The end of an already historic NFL season is just a few weeks away. It began with a record 11 Black men starting at the quarterback position (we ranked each one based on their swagger). Now, as we embark on the conference championships on Sunday, we’re anticipating the possibility of something truly groundbreaking: If the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Cincinnati Bengals and the Philadelphia Eagles best the San Francisco 49ers, we’d likely witness two starting Black quarterbacks (Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, respectively) facing off in the Super Bowl for the first time in the league’s 57-year history. Needless to say, we're rooting for everybody Black!
This is a huge deal because football executives and coaches have long believed a racist fallacy that the quarterback position is too complex for the Black mind. A number of players like Warren Moon and Randall Cunningham have paved the way and proved this premise bunk, but that stigma has followed Black quarterback throughout history. Even perennial MVP candidate Lamar Jackson was asked to switch positions by an unnamed team before the Baltimore Ravens selected him with the final pick of the 2018 draft’s first round.
In 2003, Steve McNair (who came one-yard short of an NFL championship in 2000) became the first Black quarterback to win a regular season MVP award, sharing it with Peyton Manning. In 1988, Doug Williams became the first Black quarterback to not just start in a Super Bowl, but also win one and earn that game’s MVP award.
A handful of men have followed in their footsteps, but not many. Only seven different Black quarterbacks have played in nine separate Super Bowl contests: Williams, McNair, Mahomes (twice), Russell Wilson (twice), Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, and Donovan McNabb. Four Black quarterbacks have won the league’s MVP award: McNair, Mahomes, Newton, Jackson. This year, the two most likely winners are either Mahomes or Hurts—if they end up sharing the award would be an added dose of history making.
Two Black quarterbacks starting in the same Super Bowl, the crown jewel of the sport, should not only put to rest all of that bulljive about Black quarterbacks not being smart enough for the position but dance on its grave, too. Straight up A-Town stomp on it. It’s one of the NFL’s last color lines to break. Yes, we need more head coaches in the sport (while it still exists, at least) but hell, even in 2007 two Black coaches (Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy) squared off on Super Sunday.
This weekend, make like Issa and put some positive energy in the air for the Black men running their respective offenses. And shall Mahomes and Hurts both advance to the Super Bowl, may the best, most swaggered man win.
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