Marquist Parker Sports Editor
This NFL season is winding down and teams already have their eyes toward postseason seeding. This year has given us so many storylines, good and bad alike, that have made this season memorable. One storyline that has flown under the radar is that we are witnessing the shattering of stereotypes right in front of our eyes. The Undefeated coined the phrase “The Year of the Black Quarterback” to explain the reimagining of what a franchise quarterback looks like. This isn’t the first year that a Black quarterback has been successful, Cam Newton and Patrick have both won league MVP this decade, and QBs like Michael Vick, Randall Cunningham, and Warren Moon were all great in their respective eras. The reason why this year has been so important is because we have never seen this many Black QBs positioned as the face of franchises before, as of this season there are about five: Wilson, Mahomes, Jackson, Prescott, Watson.
If we judge how good an offense is by the amount of points and yards racked up by a team than we are truly in a renaissance. The rankings for total yards as of week 13 is dominated by these African American signal callers: The top five of Dallas, Baltimore, Seattle, Kansas City, and Tampa Bay are all teams with Black Quarterbacks according to ESPN. When you go to total points, it’s not as pronounced, but there are some familiar names. Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens, Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs, Jameis Winston’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks. How have these had so much culture-changing success? Let’s go through them:
Lamar Jackson- Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens’ star is the most dynamic and electric football player walking the Earth right now. While that statement sounds like hyperbole, watching one half of a Lamar Jackson game will have you convinced of it. Lamar looks to be the MVP frontrunner through 12 weeks and he cements his case with every jaw- dropping play. This isn’t just about Lamar as an individual, he’s leading his team to early success. Baltimore brings a 10-2 record and an eight-game win streak to Buffalo in week 13. Lamar Jackson has thrown for more than 2,500 yards and run for 977 already this year. He completes 67 percent of his passes with 25 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He’s run for seven touchdowns also. But the numbers don’t tell the story. Jackson’s combination of size (6-2, 212) and speed have made him the NFL’s top playmaker in just his second season. It’s clear that the Lamar is a tremendous talent, only time will tell if he can prove his star in the playoffs.
Russell Wilson-Seattle Seahawks: When it comes to proving your star in the playoffs, look no further than Russell Wilson. The Super Bowl winning QB has been one of the best players at his position for years, and this season has been his masterpiece. Through 12 weeks Wilson has 3,177 yards, 29 total touchdowns, and a quarterback rating (QBR) of 111.1. As with Jackson, Wilson’s individual brilliance has led to wins for Seattle. The Seahawks are sitting at 10-2 and in second place in the NFC with an eye towards a first-round bye. Russell Wilson’s steady play gives Seattle hope that they can win it all.
Patrick Mahomes- Kansas City Chiefs: The reigning MVP in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes looks to be a generational talent. While Mahomes hasn’t been able to reach the ridiculous standard set by his previous season when he won the MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, and joined Peyton Manning as only the second player in NFL history to reach both 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns through the air in a single season. Of course, Manning hit those marks in his 15th NFL season, and Mahomes did it before making his 18th start. While this season is a “down year” of sorts, he’s still on pace for 4,596 yards and 32 scores in his second full NFL season, but his career 112.5 passer rating is easily highest in league history. There’s little doubt that he is the league’s best player. Honorable Mentions: There are other Black QBs out there redefining the position and putting up amazing numbers. Even though he is injured right now, I would be remised if I didn’t mention Superman: Cam Newton. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton won the NFL MVP Award after leading his team to a 15-1 record. Newton, who also won the 2011 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Houston’s Deshaun Watson has been a revelation for a team that has been deprived of elite quarterback play for most of the 2000’s. He is the only player in NFL history to reach 8,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards before making his 32nd NFL start. those throws. Watson’s career 104.3 passer rating trails only Mahomes’ for best in league history. Players like Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Dak Prescott, and Jameis Winston all could ascend to the top of the QB pyramid in upcoming years.