Friday, November 23, 2007

The real “Black Quarterback Syndrome”

By Rick Morris

The ridiculous heat that Vince Young has taken this week seems to dictate that we spell out for you one more time what really constitutes the “Black Quarterback Syndrome.”

Donovan McNabb implied earlier this year in his crybaby diatribe that black quarterbacks are persecuted more than their white peers and that the racial dynamic involved is just a perpetration of Jim Crow attitudes. Wrong.

Black quarterbacks don’t suffer because of bias against them; they suffer because they are put on too high of a pedestal.

The truism “no man is an island” never seems to be applied to goalies in hockey and quarterbacks in football. Ignorant and emotionally driven fans and analysts refuse to acknowledge the extent to which these players (like everyone else) are dependent on supportive efforts from teammates and coaching philosophies with a chance of success. Goalies Chris Osgood and Curtis Joseph dealt with shameful lack of fan appreciation throughout their tenures in Detroit and quarterback Tim Couch suffered the slings and arrows of an uneducated fanbase in Cleveland that refused to fathom that a bad organization and coaching staff had stacked the deck against him.

As such, black quarterbacks are not the only players in sports to suffer scrutiny that may become unfair, although their ups and downs are always considered newsworthy by our modern race-obsessed media. But the predominant reason for their struggles eludes everyone, although the dots are very easy to connect.

We at FDH predicted before the season that Vince Young would have some issues this year with lack of support. Certainly, in a purely statistical sense, we knew that he would not be a great fantasy football value and we had him 14th on our draft board when he showed up 9th on our “experts’ draft board” (an average of other leading industry websites and magazines). The reason?

Arguably the worst wide receiver corps in the league catching his passes.

Sadly, Young fits a pattern in the NFL that stretches back several years. McNabb never had a legitimate #1 wide receiver before Terrell Owens. Mike Vick, although highly inaccurate and a bad citizen, in all fairness had a bunch of scrubs catching his passes. Byron Leftwich never had anyone worth a pitcher of warm spit hauling in his throws after Jimmy Smith retired (although, frankly, that has far more to do with the rank incompetence of the Jacksonville front office when it comes to evaluating wideouts – they have spent high draft picks and free agency money, but they are hopeless in terms of their talent recruitment). Daunte Culpepper never had anyone who wasn’t a waste of protoplasm playing wide receiver with him after Randy Moss left town.

Essentially, because the terms “black quarterback” and “mobile quarterback” have become one and the same in the public mind, and the concept of the mobile quarterback has become revered in the football world, there is the sense that talented black quarterbacks can do no wrong. NFL front offices take this thought process, such as it is, and run with it. Why bother to spend finite resources on great wide receivers, the logic seems to be, when we can put those resources elsewhere and count on our superstar to succeed offensively all by himself?

And this theory gets propagated year in and year out by well-respected and well-paid pro personnel men!

The Vince Young situation is very simple. I’ll break it down for you here. Yes, he may be having some typical second-year issues in which he must counter-adjust to the adjustments that defenses have made to him. But the vast majority of his problems stem from the fact that his wide receiving core is not even Arena League-worthy. Get him some help and he’ll be a top statistical quarterback who makes several Pro Bowls over the course of his career. Leave him with the dregs he’s got now and he’ll continue to be a piñata for uninformed people who want to bury him when he’s got no chance to succeed.

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