Widely-admired former NFL signal-callers Joe Gilliam and James Harris didn’t get it done before ‘D.W.’ and neither did accomplished veterans Warren Moon and Randall Cunningham afterward.
Andre Ware never got there and Akili Smith certainly didn’t have the gift.
Warren, shot for the Moon, but fell just short in spite of his Hall of Fame-caliber career.
It hasn’t happened for Donovan McNabb, David Garrard, Michael Vick or Vice Young, though their respective NFL careers are still active.
Solid veteran backup Charlie Batch is a scratch – and former No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell’s chances are absolutely laughable at this point as he likely goes down as arguably the biggest all-time bust in NFL Draft history.
That’s right NFL pro football lovers, when it comes to winning Super Bowl championships, the NFL – and more specifically – the nation’s African-American football fan base – have been waiting for over two decades for another black quarterback to lead his team to the ultimate goal of winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Ever since former Washington Redskins great Doug Williams, (hence, the aforementioned D.W.) led his team to an emphatic 42-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII back on Jan. 31, 1988, expectations have been high for another black quarterback to lead his team to the league’s championship title. Unfortunately, results have been non-existent to say the least.
As a matter of fact, since Williams led the Skins to the Super Bowl title just before the end of the Regan administration, not only has there been no other African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl championship, but not very many have been in legitimate contention to do so, with only the late Steve McNair and former current Redskins starter Donovan McNabb being the only two quarterbacks of color to lead their respective teams to a Super Bowl appearance.
McNair led the Tennessee Titans in a narrow 23-16 loss to the St. Louis Rams in one of the most memorable Super Bowls in recent memory back in 2000 while McNabb’s Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Patriots 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX back on Feb. 6, 2005.
However, since no one back in 1987 saw Williams’ feat on the horizon – not even late in the 1978-88 regular season – it’s quite possible that another black quarterback could lead his team to an NFL title that no one could have ever predicted.
In this column, I will take a look at several current black quarterbacks and analyze their respective chances of becoming the NFL’s second starting quarterback of color to lead his franchise to the NFL’s ultimate goal.
With the upcoming 2010 NFL regular season quickly approaching, let me get started.
9. Seneca Wallace – Cleveland Browns
Now in his sixth season, Wallace is being given every opportunity to start in Cleveland but apparently can’t beat out an aging Jake Delhomme, so the bottom line for the career backup, whose 5-9 record as an NFL starter is none-too-impressive, is that his chances of leading a team to a Super Bowl title as a starter are slim-to-none at best.
8. Jason Campbell – Oakland Raiders
I’ve always liked Campbell a lot, but he took a career step into oblivion when he was traded to the pitiful Oakland Raiders this offseason. The franchise is undoubtedly the most dysfunctional in the NFL and possibly, all four of North America’s four major sports at this point.
The Raiders have been a perennial joke for almost a decade now and although Campbell would still appear to have some chances to approach a Super Bowl title in his career, it may not come with Oakland, if at all.
Campbell’s 20-32 record as an NFL starter has ‘mediocre’ written all over it and for some strange reason, whenever I watch him play I just get the feeling the guy isn’t the most competitive athlete in the world.
7. Josh Freeman – TampaBay Buccaneers
I think Freeman is one of the most talented young quarterbacks in the game today and should have several opportunities to win a Super Bowl title over the course of what looks to be one of the most promising careers of any young signal-caller in the league.
Unfortunately, Freeman plays for the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers – and will probably be playing for another head coach in another season or two at best after the higher-ups with the Bucs realize that current head coach Raheem Morris is in over his head. Freeman has compiled a 3-6 record as an NFL starter, but again, possesses a ton of raw talent.
6. Tarvaris Jackson – Minnesota Vikings
I keep holding out hope that Jackson is going to get it together and eventually turn into a respectable, if not outstanding, NFL starter at some point in the near future. Unfortunately, every time I see the guy play, I just don’t get the sense that he’s ever going to get much better than he already is.
The 26-year-old signal-caller has compiled a mediocre 10-9 mark in 13 NFL starts – and has seen his the Vikings’ confidence in him shrink to next to nothing as they prayed for Brett Favre’s return in each of the last two offseasons.
5. David Garrard – Jacksonville Jaguars
I really like Garrard and his efficient playing style but now, with the cerebral quarterback heading into his ninth season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, it is pretty clear that his opportunities are dwindling. While Garrard has compiled a respectable 31-31 career mark as an NFL starter, the Jaguars have taken a step backwards in each of the last two seasons and could be broken up as they currently exist if they unfurl one more similar campaign.
4. Michael Vick – Philadelphia Eagles
Believe it or not NFL fans, Vick still has an opportunity to lead some NFL team to a Super Bowl title, even if it doesn’t come with his current team, the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick, is still just 30-years-old with just about four full seasons of wear and tear on his body in seven NFL seasons since 2001.
At some point in the near future, some team will come calling and Vick, who has compiled a respectable 38-28-1 record as an NFL starter, will have one more opportunity to lead a franchise to a Super Bowl title.
3. Dennis Dixon – Pittsburgh Steelers
Yes, I know Dixon is a backup for the Steelers with an 0-1 record as a starter, but the former Oregon star has big-time talent – and plays for one of the most consistent and committed franchises in league history.
While the Steelers are still apparently committed to two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, I believe it’s quite possible Dixon will eventually become an NFL starter, either in Pittsburgh, or for another franchise.
Lest anyone forget, Dixon was a Heisman trophy candidate for the Ducks in his senior year before tearing his ACL late in the regular season.
A former two-time All Pac-10 honoree, Dixon also won the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year award in 2007. Whether his times comes sooner rather than later, I suspect Dixon will get his chance to lead some franchise as an NFL starter.
2. Vince Young – Tennessee Titans
Young has been bashed and beaten in his four season sin the NFL, but through it all, I think he’s going to emerge as foremost single black quarterback on this list that has greatest opportunity to lead a team to an NFL title inside the next half-decade or so.
Young has compiled an impressive 26-13 record as an NFL starter and plays for a team and head coach in Jeff Fisher that is committed to winning and already has one Super Bowl appearance on its resume.
At just 27-years-old, Young should have at least another near-decade of chances to win an NFL championship.
1. Donovan McNabb – Washington Redskins
I put McNabb at the top of this list solely because I believe the 11-year veteran, when combined with the coaching of respected veteran leader Mike Shanahan, will have at least one or two very legitimate chances to win a Super Bowl title with the rebuilding Washington Redskins.
Shanahan combined with an aging John Elway to lead the Denver Broncos to two Super Bowl titles at the very end of his career and I can envision the Redskins at least approaching that kind of success with Shanahan and McNabb inside of the next two or three seasons.
McNabb has posted a stellar 92-49-1 record as an NFL starter in 11 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and is now in his first season with a Redskins team that is in the midst of an overhaul in Shanahan’s first season with the franchise.
Sources: NFL.com, pro-football-refrence.com