the Black Quarterbacks Who Revolutionized Pro Football
In Rocket Men, sportswriter John Eisenberg offers the definitive history of Black quarterbacks in the league-men who not only shaped the history of football, but made indelible contributions to the cause of civil rights in America. As Eisenberg recounts, white coaches, scouts, and team owners long perceived Black players as unfit for the quarterback position. Believing Black athletes could not play "in thinking roles," they relegated them to running back, defensive back, and receiver positions. In the late 1960s, a few teams began to bring on Black quarterbacks once more. Players like James "Shack" Harris and Marlin Briscoe proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Black men could play the position just as well--if not better--than their white peers. Yet it wouldn't be until the 1990s, when the league began hiring more Black coaches and general managers, that Black quarterbacks truly got the opportunity to shine. When they did, they transformed the game. Drawing on exclusive interviews with dozens of Black quarterbacks and the players, coaches, and managers who work alongside them, Rocket Men is a reminder of how much Black quarterbacks have had to overcome to gain a space in pro football, and a celebration of the athletes and activists who paved the way for today's Black quarterbacks to triumph.
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