Black quarterbacks Hurts, Mahomes will be center stage during Super Bowl

Fred Jeter | 2/9/2023, noon
It is fitting that this year’s celebration of Black History Month coincides with a first in Black football history.

It is fitting that this year’s celebration of Black History Month coincides with a first in Black football history.

The 57th Super Bowl on Feb. 12 will mark the first time two Black quarterbacks will go head to head under football’s brightest lights.

Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes will be calling the signals and tossing the passes for their respective squads.

Most agree, it’s a big deal.

Said Mahomes: “I think it’s special, having two Black quarterbacks starting on the world stage.”

Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes

Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts

Said Hurts: “I think it’s history and worth being noted. It’s (acceptance) come a long way.”

Only three Black QBs have won a Super Bowl: Washington’s Doug Williams in 1988; Seattle’s Russell Wilson in 2014; and KC’s Mahomes in 2020.

Black QBs losing in the Super Bowl include San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick (2013), Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb (2005), Wilson (2015), Tennessee’s Steve McNair (2000), Carolina’s Cam Newton (2016) and Mahomes (2021).

Williams, out of Grambling University in Louisiana, and McNair (Alcorn State, Miss.), are the lone members of the Black QB Super Bowl Club to hail from HBCUs.

Williams’ performance against Denver in Super Bowl XXII in San Diego is legendary.

Enjoying perhaps the greatest single quarter in gridiron annals, he threw for four TD passes in the second quarter alone in a 42-10 over Denver, upstaging the Broncos’ star QB John Elway.

Williams also figured into another kind of Black history.

During a regular season game in 1979, Williams (then with Tampa Bay) and Chicago’s Vince Evans were the first Black QBs to ever face off in the NFL.

Consider, the NFL banned all Black players from 1934 to 1945 and it wasn’t until the ’70s that Black signal callers started showing up with any regularity.

The reason for the late arrival was clear bigotry. The white owners of pro teams and administrators at major colleges did not believe that Black players had the mental capabilities to cope with the complexities of the position.

Only a bigot hiding behind a KKK hood would think that now.

There were no less than 11 Black QB starters to begin the 2022 season: Dak Prescott (Dallas), Lamar Jackson (Baltimore), Jacoby Brissett (Cleveland), Geno Smith (Seattle), Justin Fields (Chicago), Wilson (Denver), Jameis Winston (New Orleans), Kyler Murray (Arizona), Trey Lance (San Francisco before be- ing injured), Hurts and Mahomes.

So, it’s no major surprise two made the final cut on the month’s long journey to the Super Bowl.

Many more Black QBs are on the college landscape, especially Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud (likely to be among the top draft picks) and Heisman winner Caleb Williams of Southern California.

Both Mahomes, a first round draft pick out of Texas Tech in 2017, and Hurts (second round in 2020 from Oklahoma) are coming off sensational seasons, but both are a bit gimpy.

Mahomes was noticeably hobbling with an ankle injury during KC’s AFC title win over Cincinnati.

Hurts, after missing games in Weeks 15 and 16, is less than full capacity due to a late-season injury to his throwing shoulder.

Both generally mobile QBs have seemed less likely to take off and run since their injuries.

KC Coach Andy Reid had two Black QBs in Philadelphia, McNabb and Michael Vick, where he coached from 1999 to 2012. He went to the Super Bowl with McNabb.

Reid concedes it’s a “big deal,” having dueling Black QBs in the Super Bowl.

But he adds this:

“It’ll be a bigger deal when it isn’t.”