Friday, January 21, 2005

Not a big deal anymore

Until reading this article by the Washington Post's Leonard Shapiro yesterday, it hadn't occurred to me that NFL "history" is being made this coming Sunday. For the first time, two teams with African-American quarterbacks - the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles - will be playing each other in a National Football League semi-final game. And for a sport that previously seemed to believe that black players weren't intelligent enough and lacked the leadership skills to play quarterback, this is a notable occasion. So it was appropriate for several sports writers (including Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post and Terry Foster of the Detroit News) to point this out.

But as I said, this didn't even register with me while thinking about Sunday's game. That's because it's not even an issue anymore. And that's the true progress, in my opinion. Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick are great players - period - and that's why their respective teams are playing for the chance to go to the Super Bowl on Sunday. When two black quarterbacks play each other in that big game, that'll be big news too. But after that, let's put the issue to rest (and then move on to address why teams aren't hiring African-American head coaches).

-- By the way, the Eagles and Patriots will win their games on Sunday and face each other in two weeks in Super Bowl XXXIX. (I think I have those Roman numerals right.) I know those aren't bold picks, but I think they're the two better teams. Philadelphia's defense will contain Michael Vick's running and passing abilities, and Atlanta won't be able to stop Philly's running back Brian Westbrook. And New England will do what they always do, play efficiently on offense with heartthrob quarterback Tom Brady, and disrupt the Pittsburgh Steelers with their defense.

Patriots 20, Steelers 16 and Eagles 31, Falcons 23. I'm hoping for two close games. And if I'm right on both of this, this blog might become a betting site next year.