The NFL is no stranger to controversy and this issue is not a new one.
But, what is a legit reason why the NFL today only has five black quarterbacks that start on a regular basis? Some would say that the talent is just not there. Others may say why are you bringing race into sports again? Well, sorry to bring up race in sports, but you must admit that this conversation is an interesting one to dissect and analyze.
The five black quarterbacks that start on a regular basis are Jameis Winston, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott and Tyrod Taylor.
Now, all of these quarterbacks are talented and can change the outcome of a game. If someone is an impact player, then should that person's race be brought up? I do not believe it should, if you can lead your team to a Super Bowl win. I do not think many will care if that quarterback is black or white. The issue is that many teams, historically, have not given black quarterbacks the opportunities to either start, play or given a spot on the roster.
Now, I know that there are have been successful black quarterbacks in the past.
For example, Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Randall Cunningham and Warren Moon are all considered to be the best of the best in terms of black quarterbacks. With these men being outstanding players, we can't forgot that having seen evidence of blacks being successful in the NFL, there has consistently been a shortage. I am not saying that football is a segregated sport because that is far from the truth.
Blacks are the majority athletes in Division I football. Why I think that the NFL seems to discriminate and not give blacks as much an opportunity at the quarterback position is because of the common style black quarterbacks play. I would even go as far to say that this style is common throughout college football today. That style is the duel-threat quarterback, one that can run and threw the ball efficiently.
This style is a mobile pocket passer.
An example is Michael Vick to the fullest. These type of quarterbacks relay both on their legs and their throwing arm. This style is seen throughout the best college football teams in the nation today. Jalen Hurts at Alabama, Kelly Bryant at Clemson and even Heisman hopeful Baker Mayfield at Oklahoma play this way.
The NFL is stuck in the era of pure pocket passers like Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees. While it is the norm and almost required of quarterbacks at the college level to have the ability to runaway from trouble if need be. It has yet to truly transition to the professional level.
The reasoning behind the lack of black quarterbacks is because the majority of black quarterbacks play the mobile pocket passer. Cam Newton at Auburn was a running quarterback with a rocket arm. He had to transition from that type to a more traditional style and he has done it pretty well.
Unfortunately, that transition has hurt many potential players to transcend from just a college star to an NFL star. An example is Robert Griffin III. He won the NFL Rookie of the Year in 2012. He was a great quarterback who would outrun defenders and throw the ball down the field.
He was seen as the second coming of Michael Vick in his prime. But, injuries the following season hurt RG3 that derailed his career. This showed how mobile quarterbacks were not going to be able to survive in the NFL.
It is possible for black quarterbacks to change their styles, but what if they didn't have to? I think we would see the rise of great black quarterbacks like Deshaun Watson, come into the fold. The risk is too much though. A franchise quarterback should be able to be efficient for at least eight to ten years.
But, if you continuely get banged up from tackles then your style of play would be looked down upon. Also, another reason is because the NFL is made up of players in their 20s to their late 30s. Not everyone is able to keep up with the fast pace style of mobile pocket passers.
It would be foolish to not mention that sometimes race can play a part in a black quarterback not starting. That is a reality we have seen in the past and it will not go away soon. But, I think that ideal is few in numbers because it is a given that a coach, an owner would want a Tom Brady instead of a Kelly Bryant type player. Brady is in his late 30s and whether you love him or hate him.
You have to admit, the guy knows how to win consistently and stay healthy. I do not want people to continually play the race card for the shortage of black quarterbacks in the NFL. I believe we can see an increase if the style of play in the NFL changes. Until then, we just have to patient and enjoy football no matter who is at the helm, whether they be black or white.