Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes set for historic Super Bowl matchup
PHILADELPHIA — Black quarterbacks have come a long way in the NFL since Fritz Pollard became the first to play in the league in 1923 and Doug Williams was the first to start and win a Super Bowl after the 1987 season.
Now Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts will be the first Black QBs to face off in a Super Bowl.
It’s fitting that a season that began with 11 Black QBs starting in Week 1 would end with a historic game.
Mahomes can become the first two-time winner if he leads the Kansas City Chiefs to a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 12. Hurts is aiming 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 and lost in the Super Bowl.
Michael Vick was the first Black QB taken overall no. 1 pick in the draft in 2001. McNair became the first Black QB to win MVP in 2003. Mahomes and Lamar Jackson won it back-to-back years.
They all had to overcome stereotypes to get to this point.
Jackson said a scout from the Los Angeles Chargers asked him to run routes at the NFL combine in 2018. The Baltimore Ravens ended up selecting him with the 32nd pick in the first round and he was MVP in his sophomore season.
Donovan McNabb, a six-time Pro Bowl QB who started five NFC Championship games for the Eagles, was told by some college scouts that he should play running back or wide receiver. Unwilling to switch positions, he went to Syracuse to play quarterback and was taken No. 1 overall in 1999. 2 drafted by Philadelphia.
Hurts began his NFL career in 2020 as a versatile QB after the Eagles took him in the second round. Playing behind Carson Wentz, Hurts threw 12 rushing attempts, one catch and just three passes in his first nine games before taking over as Philadelphia’s QB.
He clearly hasn’t forgotten that the decision to draft him in the second round of the 2020 draft was widely criticized by reporters and fans alike.
“My first year here, (people) probably didn’t even want to move me here,” Hurts said Sunday. “It was probably one of those things. But it always handles itself.”
Neither Hurts nor Mahomes celebrated their conference championship wins too much. The main goal remains. They each want one more win.
Hurts blew out a victory cigar after the Eagles defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-7, but he showed little emotion, as usual in his postgame news conference.
“I don’t really know how to feel to be honest. You work very hard to put yourself in this position and I am eternally grateful,” Hurts said. “Only God knows the things that each individual in this team has been able to overcome for us to come together as a team and do something special as a group. This is what means the most. I always want to go out there and do my best no matter what’s going on because I don’t want to let the guy next to me down. It makes us all go harder.”
Hurts, a finalist with Mahomes for AP NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, missed two games late in the season with a shoulder injury. The Eagles didn’t have to rely on him in two lopsided playoff victories. He has only 275 yards passing and two TDs along with 73 yards rushing and two scores.
“I know I’ve been through a lot personally, but I don’t want to steer away from the direction of how good this team has been at playing together, being together and challenging each other,” Hurts said. “When we experience some painful times and some difficult times, we always found a way to overcome. You want to go into a situation like this, and we have a chance to go out there and win it all, so we want to prepare to go do that.”
Mahomes battled through an ankle injury to help the Chiefs beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 to advance to their third Super Bowl appearance in four years.
He wasn’t about to light a victory cigar after a hard-fought victory.
“I don’t think we have any cigars, but we’ll be ready to go at the Super Bowl,” Mahomes said, joking about Joe Burrow’s penchant for puffing on those after big wins.
Only one QB can win the Super Bowl. Whether it’s Hurts or Mahomes, this is another win for the Black QBs that have been overlooked over the years.
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