The inaugural HBCU Legacy Bowl is set to be played at Yulman Stadium on the campus of Tulane University.
It’s slated to take place on the weekend following Super Bowl LVI. The NFL Network will provide a live broadcast of the monumental event. The game itself will showcase the best NFL draft-eligible players from HBCUs, Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
🎟️ TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
— HBCU Legacy Bowl (@HBCULegacyBowl) December 4, 2021
The game has been backed by big businesses (State Farm) and big-name NFL superstars like K.C. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, L.A. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner contributing to the PR coverage.
The game’s co-founder and Black College Football Hall of Fame inductee Doug Williams, a legendary HBCU and NFL barrier-breaking quarterback, expressed his excitement for the event via a press announcement.
“The HBCU Legacy Bowl means opportunity and exposure for HBCU players and coaches. We’re excited to have this in New Orleans especially during Black History Month.”
BLACK COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES ESTABLISHMENT OF THE HBCU LEGACY BOWLhttps://t.co/wlR12RrVSf
— HBCU Legacy Bowl (@HBCULegacyBowl) March 18, 2021
Williams, a Louisiana native attended Grambling State University where he played for the great Eddie Robinson. In 1988, Doug “Touch of Class” Williams became the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, and he was named MVP of the game as well.
In Super Bowl XXII, Doug Williams became the first black QB to…
– Start a Super Bowl
– Win a Super Bowl
– Win a Super Bowl MVP
His impact on the game is still felt today. pic.twitter.com/KvI9i7eN75
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) February 3, 2021
HBCU Legacy Bowl Is An Event, Not Just A Football Game
With 100 of the top HBCU players invited to attend and be part of the week-long festivities celebrating Black excellence and culminating in Saturday’s game, the Legacy Bowl impacts HBCU football beyond the field.
The week provides invaluable exposure for all coaches and players who participate. Sort of like NFL Super Bowl and Hall of Fame Week, but for those with melanated skin tones.
Co-founder and BCHOF inductee, James “Shack” Harris is also a former Grambling State quarterback who played for Eddie Robinson. Harris is the first Black quarterback to start a season in the history of pro football. He was the second Black player in the modern era to start any game as quarterback for a pro football team. Marlin Briscoe was the first.
Former Grambling quarterback James “Shack” Harris was the first black quarterback to start a season opener in either the AFL or NFL when he started as a rookie for the Bills in 1969. pic.twitter.com/JFmHR0Dd5N
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) February 13, 2019
Harris doubled down on Williams’ comments.
“HBCUs are a bridge to equality. We thank the NFL for their support and in sharing our commitment to uplift others.”
Coaching Staff Set: Team Gaither MEAC/CIAA vs Team Robinson SWAC/SIAC
— HBCU Sports (@HBCUSports) January 12, 2022
Team Gaither is named after legendary FAMU coach Jake Gaither.
The coaching staff will feature South Carolina State head coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough. The Bulldogs leader of young men is fresh off a MEAC title and Celebration Bowl upset win over Deion Sanders and the Jackson State Tigers, making the Bulldogs the de facto Black college national champions.
Damion Wilson just led the Bowie State Bulldogs to their third consecutive CIAA championship. The Bulldogs also advanced to the quarterfinals of the Division II playoff for the first time in school history. For his efforts Wilson was named AFCA Division II National Coach of the Year. He’s the first coach in CIAA history to receive the award.
“This is the ultimate team award. I appreciate the recognition, but it’s impossible to win this award without great coaches, players and alums buying in. I understand the impact of this award and it’s history,” Wilson said upon being named the recipient.
Team Robinson is named after legendary Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson.
Willie Simmons leads the powerhouse program at Florida A&M. The Rattlers were the only HBCU program to receive an FCS playoff invitation this past season.
Gabe Giardina leads the Albany State Rams. He was just named SIAC Coach of the Year after leading the Rams to it’s first SIAC title since 2013.
“The goal of this game is to showcase the immense talent in Black College Football today. These coaches are proven winners. The Board of Trustees felt these these coaches could bring out the best in each of these players and also be terrific representatives of the HBCU Legacy Bowl.”
HBCU football stars were basically shut out of the NFL draft the past couple of seasons.
2021 marked the ninth time since 2000 that no HBCU prospects were selected, prompting Jackson State head coach and two-time Super Bowl champion Deion Sanders to express his frustration via social media, stating that HBC players had been “neglected and rejected.”
So an event of this magnitude will surely help raise the visibility of the Black college football players capable of excelling at the next level.
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