For over a century, the NFL has had a lot of historic firsts, particularly in the Super Bowl era. The first African American quarterback to appear in a Super Bowl and win was Washington quarterback Doug Williams in 1987. In Super Bowl 22 against the Denver Broncos, Williams had a masterful performance throwing for 340 yards (228 in the second quarter alone) and four touchdowns. He would win Super Bowl MVP. Tony Dungy In Super Bowl 41, it was the first time that two African American head coaches were in the big game, Tony Dungy was the coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Lovie Smith was the coach of the Chicago Bears.
In this year’s Super Bowl, another moment of history will unfold. For the first time ever, two African American quarterbacks will be starting against each other. There have only been seven African American quarterbacks that have started in a Super Bowl: Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Colin Kaepernick, Donavon McNabb, Doug Williams, Cam Newton, and Russell Wilson. Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. Should the Eagles prevail, Jalen Hurts would become the fourth African American quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl joining Doug Williams, Russell Wilson, and Patrick Mahomes. With a sport comprised of more than 70% African American players, this is a transcendent moment for football.
When the 2020 season began, there were ten starting quarterbacks of the 32 teams who were of African American descent. In his weekly appearance on 610 Sports Radio show’s “The Drive”, Mahomes opened up about what the history of the African American quarterback means to him. “As I’ve gotten into the NFL and learned more about the history of the Black quarterback. I’m happy we’re going to be on this stage. It couldn’t be against a better guy than Jalen Hurts…”.
Both Mahomes and Hurts were MVP frontrunners all season long, and deservedly so. The MVP favorite Patrick Mahomes threw for an astounding 5,250 yards and 41 touchdowns, both of which led the NFL. Despite missing two games due to injury, Hurts threw for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns while also rushing for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns, both of which lead the league for all quarterbacks. Hurts to hear all the doubters from day one. “My first year here [people] probably didn’t even want [me drafted] here. It was probably one of those things. But it always handles itself”. Hurts was a second-round pick out of the University of Oklahoma.
Mahomes was drafted by the Chiefs 11th overall in 2017 and took over the starting quarterback job a year later.