Black Quarterback Wins Super Bowl: Where’s the Fuss?

Despite an embarrassing 43-8 loss, Peyton Manning still gets all the attention.

Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson
Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Disney couldn’t write a better story: A short kid, much too short to play quarterback, won’t let that fighting spirit in him die. So he plays in high school, both ways: quarterback on offense and cornerback on defense. Hell, he even punted the ball. His high school coach called him a one-man wrecking crew. He breaks records and is still rated only as a two-star recruit. Too short, they say.

He goes to North Carolina State, where he dominates on a mediocre team. Yet he is willing to leave the sport to play minor-league baseball after his college coaches reach out to NFL scouts to see what the kid’s chances are in the NFL. Coaches aren’t interested.

No one wants to see the 5-foot-11 kid throw the ball.

North Carolina State lets him go, but that football itch is stronger than his baseball jones, and he returns to school, this time to the University of Wisconsin.

Cue montage of spectacular touchdown passes and ridiculous runs as a Badger.

Then draft day. He isn’t even in attendance. He has already been told that he won’t be going in the first round.   

“If he was 6 feet 5, he would probably be the No. 1 draft pick,” says Chris Weinke, a former NFL quarterback and director of the IMG Madden Football Academy.

On Sunday the 5-foot-11, third-round draft pick (75th overall) and sixth quarterback taken in the draft, Russell Wilson, only two years in the league, led the Seattle Seahawks to a mud-hole stomping of the Denver Broncos, 43-8.

The story should have been easy to write, especially after the kid’s stat line read 206 yards, 2 touchdowns, 18 of 25 passing, including 11 completions in a row in the second half, and whose coach would call his performance “a perfect football game.”

But there is one caveat: The kid is black, and, well, black, intelligent, focused and poised quarterbacks for some reason don’t get the same love as their white counterparts.