By Stefan Anderson
After a 26 year drought between African American quarterbacks not being able to obtain a NFL Championship, the streak was broken as Russell Wilson led the Seattle Seahawks to the Lombardi Trophy in 2013. It ended the speculation and broke in a new generation of QB’s killing the stigma that black quarterbacks could not win it all.
“I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to”said Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton.
For the fourth season consecutively we have seen an African-American quarterback after Cam Newton dabbed his way to his first Super Bowl appearance. Also Newton is on his way to becoming the second black QB to secure a MVP trophy.
With Newton, Colin Kaepernick and Wilson all spearheading the new generation that denounces the statement that African-Americans can not the lead at the most challenging position in the league but also succeed. I never once thought that black quarterbacks couldn’t win it all but I pose more a different question. Does it depend more on what kind of personnel the team surround its leader with? Not as playmakers but a team as whole, how can one succeed if the defense cant kept the opposing team off of the the field.
It was shown in the past with players like Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb and even Randall Cunningham, if given the proper team it can surpass the odds.
Before falling short to the “Dirty Bird” Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship, Cunniningham was on his way to ending the old adage but it was talented defense that helped Minnesota reach that point. Minnesota during the season was 6th points allowed; holding opponents to 18.5 points a game. The 1998 Vikings had the potential to win over the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl especially with their offensive fire power.
McNair, led the Tennessee Titans to Super Bowl to face the greatest show on turf, the St. Louis Rams and was a Kevin Dyson arm short away from defeating the Rams. But if it wasn’t for that 15th ranked defense and the “Music City Miracle”, we may have never seen McNair on that stage.
McNabb in 2004, finally made it to the Super Bowl following man short coming in the NFC championship, were defeated by the New England Patriots. McNabb had was the general for the 8th ranked offense but Philly’s ability to hold opposing teams to 16.2 points per game helped the Eagles overcome the failures to close in NFC championship games.
In the past three years we have seen the same trend as the Seahawks and 49ers had top ranked defenses and Carolina continue with the current 6th ranked defense in the league. As with every great quarterback whether the race, if you don’t the right pieces it will never fit. It has been beautiful to witness these quarterbacks stand on the barriers of their predecessors and hopefully change the outlook for forthcoming quarterback coming into the league.