The NFL and Black Quarterbacks

Van Everyman

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I found this article in the NY Daily News on my Facebook feed -- it was initially in response to the Josh McCown-Ryan Fitzpatrick Suck Bowl from a few weeks back, the ludicrous Taylor-for-Peterman benching and, of course, Kaepernick. Basically, the theme of the article is that terrible white quarterbacks get way more chances to prove themselves than black quarterbacks for no good reason.

There's some questionable stuff (such as the idea that Geno Smith wasn't terrible) and no mention of the fact that Michael Vick made it back and had a number of chances. But there's also some interesting rundowns of how black QBs with the same pedigree as white QBs get run out of the league while their counterparts (Glennon, Osweiler, Bradford) get enormous--and entirely unwarranted--deals.

Some tidbits:

White QBs are viewed a lot like real estate. They're not judged as the house they are, but the house that they can become. They can get three, four or five seasons of losing while getting nurtured, developed, new coaches, new supporting weapons, and new systems by new offensive coordinators with new ideas willing to maximize their skill-set.

"Black Blake Bortles" does not exist. The NFL is just not going to give you three years to work out some kinks until Leonard Fournette and the NFL's #1 defense arrives. If a Black QB is not a high 1st-round pick, they rarely ever even get two. Perform or go home.
Black veteran QB's do not get Carson or Cutler type of faith or even a Kerry Collins or Matt Hasselbeck who started games at 39 and 40 years old, respectfully. No matter how accomplished (see Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick), the NFL has no use for Black QBs past 35 in much of any capacity. Perform like you were 28 or go home.
No NFL coach has tested and experimented with more white hopes than head coach Bill O'Brien who has started Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, Case Keenum, Brian Hoyer, T.J. Yates, Brandon Weeden, Osweiler, and Tom Savage in only three years. O'Brien basically white-hoped-out himself into drafting DeShaun Watson. Good move.
There are some other things worth noting in here -- such as the idea that Jeff Fisher may have been responsible for Vince Young being run out of the league, tho it's not clear if it was just because he was a terrible coach as opposed to a terrible racist coach. And I wonder whether Bob "Inmates Running the Prison" McNair might've had more to do with Houston's issues than O'Brien.

What say SoSH? Do the numbers back this up?
 

dbn

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What say SoSH? Do the numbers back this up?
If you/anyone are/is willing to gather some data - maybe QBR or something as a function of age, split by race (maybe excluding or flagging QBs that ended their career ended due to injury as opposed to disinterest from teams) - I'd be happy to do an quick analysis of the numbers.

edit: then again, just looking at those numbers would tell the story without much analysis, so the gathering is almost all the work....
 

moondog80

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Black veteran QB's do not get Carson or Cutler type of faith or even a Kerry Collins or Matt Hasselbeck who started games at 39 and 40 years old, respectfully. No matter how accomplished (see Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick), the NFL has no use for Black QBs past 35 in much of any capacity. Perform like you were 28 or go home.
Warren Moon was a starter at age 42 and a backup for two seasons after that. Randall Cunningham was in the league until he was 38.
 

HurstSoGood

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Wasn't this covered in The Le'veon Bell Curve?

Looking at Tyrod Taylor: He was 9th in QBR last year and the Bills had the best rushing offense in the league. He played through a sports hernia. WR1 Sammy Watkins was hurt a lot. Rex Ryan was fired before the last game. The Bills organization took those results and changed the offense to a "West Coast" style for 2017 (http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/21251222/the-great-debate-buffalo-bills-quarterback-tyrod-taylor). Taylor restructured his contract for the team. Watkins leaves. Anquan Boldin arrives and retires.

Bills fan says "he (Taylor) hasn't done anything for us the last couple years. I prefer Peterman." Charles Murray would be proud.

Also:
-Josh McCown is a professional back-up QB who was once replaced by Daunte Culpepper. He is serviceably terrible.
-Ryan Fitzmagic is a Wunderlich Wunderkind. He played for a lot of bad teams and his fortunes seemed to be tied to the hiring and firing of coaches throughout his career.

Lastly: Colin Kaepernick is good enough to be competing for a starting job on some crappy, injury-riddled NFL team. There are worse QB's in the league right now. However, the NFL is a business and right now, Colin Kaepernick is simply bad for business.
 

snowmanny

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QUOTE: "Black Blake Bortles" does not exist. The NFL is just not going to give you three years to work out some kinks until Leonard Fournette and the NFL's #1 defense arrives. If a Black QB is not a high 1st-round pick, they rarely ever even get two. Perform or go home.

There may be some truth to all of this but what does this paragraph mean? Bortles was the third pick so why are they comparing his treatment to a "not a high first round pick?" The only plausible comparison I can think of is JaMarcus Russell, who was way worse and out of shape and still started 25 games or something.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Before drafting Bortles the Jags let David Garrard start 76 games.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that black QBs are discriminated against. But the idea that every black QB has to produce immediately or get tossed aside is demonstrably false.
 

scottyno

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Before drafting Bortles the Jags let David Garrard start 76 games.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that black QBs are discriminated against. But the idea that every black QB has to produce immediately or get tossed aside is demonstrably false.
And before they had Leftwich as a mediocre qb for 4 years (who then lasted another 5 years over 3 teams as a bad backup)
 

BillMuellerFanClub

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Kordell Stewart had a 10-year NFL career with just one good (97) and one above average season (01). Though him being replaced by Maddox in '02 may make this a push.
 

dynomite

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Before drafting Bortles the Jags let David Garrard start 76 games.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that black QBs are discriminated against. But the idea that every black QB has to produce immediately or get tossed aside is demonstrably false.
Good post.

This spring the Undefeated posted a deeply researched long-form article about this exact topic, using as its jumping off point the fact that Christian McCaffery was the first white tailback selected in the 1st round since the 1970s. I’d recommend anyone interested in this topic give it at least a skim.

It even includes a slide bar that lets you see the racial breakdown by position from 1999-2014.

https://theundefeated.com/features/the-nfls-racial-divide/

In short, in a league where 70% of players are black, only 5 out of 32 starting QBs (15.6%) going into 2017 were black. In and of itself that discrepancy is powerful evidence of the dilemma.

And note that it’s not just at QB where racial disparity is obvious. 99.4% of CBs are black. Yes. 99.4%. And while offensive tackles and guards are roughly 50/50, usually about 80% of centers are white.

The Whys are complicated, fascinating, and upsetting. But it’s an interesting topic, and an interesting use of sports to shed light on larger cultural and socio-economic trends.

... and if you’re looking for an update on Jason Seahorn, you’re in luck.
 

Kliq

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The chart in the Undefeated story is only up to 2014 and seems to only list starting players. I feel like there are a lot more white WRs than there were when I was growing up. Circa 2004 I feel like there was Tim Dwight, Wayne Cherbet Kevin Curtis, Brandon Stokely and Drew Bennett. Now I fee like every team has at least one white guy, although so many of them are slot receivers that maybe they are not listed as “starters” according to the data. I think the proliferation of Wes Welker May have opened the door to the Cole Beasleys and Cooper Kupp’s of the world.
 

ALiveH

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If this was a real thing Belichick should have figured out how to arbitrage it by now.
 

SumnerH

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If this was a real thing Belichick should have figured out how to arbitrage it by now.
I dunno. Even if black QBs are undervalued, you only really have one slot available; if you stumble into (or find through skill) a Tom Brady, you're not really going to be able to try to leverage that inefficiency.
 

Reverend

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I dunno. Even if black QBs are undervalued, you only really have one slot available; if you stumble into (or find through skill) a Tom Brady, you're not really going to be able to try to leverage that inefficiency.
You could carry an extra QB for a season...
 

Oppo

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Josh Freeman started 59 games for the Bucs even though he was terrible the last 2.25 years then bounced around with a couple other teams.
 

Toe Nash

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By the time a player gets to the NFL, teams are so desperate for QBs that I don't think there is much discrimination. You simply don't have the luxury to overlook a guy who can play, aside from Kaepernick who is being purposefully ignored for a different reason.

Where I think the discrimination likely happens is in high school and college (or maybe earlier). You have a black athlete who could probably play any position well and a high school team puts him at WR or CB because they think he can't learn the playbook or make quick decisions or something. Then he loses the reps he would need to really develop as a QB, and by the time he gets to college and beyond there's no going back.

I don't know if this still happens in great numbers, but that would be the place to look.
 

Saints Rest

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I think Toe is on to it — that the discrimination based on race starts well before the NFL. The NFL depends on a certain type of QB style, and unfortunately by the time players get to the NFL, their style is ingrained into them too deeply to change. An NFL team wants their QB to throw accurately all over the field; they want them to scramble only to keep a play alive.
Colleges and high schools want their QB to do whatever will get the ball in the end zone. If you can run well at those levels, you likely can run better than those kids around you and thus you rely on your legs more than your arm.
The discrimination at the NFL level is more about style of play than color of skin. But the style of play may, as Toe suggests, been inculcated at earlier levels such that a running QB (of any color) can’t adjust once he hits the NFL
 

Bosoxen

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Had a long post all typed up expanding on @Toe Nash's point but @Saints Rest beat me to it. So I'll dump most of it to say that I agree that's the issue, not that Ryan Fitzpatrick still has a job.

But I'll take it just a slight step further and say that the phenomenon we're seeing in the NFL is a numbers game. There are simply more white QBs in the NFL, which is why journeyman QBs have a tendency to be predominantly white. That's not to say there isn't a race issue, just that it starts well before the NFL gets involved. The pool of black NFL quality QBs is miniscule, meaning a Byron Leftwich type of career is a major outlier.

The treatment of Collin Kaepernick is probably a different issue but it will be lumped in with it. That may or may not be race related but it is most definitely a bad mark on the NFL and they have lost the benefit of the doubt.
 

Ralphwiggum

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I think I am saying the same thing as the last few posts, but journeyman QBs last so long in the league because it's a really hard position to play. The NFL can't find 32 guys to play it well, never mind 64 so that every team has a competent backup. So, if you are a Ryan Fitzpatrick or Brian Hoyer and you have proven that you might at least be OK for short periods of time if pressed into duty, you are going to be able to hang around the league for a long, long time. The issue is why among fringe NFL QBs who are not good enough to be starters that there isn't a racial mix that looks more like the rest of the league, and I agree that is an issue that the NFL inherits from college, high school and junior football leagues.

That said, while Kaepernick's situation is clearly different, the reaction to his situation, and the other kneeling players, by a large, core group of NFL fans speaks to a dynamic in the fanbase that I think is unique to the NFL among the four major US sports (or at least more apparent). It would be stupid to think that the owners don't know who they are selling their product to, and that this doesn't come into play at least a little when it comes to decisions like, is Nathan Peterman really going to be better than Tyrod Taylor for a team trying to get into the playoffs for the first time since 1999. I'm not saying that decision was necessarily 100% motivated by race, but man it is fishy as hell.
 

NortheasternPJ

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I think Toe is on to it — that the discrimination based on race starts well before the NFL. The NFL depends on a certain type of QB style, and unfortunately by the time players get to the NFL, their style is ingrained into them too deeply to change. An NFL team wants their QB to throw accurately all over the field; they want them to scramble only to keep a play alive.
Colleges and high schools want their QB to do whatever will get the ball in the end zone. If you can run well at those levels, you likely can run better than those kids around you and thus you rely on your legs more than your arm.
The discrimination at the NFL level is more about style of play than color of skin. But the style of play may, as Toe suggests, been inculcated at earlier levels such that a running QB (of any color) can’t adjust once he hits the NFL
I agree with a lot of it. Your entire post could also be applied to Tim Tebow, who obviously isn't black. Guy could run well, in college ran all over the place, won a ton, then when he got to the NFL he got exposed and couldn't throw accurately. He was run out of the league pretty quickly for a 1st rounder pick (justified or not) and isn't hanging around as a backup because of his playing style. He was also a complete distraction, which plays into the Kaep situation as well.
 

moondog80

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I agree with a lot of it. Your entire post could also be applied to Tim Tebow, who obviously isn't black. Guy could run well, in college ran all over the place, won a ton, then when he got to the NFL he got exposed and couldn't throw accurately. He was run out of the league pretty quickly for a 1st rounder pick (justified or not) and isn't hanging around as a backup because of his playing style. He was also a complete distraction, which plays into the Kaep situation as well.

Eric Crouch and Matt Jones (both white guys) were college stars at QB who got moved to other positions in the NFL for style-of-play reasons.
 

Dick Drago

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Some great points. I agree HS and earlier is where there's an issue. If you have Jacoby Brisset and Tom Brady as incoming freshmen, you'd probably move the better athlete to a different position and keep the more limited athlete at QB.
 

ALiveH

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I agree it is probably a function of early training and early-years biases, because at the NFL level, though biases still exist the incentives are to win at almost all costs. It is mostly a brutally pragmatic league. I was half-joking about the Belichick arbitrage, but I think there might be something to it going the other way. He's always had a penchant for undervalued white guys at traditionally black positions, e.g., RB (going back to Woodhead) and WR (Welker, Edelman, Dola, etc). In Edelman's case, he converted a white QB into a great great WR. He even had black Woody as starting Center on two SB winners (even though Woody couldn't snap shotgun to save his life).
 

wiffleballhero

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In the simulacrum
I dunno, real estate (and thus the geographic areas dictating rosters from Pop Warner through high school) is itself pretty segregated in the first place. I'd want to see some data on this idea before taking it as a truism. Also, at lower levels, where the field plays bigger and the QBs can't throw as well and the plays fall apart all the time anyway, isn't there a premium on having your best athlete at QB?

Another possibility -- and the bigger football nerds here I am sure will correct me if I am wrong -- is that QB is not just a really hard position to play, but it is a uniquely hard position to evaluate and a uniquely hard position to evaluate in the context of making a change. There is almost no other position in sports where there is no good opportunity for a back-up to get meaningful playing time (soccer goalies maybe?). Bench players in baseball get AB or they get ABs in the minors, etc. and even back-up goalies in hockey are in a rotation.

QB is unique and different in terms of play and thus assessment. I'd guess that teams have really poor data on other teams' back-ups and sub-optimal data on their own back-ups. Also, QBs are really situationally dependent. I am not saying that Aaron Rodgers would be Chad Pennington had things gone differently, but I am saying that Matt Cassel's highest QBR being with NE is not an accident either.

The up-shot of this then is that all the biases, bigotries and unconscious ideologies operant in the culture have more power in evaluating QBs than they do in evaluating other sports or other positions because it is fundamentally less of a clear meritocracy just to get game reps, especially because pre-season 'dominance' by a back-up on that 'even playing field' puts a ton of pressure on the coaches if they make a change. There is bias to keep the former starter. If the old starter fails, it is that QBs fault, if the new QB fails it is on the coaches.
 

mt8thsw9th

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Eric Crouch and Matt Jones (both white guys) were college stars at QB who got moved to other positions in the NFL for style-of-play reasons.
Just to clarify, but Eric Crouch (and Jones to a lesser extent) was horrendously awful at throwing the football. Style is a reason (the option obviously isn't really a thing in the NFL), but ability is another. He was a star that happened to play QB, but he couldn't throw to save his own life.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Seems like there is a good number of black QBs in the NFL right now who will have long careers: Cam, Russell, Winston, Dak, and Taylor. Then there are players like Hundely, Kizer and Brissett who are starting but the jury is still out on them.

Watson and Bridgewater are injured.

EJ Manuel and Landry Jones being multiple years backup QB is one example against the article. Note that Geno Smith is still employed (NYG).

I'm sure I missed a few but it seems a long cry from 10 years ago.
 

singaporesoxfan

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I agree with a lot of it. Your entire post could also be applied to Tim Tebow, who obviously isn't black. Guy could run well, in college ran all over the place, won a ton, then when he got to the NFL he got exposed and couldn't throw accurately. He was run out of the league pretty quickly for a 1st rounder pick (justified or not) and isn't hanging around as a backup because of his playing style. He was also a complete distraction, which plays into the Kaep situation as well.
It was all the kneeling Tebow did.
 

NYCSox

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Seems like there is a good number of black QBs in the NFL right now who will have long careers: Cam, Russell, Winston, Dak, and Taylor. Then there are players like Hundely, Kizer and Brissett who are starting but the jury is still out on them.

Watson and Bridgewater are injured.

EJ Manuel and Landry Jones being multiple years backup QB is one example against the article. Note that Geno Smith is still employed (NYG).

I'm sure I missed a few but it seems a long cry from 10 years ago.
I'm guessing you meant Cardale Jones?
 

InstaFace

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You could carry an extra QB for a season...
No way, you mean like, Belichick would carry a black QB he thought the league under-valued - say, someone who could start on an otherwise-terrible team, take great care of the ball to the tune of a 1.5% INT%, and even win a couple games? Or who could start against a playoff team on 3 days' notice, and run a simplified offense to perfection and a decisive, shutout win?

Would never happen. If you want to find a coach who'll use the QB position to exploit market inefficiencies, look for someone who's got the balls to carry 4 QBs on the roster for a season. You'll never find one.
 

lexrageorge

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The author loses a lot of credibility with the examples he missed (noted above) as well as claiming that Geno Smith was having a good half season.

Also, Vince Young's final season with the Eagles:

6 appearances, 3 starts, 114 pass attempts, 4 TD's, 9 INT's, 8 sacks, 4.16 adjusted net yards per attempt.
 

Al Zarilla

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Some great points. I agree HS and earlier is where there's an issue. If you have Jacoby Brisset and Tom Brady as incoming freshmen, you'd probably move the better athlete to a different position and keep the more limited athlete at QB.
I think Tom moved up the depth chart ahead of Damon Huard before the 2001 season (and maybe even ahead of Bledsoe but BB didn’t want to bench the franchise QB for an unproven guy) because of his leadership, fire, those kind of intangibles. Peyton, Favre, Brees seem(ed) to have the same qualities. What black QBs can we say have shown up with the great leadership quality? Wilson. Cam. Dak? Or, maybe football coaches and evaluators haven’t been looking for it in them enough. I don’t know.

On Saturday, a lot of the top teams the last few years have starting black quarterbacks. Whither they go? Or is it their superior running ability fits in great in the college game but is not wanted in the pros?
 

Ralphwiggum

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I think Tom moved up the depth chart ahead of Damon Huard before the 2001 season (and maybe even ahead of Bledsoe but BB didn’t want to bench the franchise QB for an unproven guy) because of his leadership, fire, those kind of intangibles. Peyton, Favre, Brees seem(ed) to have the same qualities. What black QBs can we say have shown up with the great leadership quality? Wilson. Cam. Dak? Or, maybe football coaches and evaluators haven’t been looking for it in them enough. I don’t know.
Not picking on you, but to the extent NFL talent people are evaluating QBs on things like leadership qualities and other intangibles, that is exactly where you would expect bias (both conscious and unconscious) to play a role.
 

Saints Rest

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I think I am saying the same thing as the last few posts, but journeyman QBs last so long in the league because it's a really hard position to play. The NFL can't find 32 guys to play it well, never mind 64 so that every team has a competent backup. So, if you are a Ryan Fitzpatrick or Brian Hoyer and you have proven that you might at least be OK for short periods of time if pressed into duty, you are going to be able to hang around the league for a long, long time. The issue is why among fringe NFL QBs who are not good enough to be starters that there isn't a racial mix that looks more like the rest of the league, and I agree that is an issue that the NFL inherits from college, high school and junior football leagues.

That said, while Kaepernick's situation is clearly different, the reaction to his situation, and the other kneeling players, by a large, core group of NFL fans speaks to a dynamic in the fanbase that I think is unique to the NFL among the four major US sports (or at least more apparent). It would be stupid to think that the owners don't know who they are selling their product to, and that this doesn't come into play at least a little when it comes to decisions like, is Nathan Peterman really going to be better than Tyrod Taylor for a team trying to get into the playoffs for the first time since 1999. I'm not saying that decision was necessarily 100% motivated by race, but man it is fishy as hell.
I think the bolded part is where this discussion (not just here, but elsewhere, goes awry). If you are going to opine that a league is racist, then you need to compare those apples (racial mix of NFL QBs) to other apples (racial mix of NCAA QBs), and even that isn't exactly a good comparison as noted above. As has been noted above, the racial mix at different positions varies wildly and none of them match up with the racial mix of the non-NFL populations (be that All Pro Athletes or All People).

This gets into delicate areas where the mixes seem to suggest racial stereotypes (e.g. CBs and WRs need to be fast so they are black; centers need to be smart, so they are white). These mixes may indeed be racially driven, but my bet is that by the time you get to the NFL, it is too hard to overcome the multiple years of training that have already been put in by all these athletes, regardless of race, to change those positions.

If you really wanted to open up a can of worms, you would consider the limited numbers (compared to the larger population) of NFL players of Asian or Hispanic races. Again, my sense is that those small numbers are driven by the fact that few Asians or Hispanics are playing at HS or college, but then the question is WHY is that?
 

Super Nomario

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I think Tom moved up the depth chart ahead of Damon Huard before the 2001 season (and maybe even ahead of Bledsoe but BB didn’t want to bench the franchise QB for an unproven guy) because of his leadership, fire, those kind of intangibles. Peyton, Favre, Brees seem(ed) to have the same qualities. What black QBs can we say have shown up with the great leadership quality? Wilson. Cam. Dak? Or, maybe football coaches and evaluators haven’t been looking for it in them enough. I don’t know.
I think the issue is the black Tom Bradys and Drew Breeses are weeded out (moved to other position or sports) at a young age because they don't have great physical tools (Manning and Favre were different animals). Guys like Cam Newton and Michael Vick with big arms get to stick, but there's no black Kyle Orton or Ryan Fitzpatrick or Kellen Moore. Kinda like how you'll see black pitchers who throw 97 but not black junkballers throwing 88. If coaches / scouts are comparing players to past players, past racism manifests itself in the present, because the antecedents aren't there for all the physical prototypes. You especially see this in the backups where teams are often looking for smart vets with meh physical tools. It's not that black QBs aren't smart, it's that they aren't allowed to be QBs if they have meh physical tools.

I think there's a class thing going on, too. A lot of athletes generally come from underprivileged backgrounds, but QBs seem to predominantly come from middle class families (and a good amount are legacies). That colors how coaches and executives expect them to behave; it also gives them the resources to go to QB camps or get private coaching, etc. I don't think it's an accident that the first black QB you mention with "white-style" leadership - Russell Wilson - grew up middle class (and even he had to overcome a bunch of bullshit to get where he is).
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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If you really wanted to open up a can of worms, you would consider the limited numbers (compared to the larger population) of NFL players of Asian or Hispanic races. Again, my sense is that those small numbers are driven by the fact that few Asians or Hispanics are playing at HS or college, but then the question is WHY is that?
Think both ethnic groups (though particularly Asians) are not thought of as "athletes" and don't really get the encouragement to participate in athletics.
 

Kliq

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I mean physical size has to be part of it. Someone with more firsthand knowledge might back me up on it, but football is fairly popular in Japan at the school and collegiate level, but the average lineman probably only weighs about 225 pounds. I cover a couple metro west towns with sizable Asian-American populations and there are plenty of Asian students competing in athletics, but not really football. The popular sports seem to be soccer, track and field, and swimming.
 

Tony C

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The way Tyrod Taylor is being treated is, to me, more egregious than Kaepernick. Yes, Kaep deserves a job and why he doesn't have one is due to a mixed up jumble of politics and race. But Taylor speaks more to the unconscious biases that creep into evaluation of QBs. Taylor isn't great but he is good, and there's just no way his job should be threatened given his competition this year and previously in Buffalo. That's much more typical of the reasons why black QBs have been so under-represented historically, and remain so though I agree the pipeline issue is probably a good part of the problem now.
 

Vinho Tinto

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Kordell Stewart had a 10-year NFL career with just one good (97) and one above average season (01). Though him being replaced by Maddox in '02 may make this a push.
Kordell’s 01 was 100% built around playaction and simplifying his reads. He was a terrible pocket passer. The offense was built around the line and Jerome Bettis. As the title game vs the Patriots showed, put him in a situation vs a defense that doesn’t need to defend the run and he was useless. Mike Shannahan did the same thing for Jake Plummer in 2005.
 

Toe Nash

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The way Tyrod Taylor is being treated is, to me, more egregious than Kaepernick. Yes, Kaep deserves a job and why he doesn't have one is due to a mixed up jumble of politics and race. But Taylor speaks more to the unconscious biases that creep into evaluation of QBs. Taylor isn't great but he is good, and there's just no way his job should be threatened given his competition this year and previously in Buffalo. That's much more typical of the reasons why black QBs have been so under-represented historically, and remain so though I agree the pipeline issue is probably a good part of the problem now.
Not to make this a Kaepernick thread, but...I strongly disagree.

Taylor is making $9m+ this year and got benched for a game. I thought that was a crazy decision and that thinking turned out to be correct, but unless McDermott said something that I missed you can give him the benefit of the doubt that he saw something in practice, wanted to give Taylor a shot in the arm, whatever. He is in the best position to make these determinations and will (probably) be held responsible if they are wrong.

With CK, he hasn't even gotten a look. 32 teams have decided they don't even want to consider having Kaepernick on their bench in case their starter gets hurt. A few teams have run through multiple QBs and signed absolute nobodies instead of even giving Kaep a workout. To the extent they are scouting him, they are relying on tape from last year on a terrible team. I don't think they're remotely close in terms of "fairness". I understand that reasonable opinions vary on whether Kaepernick can play but he's not even getting a chance.

I mean, Eli Manning isn't great but he is at least average and like Taylor he also got benched for someone not likely to be as good. I disagree with both coaches' decisions, but it happens.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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The Bills were on the cusp of playoff berth and benched a good QB not for some top rated QB with a high draft pedigree, but for a 5th rounder. And while the Bills had struggled in their previous games, it bears noting that their defense has gone to hell at right around the exact time they dealt Dareus to JAX. McDermott had been preaching all season that he wanted to control turnovers, and Taylor's got only 3 INTs on the entire year.

The Taylor benching made no sense at all when it was announced and the results made things exponentially worse. Either McDermott has no idea what to look for in a QB, in which case the Bills are screwed, or the orders to bench Tyrod came down from ownership, in which case the Bills are screwed.I am 100% with Tony C in that something was rotten in the state of Denmark with that move.

It was the most bewildering QB move the franchise has made since benching Flutie for Rob Johnson in the Music City Miracle game.
 

Bowhemian

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After reading the last couple of posts about the Bills, I am starting to wonder if there was some sort of disciplinary issue with Taylor, and that benching him for a game was their way of handling it "in house".
 

Super Nomario

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The Bills were on the cusp of playoff berth and benched a good QB not for some top rated QB with a high draft pedigree, but for a 5th rounder. And while the Bills had struggled in their previous games, it bears noting that their defense has gone to hell at right around the exact time they dealt Dareus to JAX. McDermott had been preaching all season that he wanted to control turnovers, and Taylor's got only 3 INTs on the entire year.
Part of the Bills defense going to hell was how bad the offense was playing. They came out in the second half against the Jets and went three-and-out three times in a row, at which point Bilal Powell ripped off a 51-yard run. How much is that bad run D and how much is the D being gassed? That game was 34-7 before two garbage-time TDs made the final score look respectable. The Saints game was a similar story - the Bills only ran 48 plays on offense all game compared to 77 for New Orleans. Is it any wonder the Saints ran all over them down the stretch (15 carries for 84 yards in the first half / 33 for 214! in the second half)?

The Bills offense has been a problem this year. It's fair to argue that isn't all Taylor's fault or that Peterman was unlikely to be the solution, but the offense was at least part of the reason the run D played so poorly.
 

nighthob

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The Bills were on the cusp of playoff berth and benched a good QB not for some top rated QB with a high draft pedigree, but for a 5th rounder.
I'm not sure why Eli Manning being benched for someone far worse than Peterman makes the Bills' decision racist.