Jan 8, 2014

Black Quarterbacks: Mind Over Matter in the NFL

On August 28, 2013, the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and focused on the progress African Americans have made since the 1960s. Nearly 50 years ago, in 1967, there were no African-Americans at the quarterback position in the NFL. Despite years of racial bias and segregation which prevented African Americans from leading teams on the football field, times changed. Last season, five African Americans started as quarterbacks. 

On September 5, 2013, The Grio’s Todd Johnson brought to our attention that nine African-Americans were scheduled to start at the position of quarterback,  more than at any other time in NFL history. The League is asking more of quarterbacks than ever before, but these guys are up to the challenge:
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins; Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks; Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders; Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers; EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills; Geno Smith, New York Jets;
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles; Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers; Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 Doug Williams told NFL.com‘s Steve Wyche last year that attitudes surrounding African-Americans playing quarterback in the NFL has changed “tremendously” compared to his time in the league.

In 1988, Williams became the first African-American to start as quarterback in the Super Bowl. He also became the first to win one, leading the Washington Redskins over the Denver Broncos and earning Super Bowl MVP honors.

As you listen to sportscasters, you'll see that Black quarterbacks are most often praised for their athletic abilities or physical gifts rather than for their brains, accuracy, efficiency or leadership abilities. Stefen Lovelace wrote an interesting opinion piece for the Grio on how Black quarterbacks are changing preceptions in the NFL.

It's an uphill battle to win a spot on any NFL team, but particularly difficult to capture the QB position. It goes without saying that you need special abilities to not only win, but also maintain every spot, but particularly that of the highly visible quarterback.

As of January 5, there are eight teams fighting for a spot on the field for Super Bowl XLVIII: AFC-Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, and San Deigo Chargers ; NFC- Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco Forty Niners, and New Orleans Saints. The plot thickens and the fans are fully vested in the outcomes. Good luck to the remaining teams.

Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and San Francisco Forty Niners advanced in their leagues and will play in the final round to determine which teams will face off in Super Bowl XLVIII.



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