With Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles) and Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs), two black quarterbacks meet in the Super Bowl. Something that was unthinkable in football a while ago – because the NFL has long been racist.
In American football, all eyes are always on the quarterback. He is the coach’s extended arm on the field, the brains of the team, every move starts from him. He is celebrated for successes, just as he is blamed for failures. And the Super Bowl is every quarterback’s ultimate opportunity to become a hero and earn their place in history.
But at Super Bowl LVII, the quarterbacks are in focus for another reason – namely because of their skin color. Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes made history before the game even started between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. For the first time in history, two black quarterbacks will face off in the Super Bowl.
Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl
Jalen Hurts has been playing for the Eagles since 2020, and for a long time he was underestimated: Experts said his team was primarily responsible for success, not the quarterback. The 24-year-old now wants to finally deliver his masterpiece in the Super Bowl, even if he still has a long career ahead of him.
His counterpart Patrick Mahomes has long been a mega star. He is in the Super Bowl for the third time, in 2020 he led the Kansas City Chiefs to a win against the San Francisco 49ers. He was rewarded handsomely: The 27-year-old signed a contract in Kansas that is considered the highest-paying contract for a professional athlete in the world. And he continues to work on his legend status: The Chiefs are only in the finals because Mahomes gritted his teeth and took responsibility despite the injury against the Cincinnati Bengals.
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Blacks weren’t allowed to play as quarterbacks for a long time
Both are from Texas, both are black. Now, especially in sports, skin color shouldn’t play a big role, but in this case it does. Two black quarterbacks in the Super Bowl, that’s “special”, agrees Patrick Mahomes. Jalen Hurts agrees that Sunday’s game is “historic” in that regard. To understand why this is so, you need to look at the history of the NFL and the USA. Because not so long ago, blacks were the absolute exception in this position.
They weren’t trusted to play in the ‘thinking’ positions – where action is dictated and important decisions are made. On the field, as in society in general, blacks were a useful accessory: they lacked intelligence and leadership skills, according to the long-held but scientifically untenable view. Instead, they were used in more athletic positions where physical strength or speed was more important.
Black coaches are still the exception
In 1968, Marlin Briscoe of the Denver Broncos was the first black quarterback to start in the NFL. A start had been made, but it took a long time before Afro-Americans were accepted in this position. In 1988, a team with a black quarterback won the Super Bowl for the first time – the Washington Redskins, led by Doug Williams. A total of seven black quarterbacks reached the Super Bowl, three of them winning it. Including Patrick Mahomes 2020. The players in the past “set the stage for me and Jalen,” says Mahomes, “and I’m happy that we are setting the stage for the children who come after us.”
Black players are now established at the quarterback position, but this is not the case in other areas. Take coaching, for example: At the end of the 2022 season, there were only five black head coaches in the NFL. Many hope that the Super Bowl with two black quarterbacks will help pave the way for more diversity there too.
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I am Pierce Boyd, a driven and ambitious professional working in the news industry. I have been writing for 24 Hours Worlds for over five years, specializing in sports section coverage. During my tenure at the publication, I have built an impressive portfolio of articles that has earned me a reputation as an experienced journalist and content creator.