by Aubrey Bruce, For New Pittsburgh Courier
Cam Newton, Patrick Mahomes, Jacoby Brissett, DeShaun Watson, Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Teddy Bridgewater, Kyler Murray. What do all of these names have in common? First and foremost, many are current first-string NFL quarterbacks that are changing the old, sodded, outdated definition of the standard skill set required to become and remain starting QBs. There has been and continued to be a myth that Black QBs are less than intellectual than their counterparts at the position. On Jan. 31, 1988, in San Diego, that myth should have been laid to rest because Doug Williams of the Washington Redskins became the first African American quarterback to start in and win a Super Bowl.
Williams led his team to an upset 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.
Williams and the Redskins obliterated the Denver defense, scoring 35 points in the second quarter, the most points ever for a single postseason quarter in National Football League (NFL) history. Williams threw four touchdowns in the first half, tying a then-Super Bowl record for most touchdowns thrown in an entire game.
At that point in pro football history, African American QBs were not and are still not considered by many pundits to not be smart enough to grasp and implement complex NFL offenses. It has been perpetrated for decades that Black quarterbacks have been forced to use their legs in order to compensate for the lack of understanding simple concepts such as reading all of their progressions and being able to check in and out of plays effectively, etc, etc. By the way, they also are deficient at reading and deciphering mind-boggling NFL defenses. What? In these days and times of 4.7 and 4.8 40’s being posted by modern-day linebackers and defensive ends, a quarterback better be able to use his legs. The era of the “statue-back” is over. OGs, get used to it. Within the past quarter of a century the Pittsburgh Steelers had Kordell Stewart, Dennis Dixon and the aforementioned Josh Dobbs on their roster and except for Stewart none of them have had a legitimate shot to compete for a starting position. They also recently traded their supposedly third-tier QB Dobbs to the Jacksonville Jaguars prior to Ben Roethlisberger’s “disclosed injury.”
That left the Steelers with Mason Rudolph as their No. 1, rookie Devlin Hodges as their No. 2 and their No. 3 guy on the depth chart, Paxton Lynch. Lynch was drafted in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. For all intents and purposes, up until this point I won’t label Mr. Lynch as a complete bust, but let’s just say that so far his career as been less than stellar.
Rudolph must make up for his lack of mobility by getting rid of the ball quickly or the Steelers will have no more than a snowball’s chance in Hades to make the playoffs. It is not the job of the Steelers defense to rescue Rudolph from himself because he gets paid to do his job. All he has to do is show up, step up and do it. As far as running quarterbacks go, ask the New England Patriots who were recently dismantled and humbled by the running of the supposedly less than intellectual Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson by the score of 37-20. Ask the Patriots who they would rather face? Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph?
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