When you look at the current make-up of the NFL by positions…you’ll see in some cases it’s still a matter of black and white…..and green.
In the post WWII days after integration, quotas limiting the number of black players were commonplace, and black players were often stacked into the same positions to allow them to be eliminated as a matter of competition. According to several books, such as the autobiography of Vince Lombardi, black players were stacked at “speed” positions such as halfback and defensive back but were excluded from “intelligent” positions such as quarterback and center.
Today 67% of NFL players are black. The “intelligent” positions of quarterback features Black athletes who are smart and fast. During some weeks of the 2013 regular season, as many as nine black quarterbacks started for the N.F.L.’s thirty-two teams, setting a league record. Three of the four quarterbacks who started in the N.F.C. divisional playoffs are black—Wilson, Kaepernick, and Carolina’s Cam Newton.
Conversely, as a result of competition, the halfback and cornerback positions have seen a dominance of non-whites, particularly blacks. There are currently no white cornerbacks in the NFL and there have not been since New York Giants and St. Louis Rams cornerback Jason Sehorn retired in 2003, and even Sehorn had converted to safety by the end of his career.
Brian Leonard of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is the only white halfback playing regularly in the NFL as of the 2013 season; Peyton Hillis was the only such player in 2010 and 2011, and there were none in 2009 or 2012. As recently as 2005, no white halfbacks received a single carry, and no white running back rushed for 1,000 rushing yards in a season between Craig James in 1985 and Hillis in 2010. (James rose to prominence thanks to the United States Football League, which James played for as a member of the Washington Federals in 1983.)
Toby Gerhart has alleged race was a factor in why four running backs were drafted ahead of him in the 2010 NFL Draft and has yet to see significant action, although this is in part because Adrian Peterson, one of the league’s premier running backs, is on the same team as Gerhart. There are also allegations that racial profiling exists at the lower levels of the game that discourages white players from playing halfback.
Black is the most common race at every position except for center, kicker, long snapper, offensive lineman, punter, quarterback and tight end. In other skill positions, 23 of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL were white at the start of the 2013 season, with only one black starting kicker among the 32 NFL rosters. Whites also slightly outnumber blacks at tight end and offensive line. There are currently two African American punters in the NFL, Reggie Hodges for the Cleveland Browns and Marquette King for the Oakland Raiders.
Here are some other interesting statistics.
With 26, the Minnesota Vikings have the highest concentration of white players. The Indianapolis Colts have the highest concentration of black players with 44.
The average salary for hispanic players is padded by guys like Tony Gonzalez ($7,000,000), Tony Romo ($17,071,429), Mark Sanchez ($11,650,000) and Arian Foster ($8,700,000). Their perch atop this list is not surprising after seeing those numbers. These figures also include the Patriots’ Aaron Hernandez, who’s playing days in the NFL may be over because of his murder indictment . In 2012 he signed a five-year extension, running through 2018, that included a $12.5 million signing bonus, the largest signing bonus ever given to an NFL tight end.
Most of the players currently in the NFL went to a college here in the United States. Some schools produce more NFL-worthy athletes than others. Let’s take a look at the schools with the strongest presence of players in the NFL.
Currently, there are 41 former USC Trojans playing in the NFL. Carson Palmer, Ryan and Matt Kalil, Reggie Bush, Clay Matthews, Brian Cushing, Matt Cassel, Mark Sanchez, Troy Polamalu and Fred Davis are some of the more recognizable current players to come out of USC. LSU also has 41 players in the NFL, featuring guys like Dwayne Bowe, Morris Claiborne, Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson and Stevan Ridley.
USC may have produced the most current NFL players, but how do these players stack up in terms of average salary?
Players from the University of Miami (Florida) have the highest average salary when compared to players from the other top ten NFL player-producing schools. They earn an average of $3,207,848 a year, for a grand total of $118,690,381 per year. That’s a lot of cash.