Strong Arm Tactics:

A History and Statistical Analysis of the Professional Quarterback

 

The first consensus All American black starting quarterback at a major university was Sandy Stephens of Minnesota, but he drew no interest from the NFL or AFL as a quarterback and headed to Canada for a chance to call signals. However, the first black quarterback in the CFL was Bernie Custis from Syracuse who was an All Star in his 1951 rookie season although he later shifted to running back. Black quarterbacks were routinely switched to receiver, runner or defensive back in the NFL for decades. While NFL opportunities for black quarterbacks were next to nonexistent in the 1970s, many of the growing crop of black college quarterbacks chose to go to the CFL rather than be forced to change positions in the NFL. The most famous of these reluctant exiles were Chuck Ealey, Jimmy Jones, Cornelius Greene, Jimmy Streater, J.C. Watts, Condredge Holloway and Warren Moon. Not all were successful, but Hall of Famer Moon changed everything. He was not drafted despite quarterbacking the Washington Huskies to the Rose Bowl title in 1978. After six spectacular seasons and five championships in the CFL, Moon signed with the Oilers as a free agent in 1984 and became the NFL's first black quarterback star. The CFL continues to provide playing opportunities to overlooked black quarterbacks today, and this table lists the statistics of the most noteworthy ones through the 2007 season.

Prominent Black Quarterbacks in the CFL

NAME LEAGUE YEARS ATT COMP COMP % YARDS Y/ATT Y/COMP TD INT Rating
Damon Allen CFL 1985-07 9138 5158 56.4% 72381 7.9 14.0 394 278 83.8
Tracy Ham CFL 1987-99 4945 2670 54.0% 40534 8.2 15.2 284 164 86.6
Condredge Holloway CFL 1975-87 3013 1710 56.8% 25193 8.4 14.7 155 94 88.4
Roy Dewalt CFL 1982-88 3130 1803 57.6% 24147 7.7 13.4 132 96 83.5
Danny Barrett CFL 1983-96 3078 1656 53.8% 23419 7.6 14.1 133 83 81.8
Henry Burris CFL 1998-00, 2003-07 2658 1537 57.8% 22678 8.5 14.8 138 92 88.7
Khari Jones CFL 1997-04 2648 1513 57.1% 21383 8.1 14.1 145 104 85.2
Warren Moon CFL 1978-83 2382 1369 57.5% 21228 8.9 15.5 144 77 93.8
Kerry Joseph CFL 2003-07 2251 1337 59.4% 18413 8.2 13.8 103 78 86.5
Kevin Glenn CFL 2001-07 2050 1204 58.7% 16667 8.1 13.8 101 89 83.2
Marcus Crandell CFL 1997-99, 2001-07 2211 1230 55.6% 16303 7.4 13.3 79 85 75.1
Reggie Slack CFL 1993-99, 2002 2145 1220 56.9% 15759 7.3 12.9 83 74 78.6
Nealon Greene CFL 1998-07 2018 1192 59.1% 14518 7.2 12.2 78 56 82.6
Chuck Ealey CFL 1972-78 1726 955 55.3% 13326 7.7 14.0 82 69 79.5
JC Watts CFL 1981, 1983-86 1608 851 52.9% 12414 7.7 14.6 66 93 67.9
Jimmy Jones CFL 1973-79 1721 950 55.2% 12405 7.2 13.1 72 84 71.7
Ricky Foggie CFL 1988-95 1433 660 46.1% 10743 7.5 16.3 64 74 65.1
Casey Printers CFL 2003-05 712 457 64.2% 6763 9.5 14.8 45 16 106.9
Bernard Quarles CFL 1983-86 802 430 53.6% 6489 8.1 15.1 30 40 72.2
Michael Bishop CFL 2002-07 813 396 48.7% 6187 7.6 15.6 41 43 69.2
Steve Taylor CFL 1989-95 652 366 56.1% 4947 7.6 13.5 35 26 81.8
Turner Gill CFL 1984-85 727 411 56.5% 4928 6.8 12.0 23 32 69.6
Carroll Williams CFL 1967-69 557 282 50.6% 4720 8.5 16.7 29 48 61.0
Homer Jordan CFL 1983-86 534 297 55.6% 4169 7.8 14.0 21 26 73.8
Don McPherson CFL 1991-93 497 211 42.5% 3248 6.5 15.4 14 28 50.6
Brian Ransom CFL 1986 494 247 50.0% 3204 6.5 13.0 9 25 55.8
Marcus Brady CFL 2002-07 445 227 51.0% 3122 7.0 13.8 13 15 69.5
Jarious Jackson CFL 2005-07 389 207 53.2% 3060 7.9 14.8 21 12 84.3
Sandy Stephens CFL 1962-63 408 198 48.5% 2823 6.9 14.3 22 38 50.5
Spergon Wynn CFL 2003-04, 2006 246 160 65.0% 2003 8.1 12.5 11 5 96.6
Matthew Reed CFL 1976-78 303 133 43.9% 1945 6.4 14.6 11 18 52.8
Tony Kimbrough CFL 1990-92 268 132 49.3% 1867 7.0 14.1 7 6 71.5
Karl Douglass CFL 1973-75 242 105 43.4% 1693 7.0 16.1 11 22 44.7
Andre Ware CFL 1995-97 249 134 53.8% 1542 6.2 11.5 10 10 69.4
Keithen McCant CFL 1994-95 215 117 54.4% 1508 7.0 12.9 12 13.0 70.1
Nickie Hall CFL 1983-84 194 84 43.3% 1324 6.8 15.8 4 6.0 60.6
Brad Banks CFL 2004-07 178 97 54.5% 1187 6.7 12.2 9 8 73.4
Shawn Moore CFL 1995 150 74 49.3% 1002 6.7 13.5 4 7 60.5
Walter Lewis CFL 1985-86 135 65 48.1% 833 6.2 12.8 3 8 50.6
Mark Stevens CFL 1985-86 79 39 49.4% 484 6.1 12.4 2 5 50.8
Willie Gillus CFL 1989-91 65 25 38.5% 446 6.9 17.8 2 5 40.9
Major Harris CFL 1990 42 18 42.9% 300 7.1 16.7 3 0 91.4
Dave Lewis CFL 1967-68 35 13 37.1% 272 7.8 20.9 0 2 41.6
Reggie Collier CFL 1987 20 10 50.0% 154 7.7 15.4 2 3 69.6
Jimmy Streater CFL 1980 24 9 37.5% 141 5.9 15.7 2 2 50.9
Tommie Frazier CFL 1996 17 6 35.3% 55 3.2 9.2 0 1 20.5
Pete Hall CFL 1962 14 6 42.9% 55 3.9 9.2 0 0 54.2
John Henry Jackson CFL 1961 4 2 50.0% 8 2.0 4.0 0 0 56.3

 

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Updated 9/08/08