‘It couldn’t make me happier’: Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts have Doug Williams excited for a Black QB Super Bowl
For the first time, two Black quarterbacks will play in the NFL’s biggest game
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The caller couldn’t even get in a question late Sunday night before Doug Williams made his feelings clear – both loudly and repeatedly.
The Kansas City Chiefs had just completed a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game, which followed the Philadelphia Eagles’ 31-7 dismantling of the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
And for Williams, the first Black quarterback to start in the Super Bowl and win the game’s MVP award, those results meant that something he has longed to witness has finally occurred: For the first time in NFL history, two Black quarterbacks have led their teams to the Super Bowl in the same season.
Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs and Jalen Hurts of the Eagles will face off on the league’s biggest stage in Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona.
Williams seemed pleased, to say the least.
“That’s what I’m talking about! Yes! Yes! We’ve got two Black quarterbacks in the Super Bowl!” Williams shouted into the phone. “Man, after Jalen won earlier, I was pulling for Patrick. I was sitting here on pins and needles to see if it would happen.
“I’ve got such a smile on my face right now, but I’ve got water in my eyes, too. I’m talking, but I don’t think I can even explain what this means. We have come such a long way. It has been so hard, so many barriers, but we did it. Two Black quarterbacks in the Super Bowl!”
It was a journey more than 100 years in the making.
For most of the NFL’s history, team owners had as much interest in permitting Black men to play quarterback as they did in paying capital gains taxes. The white men who ran the league – and there’s no way to sugarcoat this – believed Black men lacked the intelligence and leadership skills to succeed at professional sports’ most important position.
Of course, those were all just racist myths – which Williams took a sledgehammer to during his iconic performance for Washington’s NFL franchise.
After Williams broke through in 1988, Russell Wilson, while playing for the Seattle Seahawks, became the second African American passer to win a Super Bowl title, accomplishing the feat 26 years later. Then in Super Bowl LIV in 2020, Mahomes became the third Black quarterback to join the exclusive club while leading the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl championship in 50 years.
Other Black signal-callers have started in the Super Bowl. Never, however, had two faced off previously in the NFL’s signature event.
Representation matters. On Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium, Mahomes and Hurts will represent – for the culture.
“Whenever you take big steps and accomplish things that haven’t been accomplished before, with everything we’ve been through, all the hurdles … man, yeah, it means a lot for all of us,” Williams said. “It has been such a long, hard road, so, yeah, there’s a lot of emotion.
“When you have two Black quarterbacks get to this point, the guys leading the best two teams, you can’t deny what we can do. You can’t deny that we’ve gotten to this point, where we knew we could be, despite all the barriers. And for it to be those two guys … man.”
Those two, indeed.
“Just to see that those guys are the first two to do it, and the guys they are, it couldn’t make me happier.” — Doug Williams
In all likelihood, Mahomes will win The Associated Press NFL MVP Award for the second time in five seasons. He has only been the Chiefs’ starter for five seasons.
A generational talent, Mahomes at only 24 in 2020 became the youngest quarterback in NFL history to have a Super Bowl title, a Super Bowl MVP award and a league MVP award.
This season, Mahomes, now 27, led NFL in passing yards, passing touchdowns and Total QBR. After suffering a high ankle sprain in the Chiefs’ divisional round victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mahomes played through pain in helping the Chiefs defeat the Bengals for the first time in the teams’ past four matchups.
On third-and-4 at Cincinnati’s 47-yard line late in the fourth quarter, Mahomes bolted from the pocket and gained nine yards before going out of bounds with eight seconds remaining on the game clock. With Mahomes well out of bounds, Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai pushed the five-time Pro Bowler.
Ossai was flagged for a 15-yard penalty. Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker made a 45-yard field goal with three seconds remaining.
Again, Mahomes (326 passing yards, two passing touchdowns) found a way for Kansas City, which has hosted the AFC Championship Game every season since he became the Chiefs’ starting quarterback. For the third time in the past four seasons, Mahomes will lead the Chiefs into the Super Bowl.
Both in individual and team accomplishments, Mahomes continues along a trajectory to become one of the all-time greats.
Then there’s Hurts.
In only his second full season as a starter, Hurts, 24, emerged as the leader of the NFC’s best team and one of the league’s top offensive players. He had a rushing touchdown Sunday in the Eagles’ victory at Lincoln Financial Field.
Roundly criticized by league observers after stumbling at times as a passer before this season, the first-time Pro Bowler has proved his doubters wrong by succeeding spectacularly in the pocket throughout the Eagles’ run to Super Bowl LVII. Don’t be surprised if Mahomes and Hurts, who also continues to be a force in the Eagles’ running game, finish first and second, respectively, in the AP MVP voting.
Also, never forget: While being interviewed by reporters during the 2020 NFL combine, Hurts was asked whether he would consider switching positions. It’s fair to assume the Eagles are pleased Hurts is still playing quarterback.
“Both of those guys are just great guys,” Williams said. “Patrick came out [to support an event Williams has a key role in organizing], and I’ve been texting with Jalen all year. Just to see that those guys are the first two to do it, and the guys they are, it couldn’t make me happier.”
With the phone conversation winding down, Williams was asked to make a prediction about the outcome of the Chiefs-Eagles matchup. He wouldn’t go there.
“Nope,” Williams said, his comment punctuated with a hearty laugh. “I’m just gonna enjoy this tonight and be happy for Patrick and Jalen.”
But before hanging up, Williams offered one final gem.
“Besides, there are two Black quarterbacks in the Super Bowl,” Williams said. “Either way, I can’t lose.”