In case you weren’t aware, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall can’t stand a bunch of average white guys analyzing the game of football. It’s gotten to the point where he wants to replace the NFL’s Pro Bowl with an all-white vs. all-black matchup.
I’m sick of average white guys commenting on football. Y’all not even good at football. Can we please replace the Pro Bowl with an All-Black vs. All-White bowl so these cats can stop trying to teach me who’s good at football. I’m better than ur goat.
If you’re too sensitive to understand this hypothetical is a complete and total joke, or you’re doing mental gymnastics to twist this blog into some sort of mean-spiritedly racist exercise, kindly see your way out right now. For the rest of you reasonable folks, we gotta break this down.
What better way to honor Mendenhall’s wishes than to be an average white guy who takes the ball, runs with his scenario, and actually creates a semi-compelling matchup on paper?
To be fair, JJ Watt is correct about the glaring flaw working against the underdog white boys.
Rosters are usually 53 men. I haven’t gone quite that far (47 per side), yet I think you’ll be impressed with the almost-full teams I’ve constructed. Since this is just one hypothetical game, I decided to stock up at skill positions/pass-catchers as much as possible. Plus, you also have to factor in who’d be coaching this hypothetical game, so I gave Team Black and Team White a head coach, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator.
So as not to leave Mendenhall out of his own masterful proposal, he’s the All-Black Team’s ex-player moral support guru. It’s a special position on the coaching staff. The All-White Team has two, because let’s face it, their collective will might be broken otherwise.
DE: Nick Bosa-Maxx Crosby-TJ Watt-Aidan Hutchinson-Trey Hendrickson-Joey Bosa
DT: Zach Allen-Harrison Phillips-Adam Gotsis
LB: Logan Wilson-Andrew Van Ginkel-Jack Campbell-Alex Singleton
CB: Riley Moss-Troy Apke-Cooper DeJean
S: Harrison Smith-Reed Blankenship
K: Brandon Aubrey
P: Ryan Stonehouse
HC: Kyle Shanahan
OC: Mike McDaniel
DC: Dan Quinn
Moral Support Ex-Player(s): Jason Sehorn / Rob Gronkowski
Rashard Mendenhall All-Black vs. All-White Bowl Roster Analysis
OK so if the white boys are going to have any hope of hanging tough in this game, it’s going to be thanks to the collective offensive genius of Kyle Shanahan and Mike McDaniel. These best buds would be up into the wee hours of the morning, scheming up jumbo sets, 14 personnel packages (1 WR-1 RB-4 TEs), exotic Wishbone/triple option plays, and having the time of their lives trying to pull off the upset of the century.
…No really. It would be the upset of the century. If for no other reason than the fact that All-White would have to probably have some of their wide receivers — or, hell, maybe Christian McCaffrey — play both ways. Troy Apke is a free agent right now, but he and Riley Moss are the first white cornerbacks in the NFL of any consequence I can remember since Jason Sehorn. That’s a big reason why Sehorn is the moral support guru for the All-White squad. The man once returned an onside kick for a TD, so I’m convinced he’s capable of just about anything.
Obviously, Cooper DeJean isn’t in the NFL yet. Seeing as how Mendenhall’s game couldn’t possibly take place of the upcoming Pro Bowl, it’s safe to say DeJean will be a pro by this time next year. DeJean is a white cornerback out of Iowa (like Moss), and is expected to be a first-round pick.
Houston selects Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean in @dpbrugler first mock draft for The Athletic
The team passes on popular selections in receiver Emeka Egbuka and edge rusher JT Tuimoloau in the process – How would you feel about bolstering the secondary? #WeAreTexanspic.twitter.com/zrDBDual53
Having Rob Gronkowski on hand to keep the vibes immaculate and to help the Shanahan-McDaniel tandem dream up cool plays for the All-Whites’ loaded tight end room is a must. The weird goofiness of Gronk, George Kittle and Travis Kelce — oh yeah, enthusiastic officiating critic Taylor Swiftwould be cheering them on! — would be immensely helpful.
If you look at how many dynamic EDGE defenders the All-White Team has, it’s easy to see how you could shuffle those guys around and slide some of them inside. That’d help overcome the lacking, thin interior group. When it comes to the kicking game, too, Brandon Aubrey of the Dallas Cowboys literally has not missed, and Ryan Stonehouse has a bazooka for a leg and can at least make field position tough on the heavily favored All-Black Team.
Although there are no black kickers in the NFL, Chiefs safety Justin Reid is more than capable if the All-Whites somehow stopped his side’s devastating offense on a third down:
…A kick would never happen. The All-Black Team would score at will.
Again, you’d need some of the premier All-White athletes to play in the secondary. I’d just have Christian McCaffrey play both ways as much as possible, plug him in at slot corner for Big Nickel packages, and to be honest, would probably stay in that the entire game. Taysom Hill could also either play safety, or start at outside cornerback. He’s huge, and runs a 4.44-second 40. Hill could maybe hang a little bit, or hopefully jam some of these dudes at the line of scrimmage.
In case you aren’t aware, Colts running back Evan Hull has a similar build and athletic profile to CMC. Might sound crazy but check out Hull’s Combine numbers and those of McCaffrey. They are strikingly similar.
So even if McCaffrey played a lot of defense, Hull could pick up the slack and flourish in the Shanahan/McDaniel run scheme. Also helps that they have Swiss Army Knife fullback Kyle Juszczyk and coached him for years in San Francisco.
(Quick aside: I’m good about spelling sports peoples’ names and not having to look them up 99.999% of the time (Giannis Antetokounmpo, Wally Szczerbiak, Mike Krzyzewski HOLLA). I tried to spell “Juszczyk” without Googling first and my brain just about exploded into a billion pieces. I’m still copy-pasting every time/recovering.)
With all these caveats, pipe dream best-case outcomes and the surprisingly solid group assembled on the All-White Team, it’d likely come down to whether or not Josh Allen could just take over with his arms and legs, stiff arm people into oblivion, and rally the troops. Speaking of dudes playing defense, why not plug in Allen to the back seven on defense? The All-Whites would still have Joe Burrow under center!
OK but really. The All-Black Team would be no less than 21-point favorites. JJ Watt is right. Tyreek Hill is unguardable. So is Justin Jefferson. And Ja’Marr Chase. All those guys healthy? Forget about it. Then you factor in how dynamic Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson at extending plays, and even the deepest corps of pass-rushers couldn’t slow those guys down in the end.
Lamar avoids the sack and then Isaiah Likely makes the catch over two guys 😮
Talk about thunder and lightning in the All-Black backfield, too: If you’re the All-White Team, think about trying to tackle Derrick Henry for several possessions, only to have the explosiveness of De’Von Achane and Jahmyr Gibbs gash you over and over as you play necessarily-light boxes against the loaded All-Black perimeter weapons.
That’s about all I got. Hopefully Rashard Mendenhall’s vision comes to fruition someday. This would indubitably be better than the Pro Bowl. Just unsure he’d achieve his desired outcome of average white guys no longer commenting on football. About the only thing average white guys can agree on in the United States of America is that the NFL is AWESOME.
We’ll let Team All-White cover the spread in garbage time. Nope. Never mind. Can’t be that generous. The All-Black Team wins this showdown running away.
Final score prediction: All-Black Team 48, All-White Team 24