The quarterback is the most influential player in a National Football League (NFL) game. Their play determines the outcome of the game. For the longest time, the position was given to white players, but black players have proven they can handle the pressure that comes with it. From Patrick Mahomes to Lamar Jackson, who are the other black quarterbacks in the NFL?
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Donovan McNabb starts our list of the black quarterbacks in the NFL. Although never won the Super Bowl, he recorded some amazing numbers. He made over 37,000 passing yards and was the fourth quarterback to cross the 30,000 mark. McNabb also registered over 3,400 rushing yards and 29 trucking touchdowns.
The quarterback played for the Philadelphia Eagles for most of his career. The team drafted him in 1999 and played for them until 2009. He then joined the Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings.
McNabb made it to the six Pro Bowl teams. After his retirement in 2013, the Philadelphia Eagles inducted him into the Hall of Fame and retired his number 5 shirt.
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Lamar Jackson is another black quarterback in the NFL. He proved his doubters wrong after hesitations of him playing as a quarterback. In his second season, Jackson was named the Most Valuable Player in the league.
He made 36 touchdowns, 1206 rushing yards, and 3,127 passing yards. After this season, he scored over 1,000 rushing yards and was the only quarterback to achieve this in multiple seasons.
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There’s no discussing black quarterbacks in the NFL without mentioning Patrick Mahomes. He’s regarded as the greatest player in his position and his list of achievements justifies this.
At 28, the quarterback has already won two Super Bowl titles (2019 & 2022) and was the Most Valuable Player on both occasions. The Texas native has also made it into the Pro Bowl team five times.
As far as his stats are concerned, Mahomes has over 26,000 passing yards and over 3,000 passing attempts. The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Mahomes’ into the NFL in 2017 as a first-round 10th pick and is the only team he’s played for.
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You can’t talk about black quarterbacks in the NFL without looking at Randall Cunningham. He started his career at the Philadelphia Eagles during the 1985 NFL draft.
He then joined the Minnesota Vikings and later represented the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens.
Cunningham made over 4,900 rushing yards and ranked fourth in all-time yards made in the league. He also made over 29,000 passing yards and 35 rushing touchdowns. The quarterback didn’t win the Super Bowl but received recognition in other areas.
After suffering an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury in 1991, his successful return earned him the NFL Comeback Player of the Year the following year.
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His form might have dipped in recent seasons, but Russell Wilson is one of the most successful black quarterbacks in the NFL. During his time with the Seattle Seahawks, he made it into eight playoffs and won one. Wilson has made it into the Pro Bowl team nine times. In 2020, he won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, and in 2022, won the Bart Starr Award.
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McNair began his NFL career as the highest-rated African-American quarterback after the Tennessee Titans signed him to a seven-year contract. He spent most of his career with the team where he established himself as one of the best black quarterbacks in the NFL.
In 2003, McNair won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and was also the passer rating leader. He made it into the Pro Bowl team thrice (2000, 2003 & 2005).
The player recorded over 31,000 passing yards and over 3,500 rushing yards. For his achievements, McNair was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2020.
The rise in black quarterbacks in the NFL will likely continue. The stereotypes about their perceived lack of leadership and abilities have been disproved by the ones listed above. They’ve shown that black football players are just as good, if not better. Who’s your favorite?
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