As of Sunday February 2nd, 2020 the Kansas City Chiefs are super bowl champions after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in a 31-20 show-out.
Those who watched the big game will agree that it was nothing short of entertaining. From the start it was clear that both teams had a chip on their shoulders. Both teams are young with an average age per player being 25 years old. Coming into this game was not just an honor, but a chance to prove themselves on the big stage.
For the most part it was a back and forth game. The 49ers scored the games first points with former Chicago Bears kicker, Robbie Gould’s 30-yard field goal. That was quickly answered with a 1-yard rush for a touchdown from Chiefs’ quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.
The Chief’s may have came out victorious in the end, but getting there was not easy. The 49ers defense caused some hiccups along the way. Mahomes was picked off twice during the game and sacked a total of four times. Going into the 4th quarter trailing 20-10 it seemed like the Chiefs magical season was coming to an end. However, Mahomes had other plans.
With 7:13 left on the clock in the 4th quarter Mahomes connected with wide receiver Tyreek Hill for a 44-yard gain that would lead to a touchdown. The Chiefs would score two more times thus solidifying their win and allowing Mahomes to earn a spot in history.
An Obvious Problem
Patrick Mahome’s is only the third black quarterback in NFL history to win a super bowl championship.
This has many asking, why? Over the years there have been reports of open discrimination against African-American’s in the NFL specifically in the position of quarterback.
Early on it was thought that African-American’s were not intelligent enough to be the core leadership of a team. Yes, they were athletic, but they lacked the ability to make decisions and would not succeed in a leadership role.
Today, according to sports writer William C. Rhoden the prejudices are sytemic. African-American quarterbacks are given the opportunities to play in the position, but they have no room to be average because there are very few people in leadership that look like them.
There are only two African-American offensive coaches in the NFL currently. Byron Leftwich (Tampa Bay Bucaneers) and Eric Bieniemy who happens to coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. Just as alarming there are only two black head coaches in the league, Mike Tomlin (Pittsburg Steelers) and Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers). It is clear that equal opportunities are not being presented to all.
Despite this, the 2019-2020 season seems to have sparked a turning point in the NFL.
There are currently nine starting African-American quarterbacks in the league, which is an NFL record. In addition to that, the highest paid player currently is a black quarterback, Russel Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Kyler Murray is the 2019 AP Offensive Rookie of The Year and Patrick Mahomes is the 2019 league MVP.
So, what does this mean for the future of African-American’s in the NFL? Well, these victories are certainly going to open doors for more leadership opportunities in the future on and off the field. Changes will not happen over night, but this season showed that strides are slowly being made. This is the start of breaking down the systemic prejudices within the league.
There is no doubt that there is still work to be done, but these stepping stones that have been put in place can only yield great results over time.