In 2020, a record 10 Black quarterbacks opened the season as starters for NFL teams. That double-digit number didn’t last the season, but the landmark was further proof that the evolution of the Black quarterback had reached unprecedented levels.
Qualified Black quarterbacks are still being poked, prodded, criticized and underestimated in the draft process, but the pipeline is filled and the game is definitely as accommodating as ever to the notion of a Black face leading the team behind center.
Note: Russell Wilson and Deshuan Watson would easily makes this list, but Watson hasn’t played all season and Russ is just returning after missing significant time, compliments of Aaron Donald’s helmet.
The Shadow League’s Top 5 Black Quarterbacks So Far This Season
1. Lamar Jackson (600 rushing yards)
Lamar Jackson already has an MVP under his belt and it seems like he’s still on public probation. Every game is a referendum on his entire career. He’s almost the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL. The respect level for a guy who comprises about 80 percent of his team’s offense is considerably low.
Highest passing grade from a clean pocket this season
Lamar Jackson – 89.4 🎯 pic.twitter.com/48xvZ5erKI
— PFF (@PFF) November 10, 2021
Comebacks wins and incredible highlight runs and leadership and poise in clutch moments. Jackson has displayed all of these attributes this season in leading an average Ravens team to first place in the AFC North at 6-3 after Thursday night’s 22-10 loss at Miami. Caesars had the nerve to rank Jackson seventh in its MVP odds earlier this week.
Hsi combination of athleticism and game-breaking ability makes him the most exciting player in football. Jackson and Mahomes will be battling for this top spot for years to come, but this season Jackson has separated himself from the pack.
One of one 😈
Lamar Jackson has passed Michael Vick for the most 100-yard rushing games by a QB with 12. (including playoffs)
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) November 7, 2021
2. Patrick Mahomes (2534 passing yards, 20 Tds)
Social media wants to cancel Patrick Mahomes, who was the face of the NFL just last season. After two Super Bowls and three straight seasons of historic passing, some analysts and fans are acting like the sky collapsed because Mahomes isn’t making NFL football look like a video game.
To say that Mahomes fell off is to ignore the hundreds of other tremendous talents that comprise NFL rosters and are paid to stop people. Mahomes is the hunted. Kansas City and Andy Reid have been tediously studied by the opposition. The offense doesn’t have the same weaponry in the backfield or at receiver. The NFL is about adjustments. Mahomes will eventually do that.
We started to see vintage Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill at the end of Sunday’s game 🔥 pic.twitter.com/J5Lv4Qmysw
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) November 9, 2021
The defense is in shambles, which always puts more pressure on the offense. Mahomes is still golden, but this is the NFL. The same league where Tom Brady didn’t go to a Super Bow for a decade before returning to the Big Show. Mahomes will be fine. He’s still a candidate for best quarterback in the league. Can’t lose that status after just 9 weeks.
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) November 10, 2021
3. Dak Prescott (18 TDs, 108.7 Passer Rating)
Dak Prescott was rolling along this year before a calf injury caused him to miss a start and threw him off his game. Dak was sitting at the top of this list for the majority of the first half of the season. On Oct. 17 he threw for 445 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-29 win over the New England Patriots. It was Dallas’ fifth straight win, and delusional Dallas fans started screaming “Super Bowl” and “Dak for MVP.”
His popularity has never been higher.
Top 10 #NFL jersey sales for October 2021 (via NFL Shop):
1. Tom Brady
2. Dak Prescott
3. Josh Allen
4. CeeDee Lamb
5. Patrick Mahomes
6. Mac Jones
7. Justin Herbert
8. Lamar Jackson
9. Derrick Henry
10. Aaron Rodgers
— O.J. Spivey 🎙📝🏟✊🏾 (@OJPhilly) November 9, 2021
When Dak returned from his injury he played his worst game of the season on Sunday in a loss to the Denver Broncos, completing less than 50 percent of his passes. Dak’s passer rating is still third overall in the league, he is the most important player on the Cowboys, and he has a chance to recover and rise up this list in no time.
4. Kyler Murray (20 Total TDs)
Kyler Murray’s size has not been an impediment to his production. He’s seventh in the NFL in passing (2276) and was torching the league through eight weeks with 17 TDS and just seven picks and 1000 highlights that boost the NFL’s popularity as the Greatest Show On Turf.
Only QBs with a 100+ passer rating under pressure this season:
♦️ Kyler Murray – 106.9
♦️ Russell Wilson – 103.6 pic.twitter.com/8m8EHBQhs9
— PFF (@PFF) November 10, 2021
Murray is a tough customer and knows how to avoid contact, but his nagging injuries have caught up to him as he missed last Sunday’s game and will be a no-show for Week 10. The Cardinals are 8-1 largely because of Murray’s MVP play. The barely 5-foot-11 quarterback who turned down $9 million from the Oakland A’s to play out his senior season at Oklahoma is quickly rising on this list and into the upper echelons of quarterbacks in the NFL.
5. Teddy Bridgewater (101.3 Passer Rating)
Teddy Bridgewater edges Jalen Hurts on this list because he’s been doing the damn thing for so long. Bridgewater overcame a devastating knee injury to work his way back and become a starter for a Denver team that is 5-3 and in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC.
Teddy B doesn’t wow anyone with the death-defying footwork of Lamar Jackson or improvisational skills of Mahomes. He’s just Steady Teddy, a true professional who can manage a game without turning the ball over but also throw a bullet downfield for long gains when the OC dials it up. His perseverance and toughness mixed with his intelligence make him the consummate professional and a heck of a player.