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At Super Bowl, Seahawks Quietly Writing History With African-American Quarterbacks

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson runs drills with his team on Friday before Sunday's Super Bowl. (Matt York/AP)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson runs drills with his team on Friday before Sunday's Super Bowl. (Matt York/AP)
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Twenty-seven years after Washington quarterback Doug Williams made history as the first African-American quarterback to play in a Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks are continuing to make history by playing in the title game for the second year in a row without a white quarterback on the roster.

Starting quarterback Russell Wilson and backups Tavaris Jackson and B.J. Daniels are African-American.

"We have three African-American quarterbacks who were here last year," Wilson said Tuesday while preparing for Super Bowl. "And that's just pretty cool to me. That's history. I'm grateful. I think that shows how our world's changing, slowly but surely, we're getting better."

"We have three African-American quarterbacks who were here last year...I think that shows how our world's changing, slowly but surely, we're getting better."

Russell Wilson

Jackson says he grew up watching African-American role models under center such as Randall Cunningham and Warren Moon. But he acknowledges that Seattle's quarterback depth chart is still a contrast to the white quarterbacks predominantly featured in vintage NFL films.

"It's the history of the game, gotta love that," Jackson said. "But history's being made here, too. Hopefully, down the line, when those commercials are being shown, you'll see Russell in there, you'll see other guys in there, too."

All three quarterbacks are uneasy about making a big deal about the history they're making.

B.J. Daniels said, "It's not to the point that you want to make it a big deal, but it's somewhat of a big deal to the younger kids out there. I feel like you have three young men who have beat the odds, making it to a level of football that's truly a blessing."

Wilson said he's glad it's not a major topic of conversation, but he still likes to bring it up. He credits head coach Pete Carroll, general manager John Schneider and Seahawks owner Paul Allen for giving the quarterback corps the opportunity.

"It's not about race," Wilson said. "It's about history."

It's also about performance, and as a defending Super Bowl champion and one of the NFL's star quarterbacks, Wilson is on top.

More Super Bowl Coverage From WBUR:

Curt Nickisch Twitter Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.

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