Super Bowl LVII is shaping up as a historic Black moment during the annual historical reminiscence Black History Month. With the matchup of Patrick Mahomes vs. Jalen Hurts at the gunslinger position being a significant focus of this weekend’s festivities, it is essential to remember the Black quarterbacks that came before laying the foundation for a matchup of epic proportions.
“It’s A Really Big Deal” | Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams Overjoyed To See Two Black QBs Starting In Super Bowl
There have been seven Black quarterbacks in Super Bowl history. Doug Williams, Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Patrick Mahomes, and now Jalen Hurts will make eight. Each has a unique tale, and whether they won or lost the big game, their appearance on the biggest stage of football solidified their place in the annals of the sport.
The HBCU Beginning: Doug Williams
The first two Black quarterbacks to make it to the Super Bowl were both Black college graduates. The first Black quarterback to ever start and play in a Super Bowl, Doug Williams’ career began as a freshman at Grambling State University. He played under legendary head coach Eddie Robinson, who for 56 years was the head coach at the Louisiana school and sent 200 players to various professional football leagues, including the NFL.
34 years ago today, Doug Williams made NFL history as he became the first Black QB to win the Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP. pic.twitter.com/Pzx0AjWXeb
— ESPN (@espn) January 31, 2022
Williams was the first Black quarterback drafted in the first round when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted him 17th overall in 1978. It would take ten years and change from the now-defunct USFL back to the NFL and then Washington Redskins, now Commanders, for Williams to make it to the big show, Super Bowl XXII.
After being down 10-0 to John Elway’s Denver Broncos, Williams scored four TDs in the second quarter. It tied the then-Super Bowl record for most touchdowns thrown in an entire game. Williams and the Commanders went on to win 42-10, with Williams becoming the first Black quarterback to take home Super Bowl MVP honors.
Steve “Air” McNair Followed HBCU Legacy OF Doug Williams
Steve McNair, a product of HBCU Alcorn State, is the second Black QB to play in a Super Bowl. He went 9-2 as a starter in 1999 for the then-Tennessee Oilers — now renamed the Titans — leading the team to Super Bowl XXXIV against the Rams led by Kurt Warner. The Titans lost 23-16, but McNair will forever be remembered for advancing the game for Black quarterbacks.
Steve McNair comes to Eddie George in his dreams
Episode 72 with @EddieGeorge2727 is out now. Watch on @ClubShayShay’s YouTube or listen on Apple and Spotify. pic.twitter.com/2PkC3D0GZK
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) February 6, 2023
Drafted No. 2 overall, replacing Steve McNair as the highest drafted Black quarterback, is Donovan McNabb, who, in 2004, took the Philadelphia Eagles to Super Bowl XXXIX after a 13-3 season. Although he lost 24-21 to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, McNabb is still considered the most successful quarterback in Eagles history.
Colin Kaepernick Transcends The Field
Colin Kaepernick steered the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 to Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens. He led the team to an 11-4-1 record before losing to the Ray Lewis-inspired Ravens. Even though the Niners lost 34-31, he erased a 21-3 deficit. Kaepernick would become better known for shocking America’s conscience into a discussion.
Shannon Sharpe powerfully speaks on Michael Bennett, Colin Kaepernick and more.pic.twitter.com/GRPq71mECJ
— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeague) September 6, 2017
Russell Wilson Goes Back To Back
Russell Wilson became the quarterback the world began to love after the 2013 Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII campaign against the Denver Broncos. Wilson and the Legion of Boom defeated Peyton Manning in a convincing 43-8 rout, bringing the Seahawks their first championship in franchise history. Wilson is the second Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
Cam Newton Dabs In A New Dual-Threat Era
Renowned for his Superman chest rips on the field, Cam Newton led the Carolina Panthers in 2015 to an impressive 15-1 record and became the first Black quarterback to be named league MVP. Newton would come up short in Super Bowl 50 to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, losing 24-10, but his phenomenal season made him one of the most prolific quarterbacks in NFL history.
Patrick Mahomes Is The Future
Patrick Mahomes is the definition of what any general manager wants in a quarterback. He makes unconventional passes in difficult pressurized situations and has no problem going playground rules for the win. Mahomes took the Kansas City Chiefs to Super Bowl LIV vs. the San Francisco 49ers in 2019, winning 31-20 and becoming the youngest Super Bowl MVP. He returned to the Super Bowl the following year but took a loss to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Super Bowl LV.
Mahomes returns at Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles and will welcome Jalen Hurts into the small club of Black Super Bowl quarterbacks.