In a time of constant uncertainty and change, the NFL is trending in the direction of black quarterbacks. A statement that would’ve been unheard of, 20 years ago. They’ve been playing the position for years, but the world has never seen it done like this before. Year after year it seemed like the NFL would achieve small milestones, but when Michael Vick was drafted first overall in the 2001 draft class it opened the door for others to follow.
At the start of week one, ten black QBs started, the most in one week in NFL history. Seven of these ten players are also Pro Bowlers. In week two, they set the record for most matchups between starting black quarterbacks.
This position used to be trademarked by players like Joe Montana and Dan Marino, by standing in the pocket and carving up defenses. However, this style of play is outdated and teams look for more mobile options. The norm is having a quarterback that can throw for 200 yards and scramble to extend plays.
Players like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are changing the position. Not only can they make smart decisions in the pocket, but they can also scramble to extend the play or simply run to pick up more yards. The threats they pose can cause defensive coordinators to lose sleep the night before. Defending this type of dual-threat puts a serious strain on defenses. The league saw some flashes of this with Michael Vick and Cam Newton years ago when they were breaking numerous rushing records.
With The Black Lives Matter movement picking up steam all summer, and in a league that was hesitant to support it, this shows tremendous growth in the fight for equality. Draft scouts used to suggest that black quarterbacks should change positions because they wouldn’t be successful in the NFL, saying things like they’re more suited for a cornerback or wide receiver. Decisions like this stopped a lot of talented athletes from pursuing their dreams. After Lamar Jackson proved to his critics that he was fit to play the position and not running back, those comments have ceased. Kyler Murray also had to hear things like he was too small to play the position, but now in his second year, he’s won offensive rookie of the year and led his team to a 2-0 start.
Seeing this many black quarterbacks in the league gives hope to future generations. When given the opportunity, blacks can succeed just as well as whites. Coaches and front offices also recognize this, so they build their offenses around the mobility of their quarterbacks to help them win.