Taking Doug's Lead: Notable black quarterbacks after Doug Williams
- Published: Jan. 16, 2013 at 08:08 p.m.
- Updated: Jan. 16, 2013 at 08:17 p.m.
After Doug Williams forever broke the barrier for black quarterbacks in the NFL, countless others followed in his footsteps and were either drafted or started for their team. Here are a few of most notable to follow Doug’s lead…
Undrafted after college by the NFL, Moon turned to the Canadian Football League and lit the great white north on fire, leading his team to five consecutive championships. Moon eventually continued his prolific career as a passer in the NFL. When he finally retired he was in the top five all-time for passing yards, touchdowns, attempts and completions.
Randall Cunningham was a triple threat when he was drafted out of UNLV in 1985, as he was a running quarterback who could also punt. He holds the Eagles record for the longest punt at 91-yards. Cunningham kept the Eagles relevant during his tenure, earning four Pro Bowl and All Pro selections.
Dubbed "Shake-N-Blake" by the Cincinnati local media, Jeff Blake played his best years with the Bengals in the late 90s, helping his receiver Darnay Scott vie for the receiving title in 1995. Blake's career unfortunately didn't lead to much postseason success. He did accumulate respectable numbers before becoming a journeyman for several other NFL teams.
After starting with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a wide receiver, Stewart received a chance to start as quarterback and made the most of his opportunity. From 1997-2001, he led the Steelers to two AFC championship games, unfortunately losing both to the eventual Super Bowl champions (Broncos and Patriots).
Steve "Air" McNair was the face of the Tennessee Titans franchise after their move from Houston. He not only helped guide them to Super Bowl XXXIV where they lost to the St. Louis Rams, but brought home a co-MVP trophy in 2003.
McNabb led the Eagles to five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl during his time as their starting quarterback. The combination of Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb was a fixture in the playoffs during the early 2000s, and their time together will likely go down as one of the best periods in Eagles history.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Dante Culpepper helped lead the Minnesota Vikings to two playoff appearances during his six years with the team. In his best season, he threw for 4,717 yards and 39 touchdowns. He also led the Vikings to a win on the road in the playoffs against their division rival, the Green Bay Packers.
In 2001, Michael Vick became the first African-American quarterback to be selected number one overall in the NFL draft. Even though controversy will forever surround Vick, no one can deny he is electrifying on the field. Vick currently is the all-time NFL leader in rushing yards for a quarterbacks.
Despite battling Byron Leftwich for the starting job in Jacksonville, Garrard was by far the more consistent player and proved it when it mattered most. In Garrard's best season, he threw 18 touchdowns and only three interceptions, helping the Jaguars earn a playoff berth where they eventually lost to the then undefeated Patriots.
Many "experts" questioned whether or not Cam Newton could succeed at the professional level. All he did in his rookie season was set a then rookie record for passing yards in a season, and rushing touchdowns for a quarterback. While he has yet to take his team to the playoffs, Cam grew as a player in the second half of his sophomore campaign.
Robert Griffin III
The future is bright in Washington with RG3 at the helm. The rookie has turned around the franchise in only his first year as a starter thanks to his combination of speed as a runner and accuracy as a passer. He brought the Redskins to the playoffs where he lost to the next player in this gallery.
Overlooked in the 2012 NFL draft because he was too short by traditional standards, Russell Wilson proved everyone wrong by not only winning the Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback position in training camp, but by also being the only rookie quarterback to win a playoff game in 2012.