Up Next

HBCU Football

At Super Bowl LI, the NFL showed some love for its HBCU Hall of Famers

Grambling State University’s Doug Williams also honored as first black quarterback to win the big game

The NFL had a special shoutout to the Hall of Famers from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) before the start of Sunday’s Super Bowl LI. It was a fitting tribute to the 29 men who were trailblazers at a time when the sport was establishing itself as “America’s Game.”

At each Super Bowl, the NFL honors a special group of legends who have left a positive impact on the game, on and off the field. Paul “Tank” Younger, the first NFL player from an HBCU, and Doug Williams, the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, were also honored.

The celebration was part of the NFL’s broader partnership with HBCUs, “Strength of HBCUs: Impacting Pro Football Since 1948,” which honors the history and impact of HBCUs and their players on the game.

The NFL and two HBCU conferences, the Southwestern Athletic Conference and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, are also partnering on an initiative on careers after football, which was launched at the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl in December.

Here’s a list of all the Hall of Famers who were honored before the game and at other events during Super Bowl weekend in Houston.

John X. Miller is the senior HBCU editor for Andscape. He's a father, jazz aficionado and die-hard UNC basketball fan.