Patrick Mahomes (right), 28, will lead his team, the Kansas City Chiefs and Jalen Hurts, 24, will be the man at the controls for the Philadelphia Eagles. (Courtesy photo)
Patrick Mahomes (right), 28, will lead his team, the Kansas City Chiefs and Jalen Hurts, 24, will be the man at the controls for the Philadelphia Eagles. (Courtesy photo)

Much of the talk surrounding the upcoming Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12 has centered around the historicity of the moment– two Black quarterbacks will lead their teams: Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs— and one of the two will be victorious. While there have been other Black history moments of note in the NFL, such as when Tony Dungy was the first Black head coach to win a Super Bowl and two years ago when the league assigned an all-Black officiating crew for the first time in history, Hurts and Mahomes meeting centerfield is a moment to watch for NFL fans and the world.  As the players work hard towards a good game, before and on Super Bowl Sunday, several African Americans will play a big role in contributing to the main event.

Two of the game officials are African American: Umpire Roy Ellison (Savannah State), a long-time veteran, and Side Judge Eugene Hall, who worked Super Bowl LIV.

The Chiefs have a strong representation, featuring Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Assistant Defensive Line Coach Terry Bradden (Howard University), Strength and Conditioning Coach Greg Carbin, Running Backs Coach Greg Lewis, Defensive Backs Coach Dave Merritt, Offensive Coach Dan Williams and Defensive Assistant Coach Rod Wilson. Ted Crews (South Carolina State) is the Executive VP of Communications and Johnny Chapple, Jr. is the Assistant.

The Eagles have an equally impressive representation on their staff: Defensive Line Coach Tracy Rocker, Running Backs Coach Jemal Singleton, Defensive Backs coach D.K McDonald, Special Teams Coordinator Michael Clay, Quarterbacks Coach Brian Johnson, Wide Receivers Coach Aaron Morehouse, Running Backs Coach Dennard Wilson and Offensive Quality Control Coach Eric Dickerson

Philadelphia Eagles assistant coach Autumn Lockwood will make history as the first Black woman to coach in the Super Bowl. (Courtesy photo)

Perhaps the biggest news coming out of Philadelphia is that for the first time in team history, the Eagles will have a woman, Autumn Lockwood, to serve as an assistant coach in the big game.  Lockwood handles sports conditioning for the team.

Black Players Reflect on the Big  Moment

When Super Bowl LVII kicks off in State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ on Feb. 12, it will be more than just another major sporting event that will be attended and watched by a huge audience.  The best storyline is that for the first time in NFL history, there will be two African Americans starting at quarterback, the most important position in the sport.

To put this into the proper perspective, it is only right to go back in history.  

James “Shack” Harris was the first African American to regularly start as a quarterback in the NFL.  The strong-armed native of Louisiana and standout at Grambling under the late, legendary coach Eddie Robinson, spoke to the Informer about years past to help current NFL fans appreciate this exciting phenomena.

“It is especially exciting for me to see this come to reality,” said Harris, who was the first Black quarterback named to the Pro Bowl, where he earned Game MVP as a member of the LA Rams. “There were African American players who had the ability but no one was willing to give them the opportunity.”

The barrier-breaking pro-bowler is impressed by the skills displayed by Hurts, Mahomes and their respective teams.

“It is especially exciting for me to see these two talented players get that opportunity,” Harris continued. “They both have exceptional talents and they are surrounded by players who complement their skills. At the end of the day, it is about winning in the NFL. That’s why they are in the Super Bowl; they were given an opportunity.”

District native Cornelius Green also has an interesting take on the historic event.  Green starred locally at Dunbar High School and went on to star at Ohio State as the school’s first African-American quarterback.  He led his team, the Buckeyes, to four straight Rose Bowls and was named MVP in 1973.  He was later drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 11th round.

“My skills were similar to the ones that Hurts and Mahomes have,” said Green, who is in the Rose Bowl and Ohio State Hall of Fames.  “At that time, the NFL was looking for the big, strong pocket passers and my skills, which are similar to those of Hurts and Lamar Jackson, were not what they were looking for during that period.”

The Hall of Famer is happy to see Hurts and Mahomes shine.

“It is so exciting to see the two of them get a chance to show the world their ability to lead their teams and perform at a high level.”

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1 Comment

  1. The article about black players in NFL was very informative. However you left out an important fact. Doug Williams was the first black quarterback to win a superbowl.

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