AFRO Sports Desk Faceoff
Newton’s performance this season has been nothing short of spectacular and he’s expressed his personal thoughts on his role as a Black quarterback in a predominantly White field. Newton took a shot at his critics when he stated: “I’m an African-American quarterback—that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing they can compare me to.” But how does Newton compare to the other African-American quarterbacks in the league? The AFRO Sports Desk debates this question.
Green: When it comes to the quarterback position in the NFL, Newton is definitely leading the way. And I’m not just discussing African Americans; I’m talking all QBs of all races—Newton is the best of the bunch. While there are other quarterbacks in the league with similar talents and skills, Newton adds those traits plus his incredible marketing value. There might be other quarterbacks who are slightly better at passing from the pocket, and others are better at scrambling and running, but Newton does both incredibly well while representing a steadily-evolving brand. Newton sets the standards for what the new generation of quarterbacks should be able to do. Your leader has to be well-spoken, marketable, talented and able to lead other men. Newton does all that as well as any quarterback in the NFL.
Riley: Newton has been great this season but so has Seattle’s Russell Wilson, Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor and Tampa’s Jameis Winston. Their teams weren’t as strong as Newton’s this year, but individually, they all were special in their own right. Wilson might be the best quarterback of the NFL, race aside, and Winston has the makings of an incredible leader. Newton has played the best ball this year, but I won’t let one season define my opinion for now. Maybe another three or four seasons of solid production and some trophies—such as Wilson already owns—will persuade my decision.
Green: Newton’s performance this season is nothing we haven’t seen him do already. We’ve seen Newton win a national title on the junior college level, win one on the major college level, and now he may add a Super Bowl title. He won rookie of the year back in 2010 and won the MVP title this year. Everything you could ask from a young quarterback, he’s doing—he’s making every progression to get better and making every right move while on the field. Wilson was backed by a tremendous group, but you can clearly see Newton powering this team along. Newton’s reached a new level of performance.
Riley: It doesn’t matter who played alongside Wilson, you can’t take his accolades away from him. With a title already in his possession, Wilson deserves just as many honors as anybody. Even Winston won the Rookie of the Year title. There’s competition for the label of the best Black quarterback in the league, and that competition doesn’t just end with Russell Wilson and Cam Newton anymore. Newton may have the attention right now, but it’s not as clear-cut a decision as you make it sound, Perry. There’s a handful of playmakers who can get it done, and if we’re strictly going off titles then it’s obvious that Wilson should be handed that moniker.