Lamar Jackson is inching closer to history

Since 2023, the NFL has seen a surge in success for Black quarterbacks, and it looks like that trend will continue in 2024. Patrick Mahomes, who has been a trailblazer for Black quarterbacks, may soon have company in the form of Lamar Jackson.

After his impressive performance on Christmas Day, Jackson, who already has a unanimous MVP award under his belt, is on track to potentially win his second MVP. This would make him only the second Black quarterback, alongside Mahomes, to hold that honor.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh praised Jackson’s performance, stating that he played at an MVP level and was all over the field. Jackson’s potential MVP win comes after facing adversity earlier in his career when teams and owners expressed doubts about his abilities. However, he proved them wrong and secured a lucrative five-year, $260 million contract with the Ravens.

If Jackson does win the MVP award, it will mark the second time in five seasons that he and Mahomes have gone back-to-back. This achievement would further solidify the success and talent of Black quarterbacks in the league.

The history of Black quarterbacks in the NFL stretches back to 2003 when Steve McNair became the first Black quarterback to win the MVP. Cam Newton followed in his footsteps, becoming the first Black quarterback to win the award outright. Since then, Mahomes, Jackson, and potentially Jackson again, have continued to break barriers and excel on the field.

In recent years, there have been significant milestones for Black quarterbacks. Mahomes and Jalen Hurts became the first two Black quarterbacks to face each other in the Super Bowl. The 2023 NFL draft saw Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson become the first three Black quarterbacks taken in the Top 5. Additionally, a record-breaking 14 Black quarterbacks started during Week One of the 2023 season.

Despite these accomplishments, there is still work to be done. Tyrod Taylor became the first Black quarterback to win a game for the New York Giants in October, highlighting that racial biases and challenges persist in the league.

The journey of Black quarterbacks in the NFL can be traced back to Marlin Briscoe, who became the first starting Black quarterback in pro football history in 1968. His passing in 2022 serves as a reminder of the slow progress made and the significance of the current success of Black quarterbacks.

As 2024 approaches, the NFL looks set to continue celebrating the achievements of Black quarterbacks. With the likes of Mahomes and Jackson leading the way, the future is bright for this group of talented athletes, and we can expect more historic moments and milestones to come.

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