Chicago football fans thrilled to see historic Super Bowl duel between two Black QBs. ‘It’s amazing.’
Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes make history. For decades, white owners and coaches assumed Black players couldn’t grasp the technicalities of the position.
Marvis Hiner was thrilled that two Black quarterbacks were facing off in the Super Bowl for the first time, something he said he didn’t think would happen in his lifetime.
“Mostly it’s been either white quarterbacks or one or the other,” Hiner said while waiting for the game to kick off Sunday at Williams Inn Pizza & Sports Bar in the South Loop. “It’s a great time to see that two Black quarterbacks are leading the teams in the Super Bowl. To see this is amazing.”
Hiner and other Black Chicago football fans celebrated the historic significance of the match-up between the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, saying it shattered stereotypes of Black players at the position.
“It’s showing that Black quarterbacks can do the same thing as other quarterbacks,” Hiner said. “They always try to make them play a different position, like a wide receiver or something because they think that they can’t make the quick decisions. But they’re showing them right now that they can.”
For decades, white team owners and coaches operated under the assumption that African Americans were unable to grasp the technicalities to be successful at the quarterback spot.
Both Mahomes and Hurts acknowledged history was being made during their media blitz last week. But they hope that having two Black starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl becomes so commonplace that it ceases to be notable.
‘‘You’re on the world stage,’’ Mahomes said. ‘‘And to have two Black quarterbacks playing the position at a high level and consistently playing great football just shows where we’re at in football and in society. We’re moving forward. We want to continue to move forward. We’re not done.’’
Milan Hill, who was also at Williams Inn, echoed Hiner. “It shows that Black quarterbacks are equally as talented and intelligent as white quarterbacks, and they should be given more opportunities,” Hill said.
He said similar leadership opportunities should also be extended to Black coaches and executives in the NFL.
“Coaches and front office people in the NFL need to be more represented by people of color,” Hill said. “But it’s gonna take a lot of changes and litigation to help transform the league.”
In 2006, two Black head coaches faced off in the Super Bowl for the first time when Tony Dungy’s Indianapolis Colts and Lovie Smith’s Chicago Bears battled it out. There was optimism at the time that it meant the NFL was making progress in regards to diversity in coaching, but the league has struggled to hire people of color in leadership since then.
Washington’s Doug Williams was the first Black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl following the 1987 season. That’s back when Black quarterbacks were fairly rare across the NFL.
Mahomes can become the first two-time winner if he leads the Chiefs to victory. Hurts aims to become the fourth Black QB to win the Super Bowl, joining Williams, Mahomes and Russell Wilson.
Steve McNair, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Wilson also started in a Super Bowl, but they lost.
In Grand Crossing on the South Side, Rico Mays, 44, sported a green Hurts jersey outside the 50 Yard Line sports bar. He said the duel between two Black quarterbacks showed how far the game had progressed.
“The game has evolved to where you have Black quarterbacks representing both leagues right now in the Super Bowl,” Mays said. “It’s as historic as it should be.”
“It’s going to give a lot of Black quarterbacks the opportunity to compete at this level, it’s going to open up doors,” Mays said. “And that it’s happening during Black History Month is an added bonus.”
Contributing: Patrick Finley, AP