NFL teams did something in Week 1 of the season that has never been done before in league history, and Cam Newton was a part of it.
The New England Patriots starter was one of 10 black quarterbacks to start in Week 1 of the NFL season. That’s the most in a season opener in league history.
A historic week for Black QBs in the NFL 👏
— ESPN (@espn) September 14, 2020
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Why This Event Is Important
During a time in our country where racial equality is such a volatile topic, and the NFL has historically played a negative role in this conversation, it’s refreshing to see so many black men getting an opportunity to play a position that had been kept away from them for years.
For decades, African-Americans were often discouraged and pushed away from the quarterback position as they weren’t seen as smart enough, nor were they considered to be the kinds of leaders suitable for such a coveted role.
However, with the last two MVPs of the NFL being African-American (the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson), and with other top performers such as the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson sitting on the upper-echelon of their positional rankings, the stereotypes have been proven incorrect multiple times.
The 10 black starting quarterbacks serve as some validation and progress in one small, but yet a high-profile piece of our society.
Why Cam Newton’s Spot Is Especially Noteworthy
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Cam Newton leads the #Patriots to the 21-11 victory with 2 rushing TDs. Here's a breakdown of the stats and notables from the Week 1 win over the #dolphins Scoring Summary SECOND QUARTER MIA NE TD 13:12 Cam Newton 4 Yd Run (Nick Folk Kick) 11 plays, 80 yards, 6:11 Score: 0-7 FG 3:53 Jason Sanders 46 Yd Field Goal 10 plays, 59 yards, 5:16 Score: 3-7 THIRD QUARTER MIA NE TD 10:14 Cam Newton 11 Yd Run (Nick Folk Kick) 8 plays, 75 yards, 4:46 Score: 3-14 FOURTH QUARTER MIA NE TD 10:31 Jordan Howard 1 Yd Run (Ryan Fitzpatrick Run for Two-Point Conversion) 11 plays, 80 yards, 5:23 Score: 11-14 TD 5:23 Sony Michel 1 Yd Run (Nick Folk Kick) 10 plays, 75 yards, 5:08 Score: 11-21 Cam Newton – 15/19 for 155 yards, 0 TD, 15 rushes 75 yds, 2 TDs Sony Michel 36yds, 1 TD Stephon Gilmore 1 INT Adrian Phillips 1 INT J.C. Jackson 1 INT Derek Rivers 1 Sack #Patriots #NewEnglandPatriots #CamNewton #StephonGilmore #DevinMcCourty #JasonMcCourty #LawrenceGuy #ChaseWinovich #JoshUche #KyleDugger #JoeThuney #JamesHarris #LamarMiller #JarrettStidham #AdamButler #DariusKilgo #DevinAsiasi #DaltonKeene #JulianEdelman #NKealHarry #MohamedSanu #DavidAndrews #BillBelichick #RobertKraft #AFCEast #AFC #NFL #JustinRohrwasser
Newton’s spot is especially noteworthy because the Patriots have had a Black quarterback so infrequently throughout their history. Perhaps much of that is due to the team having nearly unprecedented consistency and longevity from one player at the position in Tom Brady. Still, the fact that Newton is the only Week 1 black quarterback in Patriots’ history, and just the second ever to start a game for the franchise is significant, and it’s not a concept that is lost on the former NFL MVP.
“Yeah, it’s a big deal. It’s really a big deal,” Newton said. “I understand who I am. I understand being an African-American in this time, we have to be stronger and sticking with each other more than ever now. This is a great feat to achieve, but at the end of the day we have to make sure we’re using our platform for positive reasons, and that’s what I want to do. I want to prove to people that there’s more to a person than what you see on the outer level. I’m a person who got second and third and fourth chances in my life, and yet through it all, it should always be about what that person’s about, not what that person looks like.”
Congratulations are in order for Newton and the Patriots on their Week 1 win over the Dolphins and their part in the memorable day in NFL history.