The Black Quarterback is Here to Stay
Image via Getty Images
By: MJ Scott
For a long time, if you were black and wanted to play football at the highest level, your best shot to make it in the National Football League was to play any position except for quarterback.
The notion was that black players did not have the intellect to play QB at the highest level. These exceptional athletes would play quarterback in high school and immediately, once they got to college, coaches would change their position.
One of the most famous and more recent players to be put under the microscope was Lamar Jackson. Even though Jackson had just won the Heisman trophy, an award given to the country’s top college football player, there were coaches and analysts who thought he should switch his playing position to wide receiver.
When going through the draft process, former NFL Executive and now ESPN analyst, Bill Polian, said that Jackson was “too short”. However, Jackson is 6-foot-3 is above the average height for an NFL QB (NFL.com).
In many minority communities, there is a phrase stating, “We have to be twice as good to be given half a chance”. For the NFL, this means being twice as good as any other race.
Since 2013, 127 quarterbacks have been drafted into the NFL. 29 of the 127 quarterbacks drafted since 2013, were black. That is the lowest percentage of any position outside of kickers and punters. Of those 29 players, 14 of them were drafted in the 1st round compared to the non-black quarterbacks. The non-black rate is 20 out of 98 quarterbacks drafted since 2013.
From the data, you can concur that black quarterbacks have to show more “1st round talent” in order to get drafted compared to the other races.
In the 2022 season, many historic feats occurred pertaining to the black quarterback. 2022, was the first time in NFL history that the two starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl were black (Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts). These two also became the first black quarterbacks to finish first and second in the Most Valuable Player race.
Mahomes became the only black quarterback to ever win multiple MVPs in the NFL and joined Jim Brown as the only black player to win the award multiple times.
In the 2023 NFL Draft, three black quarterbacks were drafted in the first round. Not only that, but they were all selected in the top five overall picks which was another feat for black quarterbacks. Bryce Young was selected first overall, CJ Stroud was selected second overall and Anthony Richardson was selected fourth overall.
From Eldridge Dickey, the first black QB selected in the first round to Bryce Young, these men have had to battle through racism and stereotypes to live out their dreams of playing quarterback in the NFL. There are 14 black quarterbacks slated to start for a team in the 2023 NFL season which would be another record broken. It is safe to say, the black quarterback is here to stay.
Edited By: Kobe Scales, Sports Editor