Fast forward 19 years and history strikes twice! Two weeks ago you had two Black quarterbacks leading their teams in the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game. Chris Leak led the University of Florida Gators over the Ohio State Buckeyes who were led to an undefeated regular season by Troy Smith.
And in two weeks, Tony Dungy, head coach of the Indianapolis Colts will match football wits with Lovie Smith, head coach of the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. Three years ago, Lovie Smith was passed over by the Atlanta Falcons in favor of the untested Jim Mora; he was quickly picked up by the Bears. Seems like poetic justice that the Bears are on their way to the Super Bowl, while the Falcons missed the playoffs and fired Jim Mora after a second lackluster season.
I'm not that big on "The First Black to..." lists, but these are two pretty momentous and significant events that will undoubtedly change the complexion of college and professional sports. Both positions - head coach and quarterback - have been reserved in the past for "intellectual" types (nudge-nudge-wink-wink!) while Black athletes have been traditionally relegated to more athletic pursuits and assistant coaching roles.
Myth 1: One should not waste the boundless athletic ability of a Black athlete on the quarterback position, when he could be running pass routes or running down speedy running backs.In four short weeks, it appears that these two myths have been debunked. It is only a matter of time before we'll see two Black quarterbacks in the Super Bowl (go Michael Vick)!
Myth 2: Black men didn't have the management skills to run the successful and disparate operations required to be a successful head coach.