Super Bowl LVII: a historic clash between Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes
There was a time not so long ago when quarterbacks of color were in short supply in the NFL, as negative prejudices still persisted against them. It took almost six full decades to get there, but Super Bowl LVII, between the Chiefs and the Eagles, will pit two black pivots, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, for the first time.
< p>Times have changed dramatically in the NFL and for the better. Today, Mahomes needs no introduction and his unique feats are admired by legions of enthusiasts.
He led the Chiefs to their second Super Bowl LIV championship, earning the game's MVP award. He was voted campaign most valuable player of 2018 and collected the same honor earlier this week, for a second time.
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Hurts, for his part, has really come into his own this season, in his third in the NFL. He was a finalist for Most Valuable Player and excelled in both passing and running.
Today, nothing more normal. Skin color, which was once a factor in choosing a quarterback, is no longer a point of emphasis. However, you don't have to go back very far in time to see that the reality was already very different.
Inspiring Doug Williams
At the end of the 1987 season, Doug Williams became the first black center in history to start a Super Bowl.
And it's not like he arrived in Washington as a savior, the campaign previous.
In his sixth season in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes is already coming off a second campaign of over 5,000 yards through the air.
In 1986, he had only thrown one pass. At 32, in the famous 1987 season, he was Jay Schroeder's backup and had only started two games during the regular season.
When Schroeder was injured, the door opened and Williams became a true hero for a generation of quarterbacks of color who saw the doors closing in front of them. He had inspired his people with seven touchdown passes in three playoff games, including four in the Super Bowl, in the victory over the Denver Broncos.
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Tears of joy
Thirty-five years later, Williams couldn't hold back his tears when he saw that Super Bowl LVII would showcase two black quarterbacks.
“I wondered why I was crying, but reality hit me when I realized where I was coming from. The coaches and general managers have changed in their mentality. It's not the color that counts anymore, but who can do the job,” he said in an interview with ESPN last week.
If Williams felt very lonely 35 years ago, things have fortunately changed. In the NFL this season, 21 black quarterbacks have seen action. Nearly half of the teams, or 15 out of 32, bet on a color pivot to start at least one game. Black quarterbacks have also started 29% of games this season.
While there's still room for improvement at the top position, it's still three records, according to Football Perspective.
In the first week of activity, they were 11 in the field.
By comparison, as recently as 2011, only 15% of games were started by black quarterbacks. Since 1989, there have been at least five colored centers in the NFL each season.
The year of the first Super Bowl in 1966, there had been none throughout the season in either the NFL or the American Football Conference (AFL), which merged in 1970. That is to say how mentalities have changed.
The trend therefore seems to be on the rise and the fact that Mahomes and Hurts will be in the spotlight tomorrow during Super Bowl 57 can only help inspire other young people to follow. their footsteps.
< h3>They have already played a match ultimate
He was the pioneer. He was instrumental in the Washington Redskins' smashing 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos, with 340 yards through the air and four touchdowns, despite a knee injury in the first quarter. He was Super Bowl XXII Most Valuable Player.
Twelve seasons passed before seeing a black quarterback in the Super Bowl again, after the performance of Doug Williams. McNair had the heavy command to take on the mighty St. Louis Rams machine. In a 23-16 loss, he had 214 passing yards for Tennessee.
He had shown the best and the worst in a 24-21 Philadelphia loss to the New England Patriots with 357 passing yards and three touchdowns, but also three interceptions. His 357 yards are the seventh most in Super Bowl history.
He and the San Francisco club had narrowly lost in a spectacular 34-31 game that had turned out in favor of the Baltimore Ravens. The young quarterback had looked good with 302 passing yards and a touchdown pass, in addition to 62 rushing yards and another major.
Seahawks (2013 and 2014)
He lived both sides of the Super Bowl medal. Against the Broncos, Seattle easily won 43-8 in 2013. He had amassed 206 yards and two touchdowns. The following year, the 28-24 loss to the Patriots was cruel, having suffered an interception at the goal gate.
The one who had just been named most valuable player of the season had a hard time against the Broncos in a 24-10 loss. The Carolina quarterback had amassed 265 passing yards, but was the victim of a 'an interception in addition to dropping the ball twice.
Chiefs (2019, 2020, 2022)
He helped Kansas City beat the 49ers in 2019 with 286 yards through the air, two touchdowns (and two interceptions), then 29 yards rushing and another major. His night was tougher against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with 270 yards and two interceptions, without a touchdown pass.
A LITTLE HISTORY
A 1968 14th-round pick by the Denver Broncos, he was the first black person in the Super Bowl era to becoming a starting quarterback.
Eighth round pick in 1969 by the Buffalo Bills, he was the first black center to be elected to the Pro Bowl, with the Los Angeles Rams, in 1973.
Never had a colored quarterback been drafted earlier than the sixth round. Williams changed that by becoming the 17th overall pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1978.
The inimitable Vick was the first black center to be selected first overall in the draft, in 2001 by the Atlanta Falcons.