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Does Justin Fields have a photographic memory?

Joshua Rogers September 26, 2021
Chicago Bears v Los Angeles Rams
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The quarterback is starting in his first NFL game in Week 3, replacing the injured Andy Dalton. Ahead of the game against the Browns, an interview with one of the rookie’s old coaches mentioned the young star’s memory. So, does Justin Fields have a photographic memory?

Fields makes first NFL start in Week 3

Rookie Justin Fields made his first start for the Chicago Bears in Week 3.

The quarterback was given the green light to start against the Cleveland Browns with veteran Andy Dalton sidelined because of a left knee injury.

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Fields was selected as the no.11 pick in the draft, and has only shown glimpses of his potential through his first two games.

He featured in the Bears’ 20-17 win over Cincinnati, but only completed six of 13 passes for 60 yards. He also threw an interception late in the game that led to a touchdown.

Dalton is expected to return to the starting lineup when he’s back from injury.

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

NFL features leads to speculation QB has a photographic memory

Ahead of his first start in the league, NFL.com spoke to well-regarded QB trainer Quincy Avery.

Avery has worked with Fields since he was in high school, and one interesting thing cropped up.

“In 11th grade, we get this Elite 11 playbook full of NFL concepts,” Avery says.

“And Justin basically taught it to himself. A week and a half later, he had memorized it front to back and could run things both ways. He could flip the formation. He knew the protections for each concept… and I’d never seen someone so young be able to do that. And he’s only elevated that.”

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

So, does Justin Fields actually have a photographic memory?

Photographic memory, or eidetic memory, is the ability to recall an image from memory with high precision for a brief period after seeing it only once.

However, as Scientific American writes ‘the accuracy of many eidetic images is far from perfect’ – despite popular thought.

SA writes: ‘The vast majority of the people who have been identified as possessing eidetic imagery are children.

‘The prevalence estimates of the ability among preadolescents range from about 2 percent to 10 percent.

‘With a few notable exceptions, however, most research has shown that virtually no adults seem to possess the ability to form eidetic images.’

So while it is possible Justin Fields could have a photographic memory, it is highly unlikely.

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.