We need to talk about the importance of two black quarterbacks in the Super Bowl.
For so long, black quarterbacks weren’t even given the chance to sink or swim in their chosen position. And in a way that’s still true because I’m sitting here talking about the best of the best. One of them, Jalen Hurts, was asked at the NFL combine just a few years ago if he would consider switching positions, and articles were written about him saying that switching positions was the only way he would make an impact in the NFL. .
Now it is true that often a white quarterback makes the transition from college to the NFL. Julian Edelman did it. I had a teammate in Jacksonville do that. Matt Jones: And we all remember Tim Tebow getting charitable reps at tight end last year.
And I’ll admit that I spent the first two years of Josh Allen’s career calling him a running back. I got a lot of pushback on that. And while this was one of the rare times I was wrong, it was interesting to see the mostly white fans feel their feelings about my mischaracterization of Allen’s abilities. Now if I can only get them to connect that the emotion they felt in defense of Josh Allen is something we have to go through almost every time because people continue to not see the athleticism of someone with dark skin. Lamar Jackson. Justin Fields. Jalen Hurts. The list goes on.
Jalen Hurts vs. Patrick Mahomes is another highlight going forward, but it doesn’t always have to be about excellence. The real equation seems to be the black middle linebacker who has five interceptions per half and is still in the league four years later. But I digress.
Now, none of this is to say that black quarterbacks can’t be criticized. I interviewed Jalen Hurts and his father, Averion, and even they will tell you that it took a lot of progress as a passer to get the Eagles offense to where it is today. And that brings me to the part of being a black quarterback that doesn’t get talked about. the energy and resources invested in developing young black men as transfers instead of coaches relying on these players to “coach” their way to victories. . A big part of development is patience. Maybe the biggest part.
There is no Peyton Manning without the patience to pull off his record 28th rookie season. And before you tell yourself that Peyton Manning is the one, let me hit you with this interesting statistic:
Since Peyton Manning’s rookie season, there have been eight quarterbacks who came into the NFL as rookies and threw at least 18 interceptions in their first year. On one side of that stat, you have Carson Palmer, Matt Stafford, Andrew Luck and Mark Sanchez. They’ve each been given plenty of chances to figure it out. On the other hand, you have DeShone Kizer, Josh Freeman and Geno Smith. Kizer did not start a game after his rookie season. Freeman was out of the league at age 27, thanks in large part to Greg Schiano, and Geno Smith had to wait six years to prove himself again after being waived by the Jets. If you’re a highly rated black QB who comes in and struggles early, you might as well enter the league at age 29, which was the only white QB on this list who didn’t. long chain to prove himself.
Shout out to Chris Weinke!.
Look at the JETS and Zach Wilson and all the “we don’t give up on him” speak.
As a quarterback parent, I want my sons to absorb all the lessons this Super Bowl has to offer. I want them to understand that development is important to the logo on the side of the helmet, and I want them to appreciate coaches and organizations that show patience. Neither the Chiefs nor the Eagles put the full weight of their franchise on these guys as rookies.
More than anything, I just want my sons to see two black quarterbacks on the field, because for most of us, seeing is believing.
I’ve had a black teammate tell me they prefer white quarterbacks for the simple reason that he hasn’t seen enough successful black quarterbacks.
If we think that way in our own communities, it goes a long way to explaining how people who are not in our community see what we are capable of.
But on Sunday, a hundred million people are going to see something new. And that means a good portion of them are going to believe something new.
And faith is the beginning of change.
So for every father of black boys out there. For every football coach of any race.
Let *this* to sink
As an aside, I want to Shaq Harris, Marlin Briscoe, Doug Williams, Fritz Pollard, George Taliaferro, Willie Thrower, Charlie Brackins, Warren Moon, Rodney Peet, Mike Vick, Randall Cunningham and all the other black quarterbacks who made this historic moment happen. : it’s possible.