From halftime to MVPs, black history is part of the Super Bowl

Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs will make history Sunday when two black quarterbacks face off in a Super Bowl for the first time. If Hurts leads his team to victory, he will be the fourth black quarterback to do so, following Doug Williams of Washington in 1988, Mahomes in 2020 and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks in 2013.

Only eight black quarterbacks have started a Super Bowl — with racial stigma against black quarterbacks dating back to the 1950s that suggested they lacked the intelligence or skill to successfully play the position.

The league has also had to deal with the lack of black coaches and personalities in leadership positions, and its failure to put policies in place to break down those barriers. Last year, former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL, New York Giants and other teams alleging racial discrimination in the hiring of coaches. According to a 2022 Washington Post series titled “Black Out” that examined the lack of black head coaches in the NFL, while roughly 70% of NFL players were black, only 11% of on-time head coaches full since 1990 were black. The report also found that black coaches were the most likely to serve as interim coaches, with those teams typically being a bit disorganized before joining.

Here’s a timeline of Black’s historic firsts in the Super Bowl:


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