Are the Steelers the First NFL Team With Three Black Quarterbacks?

DESCRIPTIONBarton Silverman/The New York Times Charlie Batch

Correct me if I’m wrong – I couldn’t find mention of it anywhere – but as the NFL season opens, the Pittsburgh Steelers would seem to be the only team that’s ever had three black quarterbacks on its 53-man roster: Dennis Dixon, Byron Leftwich, and Charlie Batch.

This will only be the case until the Steelers’ regular QB, Ben Roethlisberger, returns from his four-game suspension. I can think of plenty of NFL teams with two black quarterbacks – McNair/Young, McNabb/Vick, Garrard/Leftwich – but none with three. Any help?

FWIW, the Steelers’ emergency QB, if all the others were to fall (and Leftwich is already injured), is Antwaan Randle El, a wide receiver who played quarterback in college – and is also black.

And if things got really bad, I’m guessing the Steelers would turn to receiver Hines Ward, another former college QB (who is also black). Honestly, I would love to see that, since the hit-happy Ward would probably try to sack a sacker.

All this is particularly fitting for a team that boasted one of the first premiere black quarterbacks in the league, the late Joe Gilliam.


The 2005 and 2006 Jaguars had Quinn Gray, in addition to Garrard and Leftwich. Although in 2005, white wide receiver Matt Jones did attempt three passes.


Also, Ward in half-black. He's half-Korean and was born in Seoul.


Darn, that means we can't elect Ward President. Off to plan B

G. Hey Sim

well, if you have 2% African-American blood in you, you are considered black.... Tiger is BLACK also! FYI, so is Miriah Carey

Matt W

Don't forget that Steeler's owner, Dan Rooney, pushed for the Rooney rule which requires teams interview at least one minority candidate for coaching positions.

The Rooney's also say that's what led them to hiring Mike Tomlin.


It's a sign of progress, in a sense, if the fact isn't mentioned anywhere (else). Thankfully, it's not that big a deal anymore.

Now if we can only get some female Asian quarterbacks...


Again, what is the point of the article? So what, there are three black quarterbacks? Is your point that "barriers" are broken? Did Obama help us get to this "phenomenon"? Really, the more we point out so-called deficiencies in life because of color, the less our chance of looking past color.


And I should care whether or not the QBs are black? Maybe you could check for us and see how many teams have black kickers or punters. As if that matters too.


@Tank: I'll assume you were being sarcastic, because if Ward's dad was an American citizen when Hines was born, Hines is an American citizen no matter where he was born. So he could be president.


What a racist story? I herd this mentioned the other day in conversation and I was extremely proud of my country (myself included) that most people didnt even realize there were 3 black quarterbacks. We need to move past racism and i think alotta people are. There is no need to look at a football teams roster and say oh look at that 3 black quarters backs. How bout we just talk about these guys as men instead of writing stories on the color of their skin


Who cares what race a QB is? It doesn't matter.

Are you going to write an article if there are 3 or more starting white players on an NBA team? Probably not.

And the Steelers are a terrible organization altogether. (Yes, I am a Ravens fan.)


Get back to me when you find a team with more than 1 white running back. So many people like to point out relative shortages of blacks at certain positions, but seem not to notice when an entire position is almost completely devoid of whites.


@emw -Is that a joke? I'm not very familiar with the circumstances of Ward's birth, but based on a Times article from last year, it sounds like his mother was not an American at the time of his birth.
This, coupled with the fact that he was born abroad, would make his filling the "natural-born citizen" requirement unlikely. There was even some debate about McCain's eligibility, and he was born to two American parents in Panama.


2009 Tampa Bay Bucs:
Bryon Leftwich
Josh Freeman
Josh Johnson


Stop bringing up differences about people. We are just all Americans now after the 200+ years of this country being in existence.

Everyone has at least a little of each race in them. No one is 100% anything anymore, so let's just go with the country we are in as a race.




During that 05-06 stretch in Jacksonville, the conventional wisdom was that, in perhaps slightly racist north Florida, the Jags needed black backup quarterbacks to prevent the fan base from demanding that the white backup play over the black starter. Perhaps the real issue was that Byron Leftwich took (and still takes) an eternity to get rid of the ball, so fan bases tend to demand that his backup play regardless of race.


What a racist article. Doesn't the author have an Obummer rally he should be attending somewhere?


@Tank #2: Hines Ward was born as the son of an American serviceman serving abroad so he is automatically a US citizen and entitled to run for president.
The same as John McCain who was born in Panama.


the jaguars had leftwich garrard and gray