Both Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts spoke to the media on Thursday as they recognized the significance of being the first two Black quarterbacks to start in the same Super Bowl.
Almost exactly 35 years after Doug Williams became the first Black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl with the then-Washington Redskins, Mahomes and Hurts made history as the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles reached the NFL’s season finale.
For 27-year-old Chiefs quarterback Mahomes – who is looking for his second Super Bowl ring when the two teams face off in Arizona on February 12, which would make him the first Black quarterback to win multiple titles – the moment of history is “special.”
“I’ve learned more and more about the history of the Black quarterback since I’ve been in this league,” he told reporters.
“The guys that came before me and Jalen set the stage for this, and now I’m just glad we can set the stage for kids that are coming up now. It’ll be a great game against two great teams and against another great quarterback. I’m excited to go out there and do what we can against a great team.”
Eagles quarterback Hurts, in just his second full season as a starter, is just the eighth Black quarterback to start in the Super Bowl and Philadelphia’s second Black quarterback to start in a Super Bowl, joining Donovan McNabb who started Super Bowl XXXIX.
“I think it’s history,” Hurts said. “I think it’s something that’s worthy of being noted and it is history. It’s come a long way. I think it’s only been seven African-American quarterbacks to play in the Super Bowl, so to be the first for something is pretty cool. I know it will be a good one.”
Should the Eagles win at State Farm Stadium, Hurts will become the fourth Black quarterback to win an NFL championship after Williams in 1988, Russell Wilson with the Seattle Seahawks in 2014 and Mahomes in 2020.
Mahomes outlined that he has come to understand the platform he and others in his position have to push others forward.
“I think you’ve seen over time,” Mahomes said, “whenever a guy like Doug Williams or Michael Vick or Donovan McNabb go out and play great football, it gives other guys like me and Jalen this platform and have this spot on another NFL team.
“If we can continue to show that we can consistently be great, I think it will continue to open doors for other kids growing up to follow their dreams and be a quarterback of an NFL team. It’s good we have guys like Jalen on the other team because he’s a great person and, obviously, a great quarterback.”
Both Mahomes’ and Hurts’ runs to the Super Bowl are inspiring to their contemporaries around the league.
“I know those guys are going to be hyped up and ready to play,” Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields told CNN Sport.
“But it’s definitely a big moment for a lot of Black, young QBs coming up and having them inspire them and maybe they’re saying to themselves: ‘That could be me one day.’”
Fields added: “Jalen and Patrick, they can do a lot of great things on the field in terms of throwing the football and being able to extend plays with their feet.
“It’s just awesome – having the first Super Bowl [with] two Black quarterbacks in is definitely a historic moment, for sure.”