Eagles’ Jalen Hurts, Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes ready to make history in Super Bowl

But they hope having two Black starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl becomes so commonplace that it ceases to be notable.

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Super Bowl LVII Opening Night presented by Fast Twitch

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts talks to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes on Monday night.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

PHOENIX — Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts stands on the powerful throwing shoulders of others. Long before he became part of the first Super Bowl between two Black starting quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes will be under center for the Chiefs on Sunday — Hurts reached out to them.

For 28 years, the Eagles started a Black quarterback for at least part of a season: Randall Cunningham (1985-95), Rodney Peete (1995-98), Donovan McNabb (1999-2009) and Michael Vick (2009-13).

‘‘That in itself, in the franchise and the history we have, having African-American quarterbacks, I think that speaks for itself,’’ Hurts said last week. ‘‘I told those guys long ago I just want to carry that torch for them.’’

He did — all the way to State Farm Stadium.

Hurts is 16-1, including the playoffs, as the Eagles’ starter this season. In the last week, however, more attention has been paid to Mahomes — and justifiably so. He won the MVP on Thursday and is the best quarterback in football. Hurts, however, finished second in the MVP race. Behind Hurts, a powerful running game and the NFL’s nastiest defense, the Eagles are favored to win.

Both quarterbacks acknowledged history was being made. But they hope 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.’’

Vick, who has been in communication with Hurts this season, appreciates what Sunday means.

‘‘We don’t get this opportunity,’’ Vick said, ‘‘without first getting opportunity.’’

Before the Eagles won the NFC, there had been only seven Black quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl. The first was Washington’s Doug Williams. He was followed by the Titans’ Steve McNair, McNabb, the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick, the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson twice, the Panthers’ Cam Newton and Mahomes, who will be starting his third.

Why did it take so long to get two in the same game? Commissioner Roger Goodell said there were ‘‘a variety of reasons, probably none of them good.’’ For years, some had stereotyped Black players by putting them at receiver or running back rather than at quarterback.

Goodell began to praise not only Mahomes and Hurts, but all 11 Black starting quarterbacks in the NFL — including the Bears’ Justin Fields, who received one fifth-place MVP vote Thursday.

‘‘They run complex offenses, probably more complex than we’ve ever run in the past,’’ Goodell said of the 11 starters. ‘‘And they really add such an element to the game. And I think our game has changed because of their talents. And I think the game has changed on the college level, also, to develop their talents earlier. And I think that’s true for all quarterbacks.

‘‘But I just think it’s another example of where diversity makes you better. Think about this league without those 11 great young quarterbacks. Think about the two in the Super Bowl. They make the league better, and that’s what we’re so proud of.’’

Mahomes and Hurts are proof that the fastest path to contention — for the Bears or any other team — is to draft and develop a dynamic starting quarterback.

They took different paths to their perch atop the NFL. Mahomes was drafted 10th overall by the Chiefs out of Texas Tech, sat behind Alex Smith for a year, then took the NFL by storm.

Hurts went 26-2 as Alabama’s starting quarterback but was benched in favor of Tua Tagovailoa in the second half of the national-title game five years ago. He transferred to Oklahoma, where he finished second in Heisman Trophy voting as a senior to Joe Burrow.

The Eagles picked Hurts in the second round of the 2020 draft, less than a year after signing Carson Wentz to a four-year contract extension. He started four games that season before being named the starter in 2021, when he reached the playoffs. The Eagles traded for receiver A.J. Brown last offseason and paired him with 2021 first-round pick DeVonta Smith to unlock their offense this season.

‘‘When you draft a guy in the first or second round, you expect him to be a really good player,’’ Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. ‘‘This is a guy who was a tremendous college player with tremendous physical tools, tremendous intangibles at the most important position in sports.

‘‘From there, it’s on us. It’s on us to make sure these guys are developed and these guys have good players around them.’’

Many of the Eagles’ best players are on their defense. The Chiefs will try to ensure Mahomes isn’t battered the way he was in a 31-9 loss to the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl two years ago. He posted a 52.3 passer rating in that game, the lowest of his career.

‘‘It was one of those moments where I just tried to do too much,’’ Mahomes said. ‘‘A lot of crazy plays happened and a lot of almost-touchdowns that people talked about. But as the game went on, I was trying to make stuff happen too early in the game and not just focusing on relying on my teammates.’’

Both quarterbacks will have to do that Sunday. But the spotlight unquestionably will be focused on them.

‘‘I’m really excited for both quarterbacks, what they can represent to a ton of kids,’’ Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. ‘‘Not only are they two African-American quarterbacks, but they’re the two best quarterbacks in the NFL this year.’’

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