Patrick Mahomes capped a breakthrough season for himself and African-American quarterbacks Saturday night when he was named the NFL’s MVP.
In accepting his award, Mahomes thanked his team, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the team’s organization and told fans, “This is just the beginning, we got a long way to go.”
He could easily have been talking about the continuing evolution of African-American quarterbacks in the NFL.
A record five African-American quarterbacks led their teams into this postseason, though none of them reached the Super Bowl.
Most experts predict that the style and flair with which they play will become a staple in the NFL over the next 10 years.
Mahomes, 23, became the second African-American quarterback to win the NFL’s MVP award outright. Steve McNair shared the award with Peyton Manning in 2003.
He is the youngest quarterback to throw for 50 touchdowns in a season and tied for the youngest to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a season.
Quarterback legends Warren Moon, Doug Williams and James Harris discussed the significance of Mahomes winning the award. They represent three important pillars of the African-American quarterback evolution in the NFL.
In 1969, Harris became the first black quarterback to start the regular season at quarterback; in 1974, he became the first to start a playoff game. Williams became the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl championship on Jan. 31, 1988.
In 2006, Moon became the first black quarterback to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1990 and the AFC Offensive Player of the Year that same year.
Moon, Williams and Harris shared some of what they think about Mahomes’ play this season.
THOUGHTS ABOUT MAHOMES WINNING the MVP AWARD
“When you think about this league and the quarterbacks who are in this league, for a guy that young to have the season he’s had — and to be consistent. That’s the key: He’s not inconsistent at all. He might have had a bad spot here and there, but you’re talking about a young guy who has picked up on this game probably quicker than anybody I’ve seen in this league — in his second year. … To do what he’s done, it’s incredible.”
“For a kid to be in his first year as a starter and to do something only three guys have done — throw 50 touchdown passes — throw for over 5,000 yards, then lead his team to the AFC championship game, that pretty amazing. Everybody was looking for him to have that rookie nosedive during the season — it never happened. The kid just kept playing. He was consistent the whole year. The sky’s the limit for him. He’s special.”
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