What a scene at Super Bowl opening night to see Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes share a stage and embrace history.
Camaraderie and sportsmanship filled the stage as the two young quarterbacks spoke with reverence about the moment and the players who helped pave their way.
The Eagles’ Hurts and Chiefs’ Mahomes will be part of American sports and cultural history on Sunday as the first Black quarterbacks to start against each other in a Super Bowl. It’s a grand moment for the NFL, the most American of sports.
Hurts and Mahomes are among the best players in the sport and absolute role models. The NFL couldn’t invent a better match-up.
- “It can be done,” Hurts said, according to USA Today. “The game has evolved. Times are changing.
- “Obviously being part of something so historic and making history. You talk about breaking records and being the first to do this, but I think this is something on a whole different level …
- “I don’t know if I really have digested and kind of understand what’s going on just yet. But maybe later on. But obviously for my parents and my grandparents, this is something that isn’t normal. It’s special.”
Sometimes, you get the right people at the right moment.
HONORING DOUG WILLIAMS
Doug Williams was the first Black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl. In 1988, his Washington team crushed Denver, 42-10. Williams was named the game’s MVP.
- “When something like this happens, you gotta get excited about it,” Williams told TMZ about the Hurts-Mahomes match-up.
- “It’s so unfortunate that everybody don’t look at it that way … It’s easy for somebody to say, ‘Why you gotta bring color into it?’ if you don’t understand what we as Black quarterbacks and Blacks as a whole have been through …
- “It’s a big deal. It’s a really big deal.”
Hurts and Mahomes clearly are proud to be part of this event and understand its significance. Only three Black quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl — Williams, Russell Wilson and Mahomes.
- “I think it’s history. I think it’s something worthy of being noted,” Hurts said.
- “It’s come a long way. To be the first in something is pretty cool, so I know it will be a good one.
- “I think anyone like Mike Vick, Cam [Newton], Randall Cunningham, [Donovan] McNabb, all those type of guys are guys that a lot of young kids looked up to, a lot of young Black kids as well, Steve McNair, all of those guys.”
Only seven Black quarterbacks have started a Super Bowl. Hurts will be the eighth.
- Titans’ Steve McNair, 1999
- Eagles’ Donovan McNabb, 2004
- 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick, 2012
- Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, 2013 and 2014
- Panthers’ Cam Newton, 2015
- Chiefs’ Mahomes, 2019 and 2020
- “To be on the world stage and have two Black quarterbacks start in the Super Bowl, I think it’s special, and I’ve learned more and more about the history of the Black quarterback since I’ve been in this league,” Mahomes told the Kansas City media.
- “You’ve seen over time, whenever Doug Williams or Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb go out and play great football, it gives other guys like me and Jalen chances to have this platform and have this spot on an NFL team …
- “It’s good that we have guys like Jalen on the other side. He’s a great person and obviously a great quarterback.’’
Mahomes has been one of the league’s best since he became the Chiefs’ starter in 2018.
Hurts was one of the NFL’s biggest surprises this season, going from having uncertain football value to establishing himself as the franchise quarterback.
As a history-maker himself, Williams appreciates what is happening.
Williams was a Tampa Bay first-round draft pick out of Grambling in 1978. He started 10 games with the Bucs in 1978. He played five years in Tampa and four years with Washington.
In this Super Bowl victory, Washington scored 35 points in the second quarter against the Broncos to blow open the game.
- “When you have two Black quarterbacks get to this point, the guys leading the best two teams, you can’t deny what we can do,” Williams told ESPN.
- “You can’t deny that we’ve gotten to this point, where we knew we could be, despite all the barriers. And for it to be those two guys? Man.”
Hurts understands what this moment means for now and the future.
- “That’s uplifting for the next generation of quarterbacks,” Hurts said in an interview with NFL Network’s Michael Irvin.
- “That 4-year-old, 5-year-old kid back in Houston, back in Philly, back in Texas, Louisiana, wherever across the world that regardless of what someone may say or have an opinion about you, you can do it …
- “There’s a platform here. I value the platform I have, I’m sure like Pat does, as well. So, we just want to inspire the next people.”