Benjamin Hochman: 2 Black quarterbacks starting in Super Bowl is historic, inspiring and important
Published in Football
You want to be what you can see.
In the early 2010s, an impressionable teenager named Tré Moore watched numerous St. Louis high school quarterbacks who were Black.
“It means a lot to younger guys when you see Black quarterbacks doing special things,” said Moore, who named Glenn Bradford (Lutheran North), Kahlid Hagens (Maplewood-Richmond Heights) and Mike Glass (Hazelwood Central), among others. “It’s really inspiring. It just gives you a vote of validation and confidence to keep pushing and working — and maybe you can do that, as well.”
So, he did.
Moore became the starting quarterback at John Burroughs (lost in the state title game in 2014) and then at Yale. On Saturday, as Moore described the inspiration and the motivation, it put in perspective the bigness of this year’s Super Bowl.
On Sunday, both teams will start a Black quarterback for the first time in Super Bowl history.
And it’s cool to think about how many Black kids will watch this game and want to be what they can see.
It’s also incredible to think that it took until the 57th Super Bowl to get to this point.
For whoever says this shouldn’t be a big deal — or says: “Why should a quarterback’s race matter because a good player is a good player?” — the reality is that many Black athletes didn’t get the opportunity to play quarterback in the first place. In a column for Andscape, the great William C. Rhoden wrote about Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts: “What’s equally significant — and tied to the milestone of two Black quarterbacks facing off — is that Hurts will be the first run-pass option (RPO)-style quarterback since Cam Newton to reach the Super Bowl. In a copycat league like the NFL, Hurts’ ascent could escalate the flow of super-athletic Black quarterbacks into the NFL.
“In the past, these athletes — the Lamar Jacksons, the Jalen Hurtses — were routinely switched to wide receiver and defensive back. Those days may be over. Indeed, the great athlete will be sought out to play quarterback.”
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