Racism directed towards black NFL quarterbacks is a deeply concerning issue that has persisted for far too long in the world of sports. Despite the obstacles they face, they have still found a way to shine on the highest level and continue to make history. A new record has been set as fourteen black quarterbacks started in week one of the 2023 season.
The week one starters consisted of Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Geno Smith, Desmond Ridder, Joshua Dobbs, Justin Fields, Jordan Love, Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson. Young, Stroud and Richardson are the recent additions to this list and made history this year by marking the first time in NFL history that the top three quarterbacks selected in the draft were black men.
The previous record of starting black quarterbacks was 11 set last season and this year makes it the third time in four years that a new mark has been achieved in this category. The record shows a significant shift in how people feel about race and racism in the sport, as for most of its history, black athletes were either discouraged from playing the quarterback position or made to switch positions as they moved up to more advanced stages of the game.
Recently black quarterbacks have been getting more recognition and the attention they deserve. This year the Ravens have a quarterback room that is believed to be the first and only all-Black one in NFL history, led by Lamar Jackson, the league’s second unanimous MVP in 2019, with backup quarterbacks Tyler Huntley and Josh Johnson, and coached by Tee Martin as the QBs coach and Kerry Dixon as the assistant QBs coach.
Super Bowl LVII was the first time in NFL history that two black quarterbacks (Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts) started against each other. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell commented in CBS Sports on how black quarterbacks have made a significant impact and change on the game.
“People talk about their talent and their ability to run but they are incredible leaders. They understand the offense. They run complex offenses, probably more complex than we’ve ever run in the past. And they really add such an element to the game,” Goodell said. “And I think our game has changed because of their talents. And I think the game has changed on the college level also to develop their talents earlier. And that’s true for all QBs. I just think it’s another example of where diversity makes you better.”