But, steps were being taken to burn this house down. The first athlete to show that an African-American can lead a football team as a quarterback was Fritz Pollard. Here is a man that the NFL rarely talks about and in contributions to history are just as important as any other athlete of his time. During his time with Akron, Pollard led the team to an undefeated season with a record, which was a first in professional football. Next, Fritz Pollard coached the Hammonds Pros in ; this was a pioneering move to becoming the first African American coach of a professional team.
After coaching 3 seasons, Pollard went back to the Akron Pros for one year in and then left professional football. Being a pioneer and showing society that African-Americans could compete equally with their white counterparts one might think the resentment toward the African-American athlete would change. This only showed that the struggle had just begun. In , Willie Thrower played one game where he completed three passes for 27 yards and threw one interception. During the 53 season, there were 15 African-American players in a league that had 12 teams.
Along with Thrower, there were one other African-American that played the quarterback position in 53; his name was George Tailiaferro. Looking at this segment of NFL history, one must ask, " Why African-Americans were not given the same opportunity as the white player? During these times excuses came up: You are too good an athlete. Let's switch you to a speed position; such as receiver or defensive back, You scramble too much. During the 50s and 60s the civil rights movement is becoming louder.
The attitude of the New Negro is being felt by more many in the African-American community. With the movement gaining ground the African-American athlete is starting to exploit the traditional thinking of the NFL.
Still, the quarterback position was a barrier that was considered off limits, but the wall was being brought down. Many teams would not give African-Americans the opportunity to show off their skills at the quarterback position for an extended period of time; but when some individuals were given the chance they proved they could play the game. One individual that proved that he could play with any of the white quarterbacks and put up the same numbers was Marlin Briscoe.
Here was a man that garnered All-American honors as a quarterback at University of Nebraska-Omaha and was selected by the Denver Broncos is the late 60s. In , Briscoe started five games for the Broncos and during this time he threw 14 touchdown passes. His 14 touchdown passes was a team record for a rookie quarterback at that time. Even though Marlin Briscoe had certainly established himself as a NFL quarterback, he would be switched to the wide receiver position when he signed with the Buffalo Bills in This common practice showed that the white NFL was not going to let an African-American lead a team for an extended period of time.
Black professional athletes say they were underpaid, shunted into certain stereotyped positions and treated like sub-humans by Paleolithic coaches who regarded them as watermelon-eating idiots The Black Athlete Revisited: Then the old attitude of years pass shows up again: The Black Athlete Revisited: As the 70s came about African-American athletes were starting to fight back. They were not going to change their position for the pleasure of "Charlie" the white man and they were going to change the perception that had been held by the NFL for so long.
In , James Harris was going to change this perception and no one was going to make him change to another position because of the color of his skin, his athletic ability, or his so-called lack of intellect. Here was an athlete that was the prototype quarterback everyone wanted: Scouts wanted James Harris to play the typical stereotyped position for the African-American athlete, but he declined. Because of his stand, James Harris was not picked until the eight round by the Buffalo Bills.
As he states, "You have to know that you are a QB, no matter what. Another 70s quarterback was Joe Gilliam of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Leading the Steelers to a record in the first six weeks of the 74 season, Gilliam was on of the hottest quarterbacks in the league. But, he started throwing interceptions and he lost his starting job to future Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw after his only loss. After the 74 season Joe Gilliam never started another game.
Still, white America was not ready to see an African-American lead a team. Evans, New York Amsterdam News, pp. Although, many athletes had showed that they could play the position and win the prevailing attitude that white America held onto was that Blacks were intellectually incapable to command an offense. So, as one can plainly see it was not the intellect or the athletic ability that hindered many African-Americans a chance to play a position that they thrived in during their college careers it was the attitude of white society.
This attitude was not only held to the football field, it was held in the cities and towns all across the country. All through the years African-Americans have proven time and time again that they could play the position of quarterback. From Fritz Pollard to James Harris, fans and personnel saw that an African-American could play just as good as any of the white ball players.
But, the eerie bigotry and ignorance of the white society kept trying to reinforce into the African-American culture that no African-American could ever truly lead an NFL team at all and definitely never to the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl victory. Enter the dawn of the eighties; African-Americans were not backing down to the oppression of white society. They were not going to sacrifice their dream because someone told them they had to change. Many African-Americans who were not given an opportunity to play their position in the U.
But, some were determined to make it here in the states and they were going to break down all the barriers and succeed. The one quarterback that personified this cause in the eighties was Doug Williams. When Doug Williams arrived the Buccaneers were a terrible team, but after his arrival he gave them hope.
During his career with the Buccaneers, Williams led them to the playoff three times in five years. But, this was not good enough since they were always eliminated in the first round. He would receive racist letters, gifts, death threats but he kept on playing not to be discouraged. Here was a man who started, led a team to the playoff and is 46th out of 83 quarterbacks on the pay scale. This was just another example of white societies dual labor market. Then, in the head coach of the Washington Redskins, Joe Gibbs, called Williams and asked him to come play for Washington.
Williams accepted the job of being the back up to Jay Schroeder. In the world was going to witness history and this event was going to shock white America, since it was their views that tried to keep African-American athletes from flourishing in the role as quarterback. Here was Doug Williams going against the great white quarterback and everyone thought this would prove that no African-American could lead a team to victory over the more intelligent white quarterback. Doug Williams had brought the wall down on white society.
As we look at the present with the Steve McNairs, Michael Vicks, Donovan McNabbs, Aaron Brooks, and Daunte Culpeppers of the league, one must see that the pioneers through the ages paved the way for the present situation.
Fritz Pollard, Willie Thrower, Marlin Briscoe, James Harris, Joe Gilliam, and Doug Williams all made key contributions to help the present day quarterback get his shot, his opportunity to play the position that he wants to play and not by the stereotype of white America. Like any sport we want to make sure that the athletes stay healthy; in the early stages of football that was not happing.
This created some more rules to the game to ensure greater safety to the players. The forward pass was introduce as well as receivers being able to catch the ball anywhere on the field of play, tightening up the line of scrimmage at the sap of the ball, rough mass plays were prohibited, the locking of arms by teammates to clear the way for the ball carrier was band, the length of the game was shortened and the neutral zone was established.
In the game of football had spread beyond a few ivy league schools. Within a 20 year period, football was a sport that stretched from the east , through the heartland of the west coast. In was when the national professional league was born.
In it transformed into the vastly familiar National Football League witch had 18 teams at the time. Although football coming along their were still problems making the sport go national.
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The history of professional football can be traced back to the late s. In , William Heffelinger, a former star guard for Yale University, accepted $, plus expenses, to play for the Allegheny Athletic Association.
American football resulted from several major divergences from rugby, most notably the rule changes instituted by Walter Camp, considered the "Father of American Football". Among these important changes were the introduction of the line of scrimmage and of down-and-distancerules.
At the beginning of the 19th century several types of the game, all permitting players to kick the ball but not carry it, were being played at various English schools, including Eton, Harrow, and Rugby(Magoun p9). The modern version of football originated in England, where a form of the game was 3/5(4). History of Football Essay Words | 8 Pages. HISTORY OF FOOTBALL The history of football is interesting as well as exciting, from the first forms of the game ever played, to the multi million dollar organizations of today. The game continues to evolve and change with the times. Football is a sport that evolved from many different games.
The National Football League didn’t just appear out of nowhere, it first started off as collages playing more of a rugby style football. The two universities that kick start football was Rutgers and Princeton. The game of football has a history of constant rule changes because it starting up from two sports. HISTORY OF FOOTBALL The history of football is interesting as well as exciting, from the first forms of the game ever played, to the multi million dollar organizations of today. The game continues to evolve and change with the times.