Lamar Jackson’s Historic Success Nears Reality

InQfnVLDAs years are full of success for Black quarterbacks, and it looks like 2024 will continue the trend. With additional victories, Patrick Mahomes won’t be the sole star in this category. After an impressive performance on Christmas day, Lamar Jackson–who previously secured a unanimous MVP–stands a chance at winning his second MVP award, joining Mahomes as the only Black quarterbacks to achieve this honor. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh praised Jackson for his stellar performance, placing him in the running for the prize. Jackson’s future seemed uncertain before he signed a five-year, $260 million contract in April, as many teams and owners expressed disinterest in the talented athlete. Jackson may become a two-time MVP, following in the footsteps of Mahomes, in a historic repeat of events. Steve McNair was the first Black quarterback to win MVP in 2003, while Cam Newton was the first to win it outright, paving the way for Mahomes, Jackson, and possibly Jackson again. Earlier in the year, Mahomes and Jalen Hurts made history as the first two Black quarterbacks to face each other in the Super Bowl, joining a small list of Black quarterbacks who played in the championship game. The 2023 draft also marked a milestone, with Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson becoming the first three Black quarterbacks taken in the Top 5. Fourteen Black quarterbacks started in Week One of the 2023 season, a record high, and Tyrod Taylor became the first Black quarterback to win a game for the New York Giants in October. This progress is significant, yet it’s also a reminder of the slow pace of change. Marlin Briscoe, the first starting Black quarterback in pro football history in 1968, passed away in 2022, shortly before the historic year for Black quarterbacks in the NFL.