Tyrod Taylor and the Struggle of the Black Quarterback 

Just days prior, Tyrod Taylor was benched by his team. And no, he didn’t deserve what happened to him. The Buffalo Bills were looking way better than they had been looking years prior. That is until they made changes to their roster that affected their offense and defense. Also, it makes no sense when Taylor only had one really “bad” game while they are in the thick of a playoff hunt. Then again, it has been said that Sean McDermott has been looking for a reason to bench Taylor. He found his reason and put Nathan Peterman in at starter against the Chargers.


That experiment didn’t end well; in fact, it was aborted prematurely. Peterman ended off the night going for 6 for 14 for 66 yards, no touchdowns, 5 INTs, and a lowly 17.9 QB rating. He was quickly taken out of the game in the second quarter. That means ALL of those interceptions came in the first half. While I try to figure out if that is a record (he is second in INTs for NFL debut starts), it has to be said that putting Tyrod Taylor in the game was a no brainer.


And that is the particular struggle of being a black quarterback. To be a black QB means a shorter leash and a career that may seem to be on borrowed time.


Tyrod Taylor Was The Victim of Quarterbacking While Black


To see where the problem is with the benching of Tyrod Taylor, one would have to look at his numbers for the season. Before the New Orleans game, Taylor never had a game where his QB rating was below 80 (average of 91 for the year thus far). Actually, many of his games were above 90. He has only thrown for 3 interceptions and his throwing percentage has an average of 64%. He has thrown for 11 and ran for 3 touchdowns. He is great? No. Is he suitable? Absolutely.


And yet, McDermott found it in his best power to bench a man that was actually being halfway productive in the middle of a playoff hunt? Senseless.


McDermott broke two rules of coaching in the NFL with this silly move. The first rule is that a coach should never go against their quarterback with such a move. It was hasty at best. Also, Taylor had been performing much better than previously. And then there is the other reason: no coach should give up on their QB in the middle of a playoff race. Who would take time to break up any momentum that could have been established? Sean McDermott would.


Think about this for a second: would this had happened with a white QB in Taylor’s position? In most cases, I would say no. The only time I recall anything like this was Alex Smith for Colin Kaepernick. And look at where Colin Kaepernick is now: black balled for reasons besides football. And this is the issue with black quarterbacks: there are so few of us that our performance has to be, at the very least, pretty damn productive. Otherwise, we will get pulled for any reason.


If anyone needs any further explanation on what I am speaking of, then think about what Nick Wright has to say about it all:


Tyrod Taylor, this year, is one of four different quarterbacks with 10+ touchdowns and 3 or fewer picks. The other guys are Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Alex Smith. Tyrod Taylor, for his career, has the lowest interception rate in NFL history…I’m gonna say what I thought right when this happened and it is gonna make people uncomfortable but I ask for you to listen with an open mind. This flatly does not happen to a white quarterback. The margin of error and “prove it” level for black QBs coming out of college and once they get to the pros is so drastically different than their white counterparts. That is why Russell Wilson falls to the third round behind a guy like Brandon Weeden. That is why Dak Prescott falls to the fourth round behind a guy like Christian Hackenberg. That is why Deshaun Watson is not even considered for the number one overall pick despite dominating in college year after year. That is why Tyrod Taylor falls to the sixth round and gets replaced by Nathan Peterman. In order for a black quarterback, even til this day, to be considered a blue chipper out of college, you know what you gotta do? Go win the Heisman trophy and maybe the national championship. Cam Newton did that. And then there was still debate whether or not Blaine Gabbert should have been picked ahead of him.


After all that Nick said, what is there really left to say? This isn’t guesstimation. This is historical context, facts, statistics, and real issues.


The Tyrod Taylor Saga Continues


At the end of the day, Tyrod Taylor did not get a fair shake. Sean McDermott made an obvious mistake and paid for it by losing a game that could have been won from the beginning. Then again, much of the mistake was corrected once they put Taylor back in. And this is the cycle of life for the black quarterback in the NFL: to be considered, we have to be extremely great and the shelf life is limited to being damn near mistake free. Then again, doesn’t this reflect how many black people are treated in real life?


‘Nuff Said and ‘Nuff Respect!!!