The duel between the young and talented Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) and Jalen Hurts (Eagles) is as tantalizing as it is historic, since it took 57 editions to see two black quarterbacks compete in a Super Bowl on Sunday in Glendale (Arizona). ).
“Being front and center and having two starting black quarterbacks in the Super Bowl, I think is special. I’ve learned more and more about the history of African-American +QB+s since I was in this league, on those who preceded us, Jalen and me, and prepared the ground for us”, underlined Mahomes, this week in front of the media.
“And now I’m happy that we can do the same for the next generations. This will be a great game between two great teams and two great quarterbacks. I can’t wait to be there,” added the MVP of the season.
“It’s historic… I didn’t see that growing up. I think there’s only been seven African Americans in our position who have ever played in the Super Bowl. It’s a slow evolution, but it’s happening,” Hurts added, not including himself on that list.
The 24-year-old is right about the number put forward. Above all, four of them have reached this stage over the last ten editions: Colin Kaepernick (2013 with San Francisco), Russell Wilson (2014, 2015 with Seattle), Cam Newton (2016 with Carolina), Mahomes (2020, 2021 , 2023 with Kansas City).
– “Such a long way” –
Previously the pioneer was named Doug Williams in 1988 with Washington, before following in his footsteps Steve McNair in 2000 with Tennessee and Donovan McNabb in 2005 with Philadelphia.
The fact is, for a very long time, black QBs have faced nagging skepticism from NFL executives about their suitability for the most important job in American football.
“It’s because guys like Doug Williams or Donovan McNabb were playing well, that it allowed others like Jalen and me to make a place for ourselves on an NFL team,” Mahomes paid tribute to them.
“So if we can continue to show that we can consistently be great, I think that will open more doors for other kids to believe in their dream of becoming an NFL team quarterback,” he said. who, at 27, is one of three black “QBs” to have lifted the Vince Lombardi trophy (2020), along with Williams (1988) and Wilson (2014).
“We’ve come such a long way. It’s been so difficult, there have been so many hurdles, but we’ve come through,” Williams said in an interview with ESPN.
– What about the coaches? –
“Every time we take big steps and accomplish things that haven’t been accomplished before, yes, it means a lot to all of us, yes, there’s a lot of emotion. When there’s two black quarterbacks in the Super Bowl, it’s no longer possible to ignore what you can do, that you got to this point where you knew you could be, despite all the barriers,” he said. -he adds.
If black quarterbacks are increasingly making a name for themselves in the league – they were 11 starters out of 32 teams at the start of the season – this only highlights the very low number of African-American head coaches, since only three will have been in office: Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh), Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay) and Lovie Smith (Houston), who has just been replaced by another black coach for the next exercise, DeMeco Ryans.
Assistant to Andy Reid, as coordinator of the offensive squad of the Chiefs, Eric Bieniemy has several times passed unsuccessful interviews, while his know-how is unanimously recognized. His hard work once again helped lead Kansas City to its third Super Bowl in four years this season.
For Mahomes, “he deserves to be head coach for so long. He did everything the right way…I don’t know why he hasn’t been hired yet. Afterwards, it’s great for us, because we retain one of the best coaches in the league”.