Black quarterbacks

Considering the fact that there is a lot of black players in professional football, why do we rarely see black quarterbacks?

Given that professional football rarely (in fact, I believe the operative word here is “never”) converts a player from another position to quarterback, I’m afraid we’ll have to point towards the colleges on this one.

The pros care about winning games, and a pro coach that doesn’t collect the very best talent available - regardless of race - doesn’t remain a pro coach for long.

(For that matter, college coaches - at least those in the major college football powerhouses - are probably in the same boat. We may have to continue to move down the food chain to the high school level.)

As it happens, my beloved/behated Philadelphia Eagles had one of the early black Pro quarterbacks in the league - Randall Cunningham. I remember Howard Cosell pointing out during one of our games that that game was one of the first pro games ever where both of the starting quarterbacks were black. I’m afraid that I don’t remember either the name of the other team or its quarterback.

And as soon as last year’s rookie (from my beloved Syracuse Univ.) get’s back on track, they’ll have another great black quarterback.

I’ve heard this question many times. My question is- why the focus on quaterbacks? No one mmentions the lack of black kickers or punters.

. . . or hockey players.

Maybe there isn’t that many black quarterbacks because there is not many black players whose specialty is the quarterback position. If you are good at Quarterback, but better at running back, you would tend to focus more on running back. So it’s not that teams aren’t picking black qb’s, it’s that there is not many good black qb’s coming out of college.


“I say GOD DAMN!”

Or surfers.

I’ve personally introduced three black students to surfing. The one I’m still in touch with is still at it three years later. He’s pretty good, too.

I once heard a black stand up comic address this. Paraphrasing :

“You wanna know why there ain’t no brutha’s playin hockey? I’ll tell you why. What brutha, in his right mind, is gonna go somewhere where there’s 11 other white folks with sticks, and a surface he can’t run on?”

Funny stuff.

At least I thought so.

Mojo, the emphasis on quarterbacks is because that is perceived as a position of power on football teams. He’s the guy who is calling the shots - when he’s not taking his direction from the sidelines.

Thus the question is an offhand way of asking if there is a racial conspiracy to keep the power in the hands of the white man and suppress the blacks by keeping the quarterback position in the hands of the white man and keep the blacks as runningbacks, receivers, linemen, jugglers, trapeze artists,… er, something like that.

  • guy who doesn’t follow sports
    (not implying that was zeenard’s reason for asking the question)

Irishman- true. It is usually asked along with the “why is there a lack of black head coaches?” question- which is harder to defend with the likes of Buddy Ryan, Rich Kotite, Sam Wyche, Dave Shula, etc…( yeah, I know most of em haven’t held a head coaching position in a while) consistently getting hired even with subpar winning percentages.

The answer to the OP:
a) that black quarterbacks are becoming more and more predominant. Alkilai Smith (sp?), Kordell Stewart, Steve McNair, Jeff Blake, are some of the more recent black quarterbacks in the NFL.

b) Consider their source- from watching televised college football games, it seems that the percentage of black QBs in Div I college is about the same as in pros.

Mouthbreather- I think I saw the same guy. He went on to say that bowling was preferable- “With the big black ball knocking down the white pins with the red necks.”

Here is just an idea:

With quarterbacks, it’s not so much a matter of color, but region.

I think a disproportionate number of “great quarterbacks” come from Ohio/Western PA, not because the breeding ground is so fertile for quarterbacks, but because football is such a part of the culture.

Never having lived in that area, I can’t say that for sure, but I’ve always assumed that.

I think there’s no doubt there was some discrimination in the earlier days of football in not having blacks as the QB, the “field general.”

You are seeing more and more black QBs now, at the collegiate and pro levels. It will take a while for more racial balance at QB in the pros, because, like white quarterbacks, they have to be damn good to make it that far.

There are only 60 or so NFL quarterback spots available, so think about how good those people have to be.

(I know what you fellow Lions fans are thinking out there: “Then how do you explain Scott Mitchell?”)

The question I’d like to hear the NFL answer is, Why aren’t there more black NFL head coaches (three or four ever) or general managers (zippo)?


“Nothing is so firmly believed as what is least known” - Michel Gyquem de Montaigne

For a long time I battled with the thought no matter how good I became, I wouldn’t get a chance to play pro ball, because the NFL had that black quarterback syndrome. - From Doug Williams’ 1990 biography, ``Quarterblack’’

This guyseems to see a tangible presence of racisism in the NFL, but both his optimism and his logic is convincing:

  • Although there is a prejudice in the professional ranks against Black quarterbacks, many argue that the greater numbers of them in the National Football league draft will increase pressure to change the current, fearful attitude toward Black men in leadership roles. *

I should point out that there seems to be two basic kinds of quarterbacks out there. There are the stand in the pocket stalwarts, like Bradshaw, Fouts and Williams, and the dangerous breakaway types like Steve Young, Elway, and Cunningham. Notice that black quarterbacks fit quite nicely in that short list of great players.

I think this situation will improve greatly in the near future. Those of us who watched freshman Michael Vick combine the qualities of general, acrobat, and professional gambler to lead Virginia Tech within a wisp of the national championship this January know that genius knows no color boundaries. Smart pro coaches will pick up on that.

This one goes out to Milossarian, to quote:

“The question I’d like to hear the NFL answer is, Why aren’t there more black NFL head coaches (three or four ever) or general managers (zippo)?”

While not touching the GM topic, you may remember Jesse Jackson wrote a scathing note to the Packers when Ray Rhodes was fired about race possibly playing a factor. Rhodes, you’ll recall, went 8-8 this year.

Personally, I think that was hooey, but at the time I wanted to personally escort Jackson out of my state (Illinois) after the whole Decatur thing.

Anyway, I digress. Ray Rhodes was a coach, as is Dennis Green in Minnesota, Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay. Don’t forget Art Shell in Oakland, and the like.

In other words, I think mainly it’s ability. There have been black coaches and yes, the white coaches are more prevalent, but, in the end, the most talented person deserves the job, regardless of race.

That’s my ideal world, and I believe that the heads of state in pro football do NOT discriminate on their head coaches.

When people raise the issue of “why aren’t there more black quarterbacks,” the implication is that football coaches are rednecks and racists who think black men may have PHYSICAL gifts, but are “too dumb” to be quarterbacks.

Frankly, I don’t buy that, for two reasons. First, even the most racist of coaches are smart enough to read the handwriting on the wall, and aren’t crazy enough to shun quality black players, once it’s obvious that white players can’t get the job done (Bear Bryant wasn’t exactly Martin Luther King, but he knew it was better to win with an all-black team than to lose with an all-white team).

And second, the intelligence of NFL quarterbacks has long been overrated. Sure, a quarterback has to be reasonably bright, and has to be able to memorize a playbook and read defenses quickly. But let’s face it- Jim Kelly, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, Brett Favre and Drew Bledsoe have taken teams to the SUper Bowl, and none are exactly intellectual giants. Frankly, I don’t know that the average quarterback is any brainier than the average offensive lineman or free safety.

So, why were there so few black quarterbacks in the past, and why are there so many now? A BIG part of the reason is that the game is so much FASTER now than it was just 25 years ago. Twenty-five years ago, what teams looked for in a quarterback was height (preferably 6’4" or so) and a cannon for an arm. Speed was not considered important in a quarterback, so a player with outstanding speed was usually shifted to receiver or running back, where his speed would be more valuable.

Example: Marcus Allen and Calvin Hill were star quarterbacks in high school, but both were converted to running back in college. COULD they have been great QBs? Maybe… but we KNOW they were great running backs, so clearly their coaches made the right move.

Today, there is so much speed in the NFL at EVERY position! When I was a kid “pass rush” meant guys like Bob Lilly and ALex Karras. Today, even AVERAGE defensive linemen are 50 pounds heavier AND a lot faster than Lilly or Karras. TOss in swift outside linebackers, and you know what? THESE days, a 6’4", 225 quarterback who can’t run is a sitting duck!

Nowadays, speed is not a luxury in a quarterback, it’s a necessity. For that reason, you’re going to see more and more guys like Steve McNair, Akili Smith, Donovan McNabb, Randall Cunningham, Jeff Blake, etc.

As a Lions fan living in the 'Burgh, I could tell you all some stories. These people are crazy for football. The local channels carry half hour HIGH SCHOOL football shows at 11:30. And more coverage later on friday nites.
You can hear women talking about the Stillers in line at the grocery store(Giant Eagle). When Giant Eagle ran a promotion in Cleveland as the official whatever of the Browns, some people stopped shopping there.
I don’t mind at all. I love the NFL. And football is perfectly acceptable conversation in every social situation. Even in church. Plus I got to attend a home championship game which will never happen again in Detroit.
Western PA still produces more than its share of NFL quarterbacks. And not all of them are white. Charlie Batch is from Homestead(GO LIONS). But if anyone who wants to think the area isn’t STILL racist hasn’t been in the Mon valley lately!

peace

Or skiers.

Maybe this is a percentage thing?

How could this discussion go on this long with no mention of Warren Moon?

((((Beware: HOUMOUR REPLY)))
One has nothing to do with the other. The backs of quarters become black having nothing to do with professional football, except that some players may step all over the quarter left in the soil, and the baclside of the quarter (facing the soil) may get (black). I’m glad I could help resolve this for you.