The first black quarterback to play in a Super Bowl was Doug Williams.
The year was 1988, and it was Super Bowl XXII. The game was a blowout: Washington Washington Football Team 42, Denver Broncos 10.
Williams, who was the starting QB for the Washington Football Team, scorched John Elway and his Broncos, collecting 340 yards and four touchdowns.
Zero black quarterbacks have won a Super Bowl since.
Since that 1987-88 season, three black QBs have played in America’s most watched event: Kordell Stewart in Super Bowl XXX; Steve McNair, who came up a yard short in Super Bowl XXXIV; and Donovan McNabb, who was beaten by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.
This Sunday will see a new addition to that small fraternity: San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick, who is bi-racial, will play Baltimore Ravens’ all-American white boy QB, Joe Flacco.
The media has played up the Harbaugh Bowl story (the coaches for the two teams, Jim and John Harbaugh, are brothers) but the QB battle and it’s symbolism is the more fascinating story.
It’s a battle of old school vs. new school.
Joe Flacco is a good ol’ fashioned gunslinger who’s from the same cloth as Brett Favre. He’s a not-so-accurate pocket passer that someone like deceased Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis would have overpaid.
Kaepernick’s strength, on the other hand, comes in his versatility. He can run and pass at the same efficient clip. In this year’s playoffs, he ran for 181 yards against the Green Bay Packers, then, a week later, he shredded Atlanta Falcons for 233 yards passing.
He’s a guy who plays out the Pistol Formation, an offense that no defensive coordinator has figured out yet. Because of it’s structure, it’s an offense where you have to be a great passer and a fast, strong and athletic dude.
If we’re keeping it a hunna: in sports, being “athletic” is just code for black. While white athletes get hit with tags like “crafty,” “smart” and posed.”
Folks, the days of the “crafty” and “poised” QBs are coming to an end.
I believe that over the next 10 to 20 years we will see the skin color of our QBs shift from white to black. GMs, coaches and owners aren’t going to want an Eli Manning or a Tom Brady (just regular pocket passers.)
They’re going to want Eli Manning mixed with Michael Vick, a player who could play the pocket and move if he has to.
Being that African Americans are just a more athletic breed, black kids are going to have the advantages; it wouldn’t surprise me if by 2030 the QB position looks like the wide receiver position.
It will be an amazing shift considering how milky the QB possession has been.
For years black QBs have been treated like second-class citizens in the NFL. When Doug Williams was in his prime, he was easily the lowest paid QB in the league and future hall of famer Donovan McNabb was undermined by teammates (most notably Terrell Owens) and later by his coaches.
We are watching the NFL make the transition that the NBA made in the 60s and 70s, and it’s beautiful to watch guys like Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick become the Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Julius Erving and Magic Johnson of the NFL.
This Sunday over 100 million people will watch to see if Kaepernick will become the second black QB to win a Super Bowl. Will he win? I’m not sure.
It doesn’t matter much. There’ll always be next year.
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