It took until 2017 but all 32 NFL teams will finally have a black starting quarterback.
Jacoby Brissett’s fill-in duty for the Patriots in 2016 in the wake of Tom Brady’s suspension and Jimmy Garoppolo’s shoulder injury left the Giants as the only NFL team never to start an African-American under center. But with the Giants floundering and Eli Manning looking past his prime, the team decided it was time to give Geno Smith a chance.
Below is a list of the first black quarterback to start for each team.
Originally posted at: https://www.si.com/nfl/list-first-black-starting-quarterback-every-team
Briscoe was the first black quarterback to start a game in a major pro football league. He started his rookie season with the AFL’s Broncos in 1968 as a defensive back but moved to quarterback midseason. He started five games and was released after the season. He played eight more years in the NFL as a receiver, only throwing nine more passes.
Harris started the first game of the season for Buffalo in 1969, becoming the first black quarterback to start a season opener. It was his only start of the season
After seeing limited action in three seasons with the Bills, Harris was released. He caught on with the Rams in 1972 but didn’t make his first start until 1974. He started nine of their 12 games and was named to the Pro Bowl.
Jones made just one start in his lone NFL season. He completed one of five passes before yielding to Joe Namath. Jones was killed in a suspicious house fire in 2009.
Dickinson saw action in eight games as a rookie, making one start. He was released before the start of the 1977 season and attempted to convert to receiver with the Patriots in 1978 but did not make the team.
Mays started his career in the World Football League before signing with the Browns in 1976. His first significant action came one year later, when he started four games.
Evans spent two seasons as a backup before earning his first start in 1979. He started three games that year, 10 in 1980 and all 16 in 1981.
Moon went undrafted in 1978 and spent six seasons with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos. His NFL debut came in 1984 with the Oilers, and he spent 10 successful seasons in Houston.
Though he would go on to become one of the Eagles’ best quarterbacks ever, Cunningham’s first start was a flop. The rookie completed just 14 of 34 passes with four interceptions.
Collier’s career began in the USFL, but he joined the Cowboys in 1986. He made one start for Dallas and was released after the season. He played two games with the Steelers as a replacement player during the 1987 strike and later played in the Arena League.
Williams established himself with the Buccaneers in the late 70s and early 80s. His first start with Washington came in 1987, and later that year he became the first black quarterback to start in and win a Super Bowl.
The Lions drafted Peete out of USC in the sixth round of the 1989. He injured his knee in the final preseason game that year and did not make his debut until Week 4.
Blake played two years with the Jets as a backup before joining the Bengals in 1994 and became the starter midway through the season. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1995. (An earlier version of this post had Akili Smith as Cincinnati’s first black quarterback in 1999.)
The Vikings traded for the 38-year-old Moon and installed him as the starter. He spent three seasons in Minnesota.
Tony Banks took over after Scott Mitchell and Stoney Case didn’t cut it and opened the 2000 season as the starter, eventually ceding the job to Trent Dilfer after a rough October. Dilfer would lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl win that year. (An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Randall Cunningham (2001) started before Banks.)
Moon’s first start for the Chiefs, and his last in the NFL, came eight days after his 44th birthday. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.