Russell Wilson’s quiet leadership is exemplary among black quarterbacks

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hopes to lead his team to consecutive championships.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hopes to lead his team to consecutive championships.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On  Sunday, February 1, 2015, Russell Wilson has a chance to become back-to-back Super Bowl champion. There are only a handful of quarterbacks that have that distinction on their resume, most recently his opponent on Sunday, Tom Brady. However, Russell Wilson has already achieved an historic accomplishment by being the first African-American quarterback to reach the Super Bowl in consecutive years.

Steve McNair had a great deal of success in his career, including his play in the wildly entertaining Super Bowl XXXIV.

Steve McNair had a great deal of success in his career, including his play in the wildly entertaining Super Bowl XXXIV.

Wilson is the fourth African-American quarterback to play in the Super Bowl. In 2004 Donovan McNabb led the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl and in 1999 Steve McNair also led the Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl. McNair and McNabb fell short of leading their teams to victory and were ultimately unsuccessful in winning the Super Bowl.

McNabb fell short of Super Bowl victory in 2004, but led the Eagles to several NFC title games.

McNabb fell short of Super Bowl victory in 2004, but led the Eagles to several NFC title games.

In 2012, Colin Kaepernick surprised many by leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in just his 10th career start. He narrowly missed a second opportunity to appear in the Super Bowl last season, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Wilson, Kaepernick, and Cam Newton are few of the young African-American quarterbacks who are changing perceptions about the position with their varied styles of winning.

Doug Williams put forth one of the best Super Bowl performances of any quarterback when he led the Redskins to victory in 1987.

Doug Williams put forth one of the best Super Bowl performances of any quarterback when he led the Redskins to victory in 1987.

In 1987 Doug Williams guided the Washington Redskins to the Super Bowl and was victorious over the Denver Broncos. Williams’ Super Bowl appearance is not only distinctive because he is African-American, but also because of his superb performance that day. Williams orchestrated a 42 -10 rout of the Denver Broncos with 340 passing yards and 4 touchdowns, en route to being named Super Bowl MVP. As successful as Williams and the Redskins were that day, they were unsuccessful in repeating the following year.

Marshawn Lynch (l) and Richard Sherman (r) have been the main attractions when discussing the Seahawks during this week's media sessions.

Marshawn Lynch (l) and Richard Sherman (r) have been the main attractions when discussing the Seahawks during this week’s media sessions.

Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks hope to add their names to the history books with repeat Super Bowl victories on Sunday against the New England Patriots. While many of Wilson’s teammates like Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman have become major headlines during media week, Wilson has flown under the radar. However, his importance to the game cannot be understated.

Wilson hopes this Super Bowl ends the same way the last one did, with the Seahawks victorious.

Wilson hopes this Super Bowl ends the same way the last one did, with the Seahawks victorious.

Wilson is the unquestioned leader on offense and will have to play a much better game than he did in the NFC championship game if the Seahawks are to prevail this Sunday. So far in his career Wilson has been successful in overcoming challenges, so there’s no reason to believe Super Bowl XLIX will be any different.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. Is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Limited support for black quarterbacks to succeed

Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback Josh Freeman.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback Josh Freeman.

By Charles Glover Jr.

There appears to be a change in the struggle for equal opportunities for the black quarterback at the top-level of football. A record of nine starting African-American quarterbacks were in the NFL this opening weekend. While there are clearly more chances given to black quarterbacks so far this season, the struggle for true equality seems elusive. Black quarterbacks face an uphill climb trying to prove themselves as long-term solutions that organizations believe can help them win the ultimate goal:a Super Bowl championship.

l. Robert Griffin III, c. Colin Kaepernick, r. Russell Wilson

l. Robert Griffin III, c. Colin Kaepernick, r. Russell Wilson.

Now that there are more black quarterbacks  being signed to teams, a more uniform evaluation of the quarterback position itself, if implemented, would signal a new, equitable approach. Each young quarterback wants to be viewed by their organization as a franchise quarterback, a quarterback that organizations can feel comfortable with. NFL teams want to be able to believe that their quarterbacks will ultimately lead them to the Super Bowl prize over a period of several years. Currently, there are only three out of 32 teams that have black quarterbacks who definitively fit that criteria: Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III. Cam Newton and Michael Vick can also join that franchise quarterback list with stellar plays this season. That would bring the total to five black quarterbacks out of 32 NFL teams.

Michael Vick, Josh Freeman. Current starting quarterbacks fighting for future security.

Michael Vick and Josh Freeman, current starting quarterbacks who are fighting for future security.

The new struggle for black quarterbacks is to be able to convince franchises that their success is something that the organization should invest in long-term. So far that struggle is still not being won on a consistent basis. The criteria that organizations use to determine which quarterback they will invest in long term vary. What is clear, however, is that the criteria have yet to favor a black quarterback in recent memory.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo

This past off-season Carson Palmer took his miserable starting record for the Oakland Raiders and parlayed that into a starting job with the Cardinals in Arizona.
Not to be outdone, Tony Romo cashed in on his goodwill with the Cowboys and signed a contract worth more than current Super Bowl defending champion quarterback Joe Flacco, despite Romo under-performing in consecutive seasons. It remains to be seen if Josh Freeman, current Buccaneers quarterback, or Michael Vick, current Eagles quarterback, will be so fortunate in landing future starting positions if their teams both fail to reach the playoffs this season. It seems unlikely, given past trends, that Vick and Freeman could imagine any scenario in which they would get salary increases if they underachieve in consecutive seasons like Romo and Palmer did.

Do the Carolina Panthers believe Cam Newton is their quarterback of the future?

Do the Carolina Panthers believe Cam Newton is their quarterback of the future?

While it is positive to see black quarterbacks anchoring teams, the jury is still out as to the extent of those chances being offered to them. It is up for discussion whether they are going to be judged the same way as their white counterparts. It appears as if black quarterbacks are held to a higher standard to perform while being given a shorter window and less support to excel. Black quarterbacks are pressured excessively to perform immediately.They are expected to produce stellar results with minimum time to grow and thrive. They must not only win games, but look good doing so, and display superior character in the process.

One can only hope that white quarterbacks will be judged by this same high standard going forward. However, if the current pattern is a guide, such equal expectation of accountabilty for white quarterbacks seems to be a long shot. Somehow, it seems as if black quarterbacks are expected to produce and excel right away while white quarterback are nurtured, coddled, supported and then rewarded with exorbitant contracts, even when they fail to produce. The dichotomy sets a troubling precedent for the sport and should be addressed, for the integrity of the game, before this season ends. OnPointPress.net