The Same Ol’ Story

By Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: September 23, 2010

CALIFORNIA (BASN) — It is been only three weeks of the “No Fun League” season and the political games have already begun.

The NFL might as well put a sign outside their office doors stating “Black quarterbacks need not apply.” They continue to discourage African-American quarterbacks.

The sentiments of the National Football League are suggesting Black quarterbacks go to Canada and play in the CFL or elsewhere, then come back when your middle-aged.

Currently, the NFL employs 100 quarterbacks and only fourteen are African Americans. There are only four starters are African American and only one finished his game Sunday Night.

Former head coach and player Herm Edwards said many years ago “YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME”. Well, the Eagles, Browns, the Titans, and the Oakland Raiders have not gotten the message.

We all know that the quarterback is the face of the organization, the player the fans identify with, the first face the fans see. Many teams subconsciously do not want a black man to represent their organization.

This could be the burning issue at the Lincoln Financial Field. They do not want Michael Vick to represent the Philadelphia Eagles. My next question is why did offer him a contract last year if you were not going to play him?

The African American quarterback cannot win if the coach wants him to be a pocket passer and then gets criticized because he runs all over the field. If he stays in the pocket he is criticized because he cannot find his receiver.

As my BASN colleague Michael Louis-Ingram plainly states, Hall of Fame quarterbacks like Fran Tarkenton, Roger Staubach and Steve Young were all were runners and whiz kids. These guys were magical, and innovative. The head coaching fraternity never criticized these players, in fact, they praised them.

When African American quarterbacks play the same game, it’s another story.

Players like Vick, Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb, Kordell “Slash” Stewart, and Vince Young are called undisciplined and are said to not understand the game. You can’t have it both ways. These guys still win football games.

Does it matter how it is achieved?

There are so many great Black quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, but many will be forgotten because mainstream media will not promote them or give football fans their true statistics because they want people to forget their accomplishments.

We here at BASN will remember always field generals like “Jefferson Street” Joe Gilliam, James “Shack” Harris (one of the hardest throwing QB’s in the league and set the record for passing accuracy) and Doug Williams.

After taking the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers from worst to first with those blinding orange uniforms, Williams led Washington to a Super Bowl victory while breaking seven passing Super Bowl records.

There were many college Black quarterbacks that were told if you want to stay in the NFL you will have to change position or even play defense.

Year after year, Historically Black Colleges and Universities produce many quality African American quarterbacks only to be told or asked to change their positions. When was the last time a star white quarterback be told or asked to change his position.

We won’t see that happening to Mr. Tim Tebow.

Remember the great scrambling quarterbacks like West Virginia’s Major Harris, who could not find a job in the National Football League. Originally, players like Cunningham, Steve McNair, and Donovan McNabb were all told not to apply for an NFL quarterback spot.

What would the NFL be like without the history of these fine players?

Not to mention the many Black heroes of the C.F.L. like Warren Moon, Damon Allen, Tracy Ham, Condredge Holloway, Roy DeWalt and Chuck Ealey. These fine young men have won multiple Grey Cups but many American football fans don’t know of these players.

Moon stands alone as one of the best Black quarterbacks in NFL history and is the first to enter the Hall of Fame. So the fight continues in 2010. The Philadelphia Eagles won this past weekend 35-32 over the Detroit Lions with Vick doing the signal calling.

Vick’s statistics in the last two games are a 63% passing rating, rushing for 140 yards, and threw for three touchdowns. The Eagles should be 2-0, but in the first game, Vick replaced Kevin Kolb after a concussion injury.

Down 20-3 in the second half, Vick brought the Birds back to 27-20.

With a fourth down and one on the 11 yard line. Head Coach Andy Reid called a quarterback sneak which is fine but he put Vick in the shotgun three yards behind center instead of right behind the center.

This was one of the craziest calls this football fan has ever seen. Of course Vick did not make the first down and the Eagles lost the first game of the year. That loss was on Reid not Vick.

On Tuesday afternoon, Philly switched gears and stated that Vick would start this Sunday. The Eagles are in a “Ball of Confusion”.

Maybe Andy and coaching staff listened to the Gray Leopard Cove.

Maybe the coaching staff looked at the films of the last two weeks and could see the difference. Maybe the pressure from the Philadelphia Eagle fan base influenced this latest decision.

The Tennessee Titans also lost Sunday 19-11 as Head Coach Jeff Fisher took out Vince Young in the first half. He put in aging quarterback Kerry Collins and lost the game to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Remember the Titans lost the first six games of the year in 2009. The Owner of the Titans told head coach Fisher to start Young. Tennessee missed the playoffs by one game. The Titans won 8 games in a row.

Now if Fisher had started Young at the beginning of the 2009 maybe they would have made the playoffs. The Titans could now be the Eagles south with the brewing Young-Fisher feud, somebody is not going to be there at the end of this year.

Here is the list of African American quarterbacks pulled out of last Sunday games:

In Tennessee, Young was pulled for Collins. VY had one of his few bad games.

In Oakland, the slow starting Jason Campbell was pulled for Bruce Gradkowski in the second half as the Black and Silver won their home opener. Gradkowski will be starting Sunday for the Raider Nation. Will Campbell get a chance to restart his career?

These are the quarterbacks that should have been pulled Sunday due to the lack of their productivity and mistakes on the field but were not. The question should be asked why?

Tom Brady. Yes, the anointed one, the two time Super Bowl Champion had a awful third quarter as the Hated New York Jets beat the New England Patriots. In that frightful quarter, Brady threw 8 incomplete passes, 2 interceptions, got sacked once for a nine yard lost, and lost a fumble.

Kerry Collins. He had a terrible third quarter in place of Vince Young. Collins had one touchdown, one interception. He was caught for two sacks because his mobility is limited and he coughed the ball up twice losing it at a critical point in the game.

Brett Favre. No. 4 had a complete collapse in game number two. The Vikings lost 14-10 to the Miami Dolphins. Favre had three interceptions, was sacked three times and coughed up a fumble in a lackluster performance. It seemed that he was disinterested in this game. The question for the Viking coaching staff — Why was Tarvaris Jackson still sitting on the bench?

Tony Romo. The Dallas QB made his usual mistakes and his team lost to the Chicago Bears 27-20. The game was not as close as the score would indicate. The Cowboys could not produce any offense and it cost Dallas in the fourth quarter. Romo threw for two interceptions and could not move the team down the field. If Romo were African-American he would have been sitting the bench a year ago. Just as the Dallas Cowboy organization ran African American quarterback Quincy Carter away after the 2002 season.

There are many great Caucasian QB’s in the league and we must give them their due — Brady, Payton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Drew Brees.

When the suspended Roethlisberger returns to the Steeler lineup in two weeks another African American quarterback will likely be out of a job. Charlie Batch and Dixon, or Byron Leftwich will be unemployed.

Big Ben should have been suspended for the complete season, this is his third offense, but alas I digress. The NFL’s moral compass was broken on the Roethlisberger issue and the league wants him to play.

Meanwhile, Michael Vick is still paying the price for his transgressions two years ago. It seems strange that dogs are more important than the sexual abuse of females. Something is wrong with this picture.

My next question is when will teams put the best player behind center and stop playing politics. African American quarterbacks are waiting.