On Jan. 31, 1988, Doug Williams made history as the first Black quarterback to start in and win a Super Bowl. Thirty-five long years have passed since Williams led the Washington football team to that historic championship, and now we have reached a new, momentous narrative.
Super Bowl LVII featured the first-ever matchup of two Black starting quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles. Mahomes and Hurts have both had outstanding seasons. The Associated Press Most Valuable Player award had both players as finalists, and Mahomes was the favorite to win.
Since Williams made history in 1988, Black quarterbacks have flourished in the NFL, becoming a familiar sight in positions that were formerly only held by white men. The NFL, once closed to Black players, started to integrate throughout the 1950s. The first Black player was finally selected by Washington, the final team to desegregate, in 1962. Even so, team owners and managers persisted in discriminating against Black players, particularly in highly intellectual positions like center, middle linebacker, and quarterback.
Marlin Briscoe, who more than 50 years ago became the first Black starting quarterback in the American Football League, broke this narrative for future players. Today, Mahomes and Hurts will be the eighth and ninth Black quarterbacks to ever compete in the Super Bowl.
In addition, Hurts’ agent Nicole Lynn is the first Black woman to represent a quarterback in the Super Bowl, and Autumn Lockwood, the Eagles’ assistant sports performance coach, will be the first Black woman to coach in the big game.
Troy Scott, senior communication major and lifelong football fan, said “This was a moment that was bound to happen, especially with the growth of Black quarterbacks in general. It’s a great example for aspiring young quarterbacks to show that it is possible.”
Kelce vs. Kelce: The brother bowl
The pivotal game also represents a new, significant milestone in NFL history: it is the first time brothers played against one another on opposing teams in the Super Bowl’s 57-year history. Jason Kelce, center for the Philadelphia Eagles, and Travis Kelce, tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, battled to take home the coveted Lombardi Trophy. Although they had both previously played in the big game, the brothers have never faced off against one another on the field.
During their college careers, both drew the attention of NFL scouts, and one coach in particular: Andy Reid. When Big Red was the Eagles’ head coach, he selected Jason in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Two years later, after Reid made a fresh start in Kansas City, the Chiefs selected Travis with their third-round pick.
The brothers have an impressive record, each with a Super Bowl win under their belt. In Minneapolis in 2018, Jason Kelce and the Eagles defeated the Patriots, and in Miami two years later, Travis Kelce and the Chiefs came from behind to defeat the 49ers.
Jason established himself as one of the best offensive linemen in Eagles history, playing in six Pro Bowls and most recently earning his sixth All-Pro selection. Travis is second in NFL history behind Jerry Rice in terms of playoff catches, yards, and touchdowns. He played in eight Pro Bowls and just earned his fourth All-Pro team.
Julia Malle, junior education major and field hockey player, said she can relate to the sibling rivalry.
“I think it is an awesome but also tough place to be for the Kelces. Growing up there is always sibling rivalry,” Malle said. “I know how competitive my siblings and I were in anything and everything, but at the same time it has to be so hard. As a sibling you always want your siblings to succeed. But in this situation, there is only going to be one winner.”