If nothing else, the way that Patrick Mahomes’ managed to win Super Bowl LIV should keep Black quarterbacks of the future from being forced into different positions in the NFL.
By Chris Murray
For the Philadelphia Sunday Sun and the Chris Murray Report
Throughout a lifetime of watching football-which dates back to the late 1960s, I wa
s always hoping for a time when African-Americans playing quarterback in the NFL would be seen as something so routine that we don’t really notice it.
My hope is that the way Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes led his team to victory in Super Bowl LIV finally gets us closer to that reality.
Mahomes, who was also named the game’s Most Valuable Player, brought his team all the way back from a 10-point deficit against a San Francisco 49ers defense that was first in the league against the pass and second overall in total yards allowed. For the game, Mahomes threw two touchdown passes and passed for 286 yards.
But that’s the way Mahomes had done it throughout the playoffs. The league’s MVP in 2018, brought the Chiefs back from double-digit deficits in all three of Kansas City’s postseason wins.
Mahomes becomes only the third Black quarterback to win the Super Bowl and the second to be named the game’s MVP.
But being named the MVP for the game for all of the NFL Marbles hasn’t kept past winners, like for example, former Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, from having to justify their existence despite having one the greatest performances in Super Bowl history.
Being one of the most prolific passers in the game didn’t keep Warren Moon, a with a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, from having to fight through doubts about his ability. It also didn’t keep former Philadelphia Eagle Randall Cunningham, the original mobile quarterback, from having to fight them either.
When guys like Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, and Vince Young came along, there were more than a few observers of the game who would devalue the ability of these guys by saying that they were more “athletic”, implying a lack of the intelligence necessary to stand in the pocket and read pro-level defenses.
I’m hoping that the success of African-American quarterbacks during the 2019 NFL season will lay waste to this mindset once and for all. This season, African-American quarterbacks have had an unprecedented run of success, not only in statistical categories but also in league honors.
For example, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, whose mother, Felicia Jones looks like a genius for not allowing anyone to make her son change positions in college or the NFL, elevated the quarterback position to another level. Bigger and faster than Michael Vick, Jackson wowed fans with his legs and his arm. He set an NFL rushing record for quarterbacks gaining 1,206 yards. He passed for 3,127 yards and threw a league-leading 36 touchdown passes, and won this year’s MVP award unanimously.
Even in a shocking loss to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, Jackson accumulated 508 yards of total offense-365 passing and 143 yards rushing.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was the best player on a losing team. He passed for 3, 722 and tossed 20 touchdown passes. He completed 64 percent of his passes. He also gained 544 yards on the ground with four touchdowns. For his efforts, Murray was 2019’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The common thread between Mahomes, Jackson, and Murray is that they are duel-threat quarterbacks who can run and pass. More than a few football experts are saying that the mobile dual-threat quarterback is the wave of future and that the standard drop-back passer is a thing of the past mainly because defensive players are just as fast as the players on offense.
Mahomes, Murray, and Jackson have proven that they can pass from the pocket, but they can use their legs to buy time and to make plays downfield in the passing game.
Outside of the aforementioned superstars, four Black quarterbacks, Jackson, Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston, Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Dallas’s Dak Prescott were among the top quarterbacks in touchdown passes. Winston and Prescott led the NFL in passing yards.
By the way, Wilson, Mahomes, Jackson, and Houston Texans quarterback Dashaun Watson led their teams into the playoffs.
The common denominator in the success of this current crew of Black quarterbacks is that you have coaches like the Baltimore Ravens’ John Harbaugh who have figured out that you have to gear your offensive scheme to what your player does best instead of trying to shoehorn into an offensive scheme that doesn’t fit your quarterback’s skill set.
With all the success of this current generation of Black quarterbacks and the success, I don’t want to hear any of you so-called draft experts or pundits overusing the term “athleticism” or telling him to switch positions.
It’s a bad stereotype, intellectually lazy and an insult.
Now that 2019 has proven that, do better!