Black Quarterbacks

While running back Mark Ingram II has already crowned his Baltimore Ravens teammate, quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP in a press conference after the Ravens’ game this season, the reality is, that the award has not been arranged quite yet. Now let’s not be crazy here, as of week 14, Jackson is the unambiguous frontrunner.

As happy as it would make Ingram II, we cannot hand out the most coveted individual award 13 games into the season, and one which six teams – the San Francisco 49ers along with the Ravens, are 11-2, who lead the NFC and AFC respectively, and the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers all at 10-3 – have double digit wins. A lot can happen over the final three games. However, we should not overlook the fact that Jackson is currently suffering from a slight quad injury.

Now the mere fact that Jackson is entrenched so deeply in the MVP discussions is astounding, considering the perception – more so stigma – that has been perpetuated about Blacks/ African Americans who play and have played the position. Traditionalists have opined that they lack leadership, intellectual capacity/ football IQ for good decision making, and do not possess the ability to throw the football from the pocket. Traits believed to be prerequisites for championship QB’s.

When you look at Jackson, not only has he guided the Ravens to the top of the AFC 13 games in, but his personal numbers are not only MVP worthy, but are downright scary….

-28 touchdown passes (leads the NFL)

-109.2 passer rating (4th in the NFL)

-78.2 QBR [Quarterback rating] (leads the NFL)

-1,017 yards rushing (9th the NFL, 1st among QB’s, and just the 2nd QB in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season)

Not to mention he’s only turned the ball over 7 times this season (he’s thrown just 6 interceptions, and lost just one fumble which was a game in inclement weather, with rain and some snow from the storm over Thanksgiving weekend.) This is from someone deemed as an athlete and would not be able to do the conventional quarterback things.

Since starting the 2019 season 2-2 – Baltimore’s second loss was to the Cleveland Browns on September 29th – he has lead the Ravens to nine straight wins. And these aren’t just any random nine wins. They have beaten three teams that currently sit with 10+ wins. This includes beating the Seahawks in Seattle, 30-16, then the following week at home they smacked the defending Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots by 17 (37-20), as well as the San Francisco 49ers on a last second game winning field goal (spearheaded by his final drive) 20-17.

The 9-4 Buffalo Bills, handed them their 4th loss this past Sunday (12/8). The AFC South leading 8-5 with the Houston Texans, took a 34 point beat down from Lamar (who threw 4 TD’s in the win) and co. in Week 11. The defending NFC Champions, the 8-5 Los Angeles Rams, got even worse at home the following week, 45-6, and Jackson hung 5 TD passes on them. But remember Black QB’s can’t throw the football – or so we’ve been told.

While this has been hailed as the “Year of the Black QB”, if Jackson does win the MVP title, it will be the second consecutive year the honour has gone to a black QB. Kanas City Chief’s signal caller, Patrick Mahomes – won it last year. And as of Week 13:

-5 of the top 10 QB’s in passing yards are Black

-5 of the top 7 QB’s in passing touchdowns are Black (including the top 3)

-4 of the top 10 QB’s in passer rating are Black

-5 of the top 7 QB’s in QBR are Black (including the top 3)

So what would Lamar Jackson winning the 2019 MVP say regarding Black QB’s? That they do have leadership. That they do have the intellectual capacity/ football IQ for good decision making. That they do possess the ability to throw the football from the pocket. Which means that – despite contrary belief – they do have the traits which are prerquisites for championship QB’s.

Well whatever it says, it speaks volumes.

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