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Russell & Race

"Is Seattle's D the greatest of all time? How is Manning's legacy impacted by such a crushing defeat? Can Seattle become the next great dynasty?"

All these questions were presented by the talking heads after the Superbowl. In-depth analysis of the game and questions regarding the personalities involved, dominated media discussion as expected. As a lot of State fans I immersed myself in the afterglow of a victory for so many Pack players especially Russell Wilson. Yet there was one factoid that I failed to recognize and didn't see until I happened to catch it on Twitter. Russell Wilson is only the second African-American QB to win the Superbowl with Doug Williams, of the STILL curiously named Washington Redskins, being the first.

The issue of race and athletics rarely ever comes up when discussing Russell's position as QB of a professional football team. Most the talk focuses on his strange path to the league and even more on all the doubters of his success because of his size. During my father's generation, seeing a successful black quarterback in professional football was an anomaly and seeing one that wasn't ONLY described as "athletic" or "strong" or "has great instincts" was even more rare. Now Russell's victory should spark these discussions again but it won't. The narratives have already been written and the media has already moved on to discussing the next season. Such a significant moment in sports history has been met with relative silence. I suppose some would argue that Russell's race doesn't matter but it most assuredly does. African-American kids got to see a black quarterback who had been praised for his poise and decision-making, outplay possibly the most cerebral QB in history, Peyton Manning. An image goes a long way and the positive affect it already has should not be loss in the Superbowl shuffle.

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