Black Quarterbacks

Bored with the football pregame shows this morning, I flipped over to Fox Sports Net and checked out an episode of Beyond the Glory that focused on Donovan McNabb. It was a really interesting biography, stretching all the way from his childhood through the most recent NFL season. When they got around to covering Rush Limbaugh’s controversial comments from last year, I got around to feeling agitated.

For the record, this is what Limbaugh said back in September 2003:

“I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well ... There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.”

Back then, I disagreed wholeheartedly with what Limbaugh had to say. But, I should also mention that I was equally dismayed when I found out that he’d been forced to quit because of his comments.

In the special, there was a good deal of attention paid to this idea that some in the media and in the world at large believed that black quarterbacks couldn’t do well. Donovan spent a good deal of time himself, trying to explain what a hurdle this was for him. It got me thinking about black quarterbacks in the National Football League. It got me thinking about which quarterbacks, black or white, I would consider among the best in the league.

The conclusion I came to was that three of the five men I’d judge as being at the top of the game are black. And, among the players at that position that I’d rank as the up-and-comers of the league, there was at least one more.

Aside from Donovan, who went 18 for 27 with a one touchdown during a Sunday afternoon victory which clinched for his team the league’s first playoff berth, you have Daunte Culpepper from the Minnesota Vikings, who helped his team soundly whup the Jacksonville Jaguars this afternoon, and crazy-ass, running all over the place and making every player on the opposing team look stupid Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons, who has his team in a position to be the second team to clinch a playoff birth next week.

There are only two white guys in my top five: New England’s Tom Brady and that record-breaking jackass from Indianapolis, Peyton Manning. Jacksonville’s Byron Leftwich is the black dude I’d rank among the premier up and comers.

The point of all this is that I’d say I have more respect for black quarterbacks than I do for white signal-callers. Maybe I’m in the minority here in the American viewing public, but from what I’ve seen these guys just flat out-perform their Caucasian counterparts on a week-to-week basis. That may be because they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. It may be that their just physically superior. Whatever it is, I don’t think that this condition Rush Limbaugh mentioned a year ago really exists. The media doesn’t need to desire that a black quarterback do well. They just need to turn on the tube each week and witness it.