When Super Bowl LVII kicks off in State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 12, it will be more than just another major sporting event that will be attended and watched by a huge audience. The Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs are two of the more exciting and explosive teams in the NFL.
But 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.
Patrick Mahomes, 28, will lead his team, the Kansas City Chiefs and Jalen Hurts, 24, will be the man at the controls for the Eagles.
Hurts is a former standout, first at the University of Alabama and then with the University of Oklahoma before being drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 2020 draft, with the 53rd pick.
After serving an apprenticeship before missing part of last season with an injury, Hurts really came into his own this season, leading his team to a 14-1 mark while accounting for 35 touchdowns (22 passing, 13 rushing). For this, he is in strong contention for both NFC and NFL Player of the Year.
Mahomes is more of a household name. He played collegiately at Texas Tech before being drafted by the Chiefs in the 2017 draft. All he has done in career with the franchise is lead them to back-to-back Super Bowls, garnering them to a victory last year at Super Bowl LIV. This season, despite some injuries that would have kept most out of the lineup, the talented native of Tyler, TX willed his team to a 14-3 season.
Mahomes passed for over 5,200 yards and had 41 touchdowns for the Chiefs, who won the AFC West.
Their styles are very similar but different.
Mahomes can magically escape pressure, while making plays with uncanny accuracy, especially in time of pressure.
Hurts is a running threat, but he also has the arm strength and accuracy to throw both the deep ball or the short routes that keeps defensive coordinators up late at night.
They both simply make their teams better.
James “Shack” Harris, the first African American to regularly start as a quarterback in the NFL, weighed in on the significance of the moment.
“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 Most Valuable Player as a member of the Los Angeles Rams.