during his NFL off-seasons, loves anything related to "Winnie the Pooh" and for years wrote a nationally syndicated sports column called "Pat Answers for Kids."
As McInally's admiring former agent, Leigh Steinberg, notes via email, "They broke the mold with Pat."
The 6-foot-7 McInally, a prep football and basketball star, applied to Harvard only after his mother suggested he do so and, once he got there, intended to play basketball.
He only went out for football, he says, "because I didn't know anyone and figured it would be a good way to meet people."
As a junior he finished second in the nation in receiving and as a senior he was an All-American, Harvard's first in 30 years.
"That was pretty freaky," he says of his All-American recognition. "My mom's always said that was my greatest accomplishment because the likelihood of it was so small."
Before the draft, McInally was introduced to the Wonderlic, which NFL teams were just starting to rely on to evaluate prospects' intelligence. The test lasts 12 minutes and consists of 50 questions, each more difficult than the one before it.
McInally answered them all correctly.
"It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime thing," he says. "I could probably take it 100 more times and never do it again."