Patrick Mahomes at the 2023 ESPY Awards

Patrick Mahomes at the 2023 ESPY Awards (Photo by Free on Shutterstock)

In 1988 Doug Williams was the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl but Black excellence in sports did not stop there. Since then, a total of seven of the best Black quarterbacks have played in the Super Bowl. Many more exceptional NFL athletes, like Warren Moon, have achieved legendary status as the only Black quarterback inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame…without ever earning a Super Bowl championship ring. That’s Black excellence!

The best Black quarterbacks in the history of American football have not only redefined the position but have also shattered stereotypes and barriers. These exceptional athletes possess a unique combination of athleticism, intelligence, and leadership that has allowed them to excel on the gridiron. Many have demonstrated remarkable accuracy, arm strength, and the ability to read defenses, making them formidable playmakers.

Names like Warren Moon, Doug Williams, and Randall Cunningham paved the way for future generations, proving that Black quarterbacks could excel in a predominantly white-dominated position. More recent stars like Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson continue to showcase their exceptional talents, transcending the sport and becoming symbols of inspiration for aspiring quarterbacks of all backgrounds. These quarterbacks not only bring a new style and flair to the game but also contribute significantly to their teams’ success, challenging outdated narratives and fostering inclusivity within the sport. In essence, the best Black quarterbacks have not only left an indelible mark on football history but have also contributed to the broader conversation about race, equality, and opportunity in American society.

In 2023, for the first time in NFL history, two Black NFL quarterbacks faced off in the Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles led their teams to the most important game in the league. But they’re not the only Black quarterbacks that we need to celebrate. StudyFinds has scoured reviews from the experts to showcase the very best Black quarterbacks of all time. Is your favorite Black quarterback listed? Leave a comment to let us know.

NFL logo and a wall of footballs
NFL logo (Photo by Adrian Curiel on Unsplash)

The List: Best Black Quarterbacks, According to Sports Experts

1. Donovan McNabb 

During off season Donovan McNabb lives in Arizona, but that has never stopped him from leading the Philadelphia Eagles as one of the best Black quarterbacks they have ever had while breaking multiple football records. Although he is now a household name, he wasn’t  a fan favorite at the beginning of his career. “Booed when he was drafted in 1999, all McNabb did was go out and lead the Eagles to a ton of success, including one SB appearance and five NFC championship games. In his career, he passed for 37,000 yards and 234 total touchdowns. He also rushed for another 3,459 yards and 29 touchdowns,” writes The Shadow League. 

McNabb has never won a Super Bowl, but he did have his best season of his career heading into one, with more than 30 touchdowns and fewer than 10 interceptions in one season, according to Biography. “McNabb set no shortage of team records during his 11 seasons with Philadelphia, including pass attempts (4,746), completions (2,801), passing yards (32,873), and touchdown passes (216). He led the team to eight postseasons, five conference championship games, and an appearance against the New England Patriots at Super Bowl XXXIX.”

Bleacher Report echoes those sentiments, giving McNabb a Super Bowl win pass because of his outstanding NFL records. “McNabb may not win Super Bowls, but he has been to five NFC Championship games in 10 years. He has thrown for over 35,000 yards and 225 TDs. His touchdown to interception record is a remarkable 2:1.”

2. Michael Vick

In 2001, Michael Vick was the first Black quarterback chosen as the top pick of the NFL draft but most people don’t remember the hype surrounding that feat. “Most people remember Mike Vick as the guy who went to jail for his highly publicized dog fighting operation, but before that, Vick was something the NFL had never seen before,” recalls The Sportster. “He was the fastest player in the NFL, while also having the strongest arm in the game. He made four Pro Bowls as well as being the NFL’s all-time rushing leader for the quarterback position.”

Vick became the prototype for every football fanatics baseless fantasy of becoming an NFL superstar. “The Michael Vick experience was the most captivating experience that I witnessed since I started watching football. I, not unlike many fans, I used to use Vick all the time in Madden 2004,” writes a reviewer from Fan Rankings.

Regardless of the mayhem surrounding his personal life during his 13 year career, the mere mention of his name still tugs at the heartstrings of his loyal fans. “He has a strong arm, accuracy and athletic ability unseen before at the quarterback position,” defends Bleacher Report.

3. Steve McNair 

Steve McNair had a reputation for being something short of magical, which makes sense because in high school he played football, baseball, basketball, and ran track. “McNair is one of the toughest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. His ability to not practice much during the week, and come out of the trainer’s room and still make plays while taking a punishment was amazing,” writes Fan Rankings. “He shared an MVP award with Peyton Manning in 2003. He led the Tennessee Titans to Super Bowl 34 and nearly led them to a miraculous comeback in which they came up one yard short of tying the game against the St. Louis Rams. McNair was a three-time Pro Bowler and led the league in passer rating in the 2003 season.”

With an impressive arm power and the ability to allude defenders, McNair left fans speechless while watching him play. “Air McNair was a dual-threat quarterback who accumulated over 30,000 passing yards and 3,500 rushing yards in his 13-year career. McNair led the Titans to the Super Bowl in 2003,” shares a reviewer from Complex.

Before he was shot in 2009, McNair spent most of his NFL career with the Titans, retiring just a year before his death. “McNair led them to four playoff appearances, including Super Bowl XXXIV against the St. Louis Rams.  In 2003, McNair became the first Black quarterback to win the Associated Press NFL MVP Award,” recalls an NFL reviewer from Biography.

4. Russell Wilson

Standing at just under 5’11 and 206 lbs, Russell Wilson is the poster boy for sustaining success as an NFL player. “He led the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XLVIII 43-8 over Peyton Manning and the Broncos. He led the league in passer rating (2015) and passing touchdowns (2017) and was also named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2020,” boasts Sports Keeda.

Although the average career span of an NFL player is just over 3 years, Wilson has outlasted that marker and is predicted to pummel through many more. “Russell Wilson is only in his 5th NFL season, yet he has already reached two Super Bowls, one of which was a blowout victory over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos,” says The Sportster. “Wilson is already a three time Pro Bowl selection and led the league in passer rating during the 2015 season. The Seahawks look like they could be good for many many years to come and it is due in large part to the franchise leader, Russell Wilson.”

Let’s not forget the fact that until Russell Wilson came along, Doug Wilson was the only other Black quarterback that had led his team to Super Bowl victory, 26 years earlier.  “Russell Wilson, who holds the record for most wins by a quarterback in his first nine seasons, was also the first of only two Black quarterbacks in NFL history to appear in multiple Super Bowls, which occurred back-to-back in 2014 and 2015,” writes Biography.

5. Patrick Mahomes 

What would the NFL be like is Patrick Mahomes had chosen to follow his passion for baseball? The world may never know. Mahomes, who was drafted by the Major Baseball League, has already leapt into super stardom on the professional football field. “Mahomes has now led the Chiefs to five straight AFC Championship games, three Super Bowls and two Lombardi trophies,” says a reviewer from Shadow League. “Mahomes is positioning himself to be in the convo for greatest to ever play the position when he’s done.”

Mahomes is the richest Black quarterback in the NFL and that says a lot when 4 out of 5 of the highest paid NFL quarterbacks are Black.  “At age 27, Mahomes is already a seasoned Super Bowl veteran, having led the Chiefs to three appearances in four years,” a reviewer from Biography writes. “Kansas City defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV in 2020, with Mahomes leading his team to a comeback in the final quarter.

After coming out victorious as the only recent Black quarterback to win the Super Bowl and the first two win two Super Bowls, when considering Mahome’s impact on the game, football fanatics from around the world can’t help but stand back in awe. “With the win, Mahomes, who’s only 27, puts himself at the top of the All-Time Black QB perch,” shares Shadow League. “The maestro of the Chiefs attack has solidified himself as one of the all-time greats in just his fifth year as a starter.”

The best Black quarterbacks are something special out there on that football field. Which Black QB is your favorite? Leave a comment and tell us why.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

About Te-Erika Patterson

Te-Erika is the Publisher of The Feisty News for Women, the only full-service news source for women. Te-Erika is also the author of How To Love a Powerful Woman, Leave Your Baby Daddy and Loving Female Led Relationships: Relationships that Empower Women. A graduate of The University of Florida, Te-Erika enjoys a thriving career as a digital content creator that has spanned more than a decade. She enjoys chocolate, wine and solitude, and she is currently living a quiet life in Montgomery, Alabama. Follow her @Te-Erika

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