How Super Bowl 2023 Changed the Trajectory of the Black QB Forever

Photo:  Ezra Shaw (Getty Images)
Photo: Ezra Shaw (Getty Images)

The numbers are in: The Super Bowl 2023 matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts is not only the most-watched Super Bowl of all time but also the most-watched US-based telecast ever.

While the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles was originally the second-most watched Super Bowl of all time (behind Super Bowl XLIX), Fox Sports announced that a review of the numbers by Nielsen “revealed irregularities in the encoding that enables Nielsen’s measurement of TV viewing as well as issues with the out-of-home measurement of Super Bowl LVII.”

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The news of the Super Bowl viewership is all good and dandy, but I’m more focused on how it will have a future effect on the trajectory and perception of Blacks QBs overall. We will look back on this game as the day Black gunslingers took over the NFL.

Why Super Bowl 2023 will be a monumental moment for the NFL

Like how we use “B.C.” to refer to “before Christ,” this year’s Super Bowl will be a time stamp to refer to the league before and after Hurts and Mahomes met head-to-head in Super Bowl LVII. It’s a moment that changed the future of the league and its future players, here’s why:

  • It was on display for the whole world to see

Despite the QBs being Black for both teams, the viewership of the game went unaffected. The same league that Blackballed Colin Kaepernick is also setting records when it comes to Super Bowl viewership.

Black QBs cannot only thrive in the NFL, but they can also be the face of it!

  • Proved there’s more than one way for a Black QB to win

When Black players were finally allowed to play QB, they were often pigeonholed into stereotypes. Big athletic players who can run, but can’t play from the pocket. They have big arms but aren’t able to hit their targets with precision and accuracy consistently.

Super Bowl 2023 was an example that there is a myriad of ways to win with a Black QB. For example, Patrick Mahomes is your stereotypical pocket QB who creates magic behind the line of scrimmage. While he often makes crucial plays with his legs, he’s known as a guy who does most of his damage with his arm.

Before this season, Jalen Hurts was seen as an athletic quarterback who was a strong and gifted runner, but still had a ways to go when it came to being a prolific passer. In the Super Bowl, he had more spectacular throws than Mahomes.

Nobody questioned if Mahomes’ style of play could take a team deep in the playoffs, but many questioned if Hurts’ style could. Despite the countless examples of running QBs going to the Super Bowl (Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Steve McNair) people still doubt if other players like Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts could win at a high level in the playoffs.

Not only was Hurts a penalty away from winning the game, but he also outplayed Mahomes.

  • GMs recognize that Black QBs are the future

With the differing styles of Mahomes and Hurts both thriving in the biggest game of the year, GMs now have their pick for the style of Black quarterback they want, and there’s no right answer. It was on full display at the 2023 NFL Draft.

Want an athletic QB who will instantly make your running attack into one of the best in the NFL? Draft Anthony Richardson.

Want a pocket QB who doesn’t do much with his legs but always hits his target with precision and accuracy? Draft C.J. Stroud.

Want a QB who has a tremendous feel for the game and can create highlight plays from in and outside the pocket? Draft Bryce Young.

The only similarity these QBs have with each other is their skin color. Other than that, they play nothing alike. The success of Mahomes and Hurts on the NFL’s biggest stage was a message to teams that there’s not just one style of Black QB. There are multiple.

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