NFL: A study in racial separation by position

Categories: Sports

Toward the closure of the Vikings entertaining and wholly impressive (sans another special teams score allowed) 35-14 road victory over playoff-bound Arizona, a friend and myself were discussing the impressive rebirth of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.  T-Jack's 4 TD's and 135.5 passer rating followed his solid 1 score and 143.8 relief effort of the Purple's Week 14 win over Detroit.

As the contest concluded and myriad sportswriters undoubtedly began lauding Jackson in the manner of which he is surely deserving, my own conversation continued, and eventually morphed into the time-tested discussion of the dearth of black quarterbacks in the NFL.  When our talk had concluded and the Sunday eve game began between the Giants and Cowboys, I was standing outside smoking a cig in 9-degree weather and it dawned upon me that, in very large part, when querying myself on what color a starting NFL player is at any position, almost every answer -- a la the white quarterback -- came back with swift definition and image.  As I was soon to find, only the Offensive Line and Tight End positions, respectively, offer any real mesh of color.  


The objective of this space and the numbers herein, gentle reader, are not to profess nor write through my own consideration of this complex subject.  Rather, I've just got the "racial separation by position" numbers for you.  Should said results channel into your own phone, saloon, or City Pages commentary discussions is something that I will personally be most interested in viewing, in regard to the latter.

Here's the breakdown, based on updated starting lineups from Week 15 into Week 16, with alignments derived from ESPN depth charts:

Quarterback (32 starters)

26- White (81 percent)
6- Black (19 percent) 

Wide Receiver (64 starters)

59- Black (92 percent)
3- White (5 percent)
1- Other (2 percent)

Running Back (32 starters)

32- Black (100 percent)

Fullback (32 starters)

21- Black (66 percent)
10- White (31 percent)
1- Other (3 percent)

Tight End (32 starters)

18- White (56 percent)
13- Black (41 percent)
1- Other (3 percent)

Offensive Line (160 starters)

79- White (49 percent)
72- Black (45 percent)
8- Other (5 percent)

Defensive Line (119 starters)

94- Black (79 percent)
21- White (18 percent)
4- Other (3 percent)

Defensive Back (128 starters)

123- Black (96 percent)
4- White (3 percent)
1- Other (1 percent)

Linebacker (105 starters)

78- Black (74 percent)
23- White (22 percent)
4- Other (4 percent)

Placekicker (32 starters)

32- White (100 percent)

Punter (32 starters)

31- White (97 percent)
1- Black (3 percent)

 

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