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.

Will Russell Wilson’s success change the perception of black quarterbacks?

 

Super Bowl 48 champion Russell Wilson.

Super Bowl 48 Champion Russell Wilson.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Year after year football fans were reminded that the only African-American starting quarterback to win the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl was Doug Williams in 1988. It was more than just reciting a fact, it was like a trivia question on some historical event unlikely to be matched. To date, there have been 48 Super Bowls and 96 starting quarterbacks. Five of the starting quarterbacks have been black, including last year’s runner-up Colin Kaepernick and this year’s winner Russell Wilson.

Super Bowl 22 champion and game MVP Doug Williams.

Super Bowl 22 Champion and game MVP Doug Williams.

Wilson’s success will definitely have an impact on the league going forward. Kurt Badenhausen, writer for Forbes.com, points out that “[Joe] Flacco…,[Aaron] Rodgers…, and [Drew] Brees signed a $100 million deal,” shortly after winning the Super Bowl. He also highlights that, “Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks are the most marketable players in the NFL.” While there have been a good number of African-American quarterbacks to start and succeed in the NFL, Williams and Wilson continue to change the narrative so that black quarterbacks should be viewed as winners as well.

Top rated quarterback prospect Teddy Bridgewater.

Top rated quarterback prospect Teddy Bridgewater.

Yet there are many who believe Wilson joining the illustrious company of Super Bowl- winning quarterbacks is insignificant. ESPN’s Michael Smith on his show Numbers Never Lie (NNL), the day after the Super Bowl stated, “I would like to think we have moved past the point where the color of the skin matters…when it comes to quarterbacks.” He would go on to point out the number of black quarterbacks in the league currently and the high probability that highly touted college prospects Teddy Bridgewater and Jameis Winston will also join that list. There are clearly more starting opportunities given to black quarterbacks now than there ever have been in the NFL.

Colin Kaepernick at Super Bowl 47.

Colin Kaepernick  (c) at Super Bowl 47.

However, the number of African-Americans that are deemed “franchise quarterbacks” is quite small. Franchise quarterbacks are not only given an opportunity to start for their team but are given long-term contracts worth $100 million dollars or more. These rewards come to quarterbacks whose teams feel are the long-term solution for the quarterback position, and who generate confidence of a Super Bowl victory. In this regard, there is still significant room for improvement for racial equality as it appears the determination of franchise quarterback is still easier to achieve for white quarterbacks than anyone else.

Michael Vick has accomplished a great deal in his career including signing 2 different $100 million contracts.

Michael Vick has accomplished a great deal in his career including signing two different $100 million contracts.

Currently, the only black quarterback in the NFL who has signed a $50 million dollar guaranteed contract (or contract extension) or greater since the 2010 season is Michael Vick. In the meantime, there have been at least six of those types of contracts signed by white quarterbacks since the end of the 2012 season alone. Franchises show their belief in the future of the players by signing them to long-term lucrative contracts, not just giving them a chance to prove themselves on the field.

Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are both signed to rookie contracts that paid them less than a million dollars for this entire season ($526,220 and $740,840 respectively). ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano explains, “When you’re still a couple of years from really having to pay your franchise quarterback…your GM’s offseason priority list becomes a lot more fun.” With their recent success, there is little doubt that their teams will sign them to lucrative deals in the future.

Will Robert Griffin III (l) or Cam Newton (r) earn lucrative deals from their current team?

Will Robert Griffin III (l) or Cam Newton (r) earn lucrative deals from their current team?

The true test of the evaluation of the black quarterbacks will come when other young black quarterbacks with less success than Wilson and Kaepernick, but showing just as much promise, are available for contract extensions. Will Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, and Geno Smith be given the same faith by their franchises with long-term contracts as Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, or Jay Cutler? Black quarterbacks are beyond the point of proving that they deserve an opportunity. At this point, if the franchises truly believe in these young men, they will show them the money.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Seattle Seahawks win first franchise Super Bowl, 43-8

Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson speaks to reporters after leading his team to Super Bowl 48 victory.

Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson speaks to reporters after leading his team to Super Bowl 48 victory.

By Carmen Glover

The Seattle Seahawks dominated the Denver Broncos from the very first play of Super Bowl 48 in New Jersey on Sunday night to win its first Super Bowl in franchise history. The victory is especially sweet as it vindicates the mobile quarterback style of play, effortlessly displayed by Russell Wilson. At 26, Wilson becomes only the second African-American quarterback to lead his team to Super Bowl victory, after Doug Williams first did so in Super Bowl 22 with the Washington Redskins. Williams, in the 1987-88 NFL season, thrashed the John Elway-led Broncos 42-10. Elway is the current president of the Broncos.

Doug Williams is the first African-American quarterback to win the Super Bowl in 1988, also against the Broncos.

Doug Williams is the first African-American quarterback to win the Super Bowl in 1988, also against the Broncos.

The Seahawks stifled the Broncos with their defense, leaving highly touted season MVP Peyton Manning looking bewildered, bemused, lost and totally out of his league. The precision, poise and spectacular plays that exemplified the major action by the Seahawks team serve as a strong statement to skeptics of the mobile quarterback play and the keen instincts exhibited by the overall Seahawks team.

Marshawn Lynch is a man of very few words, choosing to let his play speak for him.

Marshawn Lynch is a man of very few words, choosing to let his play speak for him.

The Seahawks earned a safety within the first minute of the game, ending the first quarter with eight points. On a mission to secure their rightful place as the team of destiny, they ended the first half 22-0. The only touchdown for the Broncos came in the last play of the third quarter, after the Seahawks shut them out in every single play up to that point. In what seemed like an unapologetic Super Bowl clinic, the Seahawks team read cues, manhandled the Broncos and outplayed, outclassed and embarrassed a team, which, boasting a drop back, pocket quarterback in Manning, was largely seen as the winner of the game even before the coin toss to start the game.

Richard Sherman declared that he is the "best cornerback" in the game.

Richard Sherman declared that he is the “best cornerback in the game.”

Leading up to the game, Wilson was asked on Media Day how he planned to play come game day, “Just to have poise and fun,” he replied with a smile. That message appeared to have resonated with his teammates because it was evident throughout the game that they had a single-minded focus: Dominate the Broncos and win convincingly but have fun doing so. Wilson, in his second year in the NFL, soundly outplayed Manning, who in his sixteenth year, amassed the most impressive statistics of his career and was seemingly crowned as the winner by virtue of those numbers, while the reserved Wilson was overlooked and treated as an afterthought prior to the game.

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll had the pulse of his team, making sure they had fun while playing to their diverse strengths.

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll had the pulse of his team, making sure they had fun while playing to their diverse strengths.

The Seahawks were coached by Pete Carroll who appeared to tap into the players’ individual personalities, from the loquacious Richard Sherman to the media-shy Marshawn Lynch and the sophisticated, polished, effective leadership style of Wilson, who seemed content to fly under the radar. All season long the Seahawks have been a team on a mission, determined to make their statement with their style of play which deftly utilized both the running quarterback and the suffocating defense that mesmerized fans while confusing and frustrating their opponents.

Percy Harvin, who missed most of the season with hip surgery, scored a touchdown in the game.

Percy Harvin, who missed most of the season with hip surgery, scored a touchdown in the game.

The only thing that matters, however, is that the long drought is officially over and the Seahawks have taken their rightful place among the elite teams in the NFL by becoming the latest winners of the prized Super Bowl and the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Wilson, for his part, has expanded the number of African-American quarterbacks who won the Super Bowl to two, and he did it by dazzling with the running style that has excited fans while demonstrating that the game is versatile enough to accommodate more than one type of quarterback play to ultimately lead to Super Bowl victory. Lynch and Percy Harvin were among the touchdown scorers.

Malcolm Smith was named game MVP.

Malcolm Smith was named game MVP.

At the end of the game, Seahawks Linebacker Malcolm Smith walked away with game MVP honors. A jubilant Wilson thanked “God for leading” the team to victory and said he asked “the guys at the beginning of the season: ‘Why not us?'” Now he has his answer. —OnPointPress.net.

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