So Vince Young is now 7-1 this year as a starting QB for the Tennessee Titans. He replaced Kerry Collins, who was 0-6 as a starter. Vince Young’s career record as a starter is 25-12. Oh, by the way, at Texas he won a national championship and was 30-2. He’s a winner. Yet after he took over and started winning for the Titans this year, ESPN’s Merril Hoge said that Titans RB Chris Johnson had to do more for his team than any other player in the league. Well, Johnson was playing when the Titans were 0-6.
A couple of weeks ago Hoge said he was going to “bury the hatchet.” Why the need to bury the hatchet if you didn’t have an axe to grind? Why not just be objective and unbiased? Why the animosity against Young? Earlier this year, Ron Jaworski, Trent Dilfer, Tim Hasselbeck, Mark Schlereth, Steve Young and other ESPN commentators talked about how Young was a bad QB and how he could only play outside the pocket. The disdain they had for him was apparent. They mocked him. But eight games is enough of a sample to realize that Young winning isn’t a fluke.
It’s true that Johnson is the best running back in the league, but it’s not as if Young has great receivers. Nate Washington, Justin Gage, and Kenny Britt aren’t bad, but DBs don’t especially fear them. Maybe Young has improved his ability to make decisions and work habits. But even before this season he was 18-11. He’s only in his fourth year, and he hardly played last year.
I think we have to raise the question: was the media biased against Young because he is black? Young isn’t the first black quarterback to be mocked by members of the white media. Michael Vick has a career record of 38-28-1 as a starter, but the criticism about his ability as a QB has been unrelenting. Take away the dogfighting controversy — that’s a separate issue. You would think that Vick can’t read a defense by listening to some of the comments about him. I have a pretty good idea that if a white quarterback was 25-12 or 38-28-1, he’d be getting a lot more praise. The standard is much higher for black quarterbacks.
At the same time, white quarterbacks are allowed to make mistakes. Look at Jay Cutler. Basically, if you had listened to the media reaction, Cutler was the second coming when he was traded from the Broncos to the Bears. He has a career record of 22-28. (He did have a winning record in high school, though). I suggested earlier this year that he be the first player ever to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame while still playing: 2009/11/12/should-jay-cutler-be-immediately-put-in-the-nfl-hall-of-fame/
Interestingly, in that same blog, I talked about the fact that the Cleveland Browns needed to give Joshua Cribbs more playing time including at QB. Cribbs was a QB in college and set all kinds of records at Kent State, but was never given the chance to be a QB in the NFL. He had two 100-yard kickoff returns for TDs today, and eight for his career — an NFL record. He also runs for six yards a carry. He also threw a perfect pass in the end zone that was dropped. I suggested that the Redskins trade for him earlier this year. Cribbs is clearly one of the 10 best players in the NFL.
Anyway, another possibility of why ESPN hated Young so much was because he had depression earlier in his career. Hoge and the others may have been discriminating against Young because of this. They may have equated depression with weakness. If someone has a concussion you don’t laugh at them for it.
Sorry, Hoge. Young has won more than twice as many games as he has lost. But I guess you don’t like winners.