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A new breed of B-list Quarterbacks
Editor’s note: This article first appeared on Blackathlete.net on Sept. 13, 2013. We, however, chose to re-publish before the Super Bowl, due to its relevancy.
NORTH CAROLINA (BASN)-As the league’s elite quarterbacks like “the Robotic Frankenstein” Payton Manning and “Patriotic perfectionist” Tom Brady get older and more fragile, a new era of young Black quarterbacks stand in the shadows like a bunch of background singers ready to take the mic from them.
They are bigger, stronger, faster and more aggressive.
Plus, these new breed of ballers, who due to the read option, have become a dual threat and are slowly taking over the league.
And, while the NFL defensive coordinators, try to find ways to stop or simply slow-down this high speed offense, many football historians feel that former Pittsburgh Steelers Kordell Stewart aka “Slash” and former Philadelphia Eagles Randall Cunningham, whose elusive scrambling caused nightmares for opposing defenses, should be given a “little credit” for revolutionizing the quarterback position as well as the game.
We, however, must admit it was a young-Mike Vick, who changed the position forever, unlike the 49ers Steve Young or Randal Cunningham ever dreamed of, when he was selected by the Atlanta Falcons as the No.1 draft pick in 2001.
And while playing in only 8 games during his rookie season, he threw for 785 yards and rushed for 300 more.
Plus, one can only imagine how good he could have been if he would have studied his playbook and didn’t take the game for granted, while he was in Atlanta and, never went to prison in 2008, for his involvement in the dog-fighting ring?
With the hiring of Chip Kelly in Philadelphia, who has instrumented his new up-tempo Oregon-style offense, Vick’s crumbling career could be re-juvenated to the delight of his hardcore Eagles fans.
Now, however, with Vick still aching from being sacked so many times last season and his aging legs looking shaky as he scrambles, a new group of ballers are attempting to revolutionize the game like he did when he entered the league.
One of those new innovators is Colin Capernick, who almost thrillingly led the San Francisco 49ers to a comeback victory over the mighty Baltimore Ravens last season in the Super Bowl 47, where he went 16-for-28 for 302 yards, along with 62 yards rushing on the ground and two touchdowns.
Sadly, however, he fell about four yards short of becoming only the second Black QB in the history of the NFL to win a Super Bowl.
Kapernick’s “tattooed touchdown” rise from holding a clipboard to become a starting QB of the San Francisco 49ers after Alex Smith when down in week 6 of the regular season, however, was almost overshadowed by a 2012- 3rd round draft pick from Seattle, named Russell Wilson, who tied Peyton Manning’s NFL rookie record with 26 TDs, while shocking NFL scouts with his professionalism and poise in the pocket.
And, while Wilson shocked, Robert Griffin III electrified.
RGIII, THE LESSING AND THE CURSE
Seriously, during his historic rookie campaign, he was nearly flawless on the field. His football I.Q. was impressive, his accuracy amazing and his speed spectacular.
Stat wise, he threw for 3,200 yards, with 20 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions.
Plus, he gained over 800 yards on the ground, which later would come back to haunt him.
Because, unfortunately, all fairytales had to come to an end as injuries slowed down the Super-Man sock-wearing Heisman Trophy winner.
Maybe, his injury as well as the continuing bad luck surrounding the football team from Washington has a lot to do with owner’s Dan Synder’s decision not to change the team’s racist name and his racially insensitive logo.
Because, even though Griffin was the first rookie QB to start a playoff game in the District of Columbia since Sammy Baugh did it in 1937, during the first round of the playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks, his knee buckled when it became trapped in the grass after an awkward snap, and the rest is history. (Read my article: Who’s responsible for RG3′s injury? on BASN)
With RG3′s rookie season freshly in our minds, we have failed to remember the record-breaking rookie performance of Carolina Panthers arrogantly athletic quarterback Cam Newton, who in 2011 set an NFL record for touchdowns rushed in a season by a quarterback with 14 and became the first player in league history to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 500. He also helped Carolina improve from 2-14 to 6-10, throwing for 21 touchdowns.
And with this being Newton’s third year in the league, the game should slow-down for him, which should allow him to make better decision in reading defensive coverages, especially with Ted Ginn Jr. tagging up with Steve Smith as a part of the Panthers new receiving core.
THE B-LIST QBs
Along with Cam, RG3, Colin Kapernick, Russell Wilson, and Michael Vick, we can’t overlook Josh Freeman in Tampa, who despite a difficult year, still threw for over 4,000 yards, as well as newly acquired Green Bay Packer Vince Young, who maybe a valuable backup to Aaron Rodgers for the Cheese Heads in Wisconsin to cheer for during this grueling NFL season.
Joining these B-list Ballers, are 2013 NFL Draftees, Geno Smith, who is currently battling Mark Sanchez for the starting position in the Big Apple, despite having to endure the embarrassment of sitting all alone throughout the first round in the Green Room during the draft until the Jets selected him and Florida State’s QB, E.J.Manuel, the only signal caller taken in the first round of the draft, who was selected 16th by the Buffalo Bills.
As a kid, Manuel admitted he grew up rooting for Donovan McNabb and Charlie Ward but, during an interview with Dan Patrick said he compares himself to Ben Roethlisberger and Colin Kapernick.
Eric D.Graham, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where received a B.A. in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Radio & Television, and a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies, is currently the Editor and Chief of Black Athlete Sports Network, where his reports appear daily along with his controversial cartoon in the Bobbee Bee The Hater. Graham can be reached at email@example.com