The Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson has been wowing people all season with his running speed and ability to throw from in or out of the pocket. And the 22-year-old is a favorite to win league MVP.
In fact, his play has been so solid that out of the 50 voters who selected the Associated Press All-Pro team this year, 47 picked Jackson as quarterback.
One of the three people who didn’t vote for him include Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian, who in 2018 said the 6-foot-2 Jackson didn’t have what it takes to be an NFL quarterback due to what Polian characterized as his lack of height and passing accuracy.
Polian also said Jackson should be a wide receiver instead, and that was after he won the Heisman Trophy as a quarterback at the University of Louisville.
Polian’s comments raised eyebrows because it seemed to remind people of the old stereotype that Black players didn’t have the mental capacity to run an offense as quarterback. And they would be better suited running, catching or doing something else that isn’t considered as cerebral.
In fact, it was only in 1988 that Doug Williams became the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, which some might say put a major dent in that old stereotype.
“Short and a little bit slight,” said Polian about Jackson on ESPN two years ago. “Clearly, not the thrower that the other guys are. The accuracy isn’t there.”
Polian later admitted that he was wrong, but he still voted for the 5-foot-11 Russell Wilson for the All-Pro Team, and so did the other two voters who didn’t choose Jackson.
This season, Jackson threw for 36 touchdowns, the most of any quarterback, and rushed for 1,206 yards. And he only threw six interceptions. Jackson finished the regular season with a passer rating of 113.3, third in the league, and led the Ravens to the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs with a 14-2 record.