For this Super Bowl, Black history haters are just going to have to deal with it

OPINION: The historic matchup between Black QBs Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts is long overdue and a moment worth celebrating. But it also comes at a time when Black history is perpetually under assault.

In this composite image a comparison has been made between quarterback Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles (L) and quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs (R). They will meet in Super Bowl LVII on February 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Jalen Hurt photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images); (Patrick Mahomes photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Barely a week into February and Black History Month is ablaze, be it Beyoncé’s record Grammy wins, LeBron’s record scoring or the unprecedented Super Bowl matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts. 

Good times for sure. Unless we’re talking about enemies of Black history.

Those whitewashers in Florida and elsewhere seek to eliminate — or severely diminish — the story of Black people, places and events. They don’t want any teaching or learning about our long “dark” past, which is merely replete with direct and indirect connections to everyone’s right now. 

If we dare mention that, say, Mahomes and Hurts are the first Black quarterbacks to meet in a Super Bowl, the reddest-hot haters accuse us of spreading “critical race theory.” They misappropriate MLK and deny they ever see color, blaming everything on “baiters” who point out racial disparities … like the fact that one of 57 Super Bowls will feature two Black starting QBs.

The haters really boiled in 2007, when Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith coached against each other in Super Bowl 41. A Black coach had never reached the big game, but then two did it in the same season! It took a while because Dungy was just the fourth Black coach in the NFL’s modern era (Smith was the seventh; Art Shell was first, in 1989).

Mainstream media do devote some time and space to report on the NFL’s racial progress and lack thereof. There are highlights — a record 15 teams started a Black QB in at least one game this season — and lowlights — entering this season, only 20 of 154 full-time coaches since 1990 have been Black. 

Pointing out either situation inflames the diehard racial deniers, who say the information itself reflects an overemphasis on race. Their attacks are exhausting, leaving us damned for speaking up or damned for keeping quiet. When you’re caught in the middle, like Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles earlier this season, you can tire of the BS and have fatigue used against you.

Dungy and Smith squaring off in the Super Bowl was a historic meeting that merited extensive conversation. Bowles and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin squaring off in Week 6 was a routine meeting that carried little relevance. Though they represented two-thirds of Black coaches at the time, Bowles understandably said it wasn’t a big deal. Supremacists rejoiced.

“That’s what modern identity politics is all about, putting race above any other consideration,” a writer wrote on “Bowles implores media to stop worrying about skin color of NFL head coaches,” read a headline on

See what they did there? 

Black coaches and candidates have never put race above other considerations. Don’t confuse them with NFL owners. And media “worrying” about skin color hasn’t affected the league’s blatant hiring malpractice.

Mahomes and Hurts — like Dungy and Smith in 2007 — have answered a battery of questions about partaking in a precedent. The advances under center are impossible to ignore, especially since progress crept until fairly recently

But it’s equally clear that Black coaches are as stuck as ever.

Most hiring cycles this century have included one or fewer Black head coaches. So far in this go around, former San Francisco defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans (hired by Houston) is the only one. The next cycle that features three Black coaching hires will be a first. 

At last year’s Super Bowl, NFL Network reporter (and fellow Howard alum) Jim Trotter asked commissioner Roger Goodell about the league’s piss-poor diversity among coaches. Trotter did it again Wednesday at Goodell’s annual news conference, also inquiring about NFL Media, which “during my five years, we’ve never had a Black person in senior management in our newsroom. 

“That’s a problem because we cover a league who, according to league data, the player population is 60% to 70% Black,” Trotter said. “More concerning is that for a year-plus now, we have never had a full-time Black employee on the news desk.”

Goodell said he’s not in charge of the newsroom and knows nothing about the media business. His spiel on coaching hires was more of the same, equating to insanity if different results are sought. “We believe diversity makes us stronger,” he said

There’s no evidence on the sidelines. 

As for Sunday’s QB matchup, Goodell said the precedent took so long for “probably a variety of reasons, probably none of them good.” But he extolled the breakthrough. “I think it’s another example of where diversity makes you better,” he said. “Think about this league without those 11 great young [Black] quarterbacks. Think about the two in the Super Bowl. They make the league better and that’s what we’re proud of.”

I know without a doubt that WE’RE proud. 

This is history in our face, just like Dungy and Smith 16 years ago. We’re getting a win, regardless!

Hateful folks question such pride and attack it. They gaslight in wondering why race ever comes up at all. That’s an easy position for them to take as the lettuce in America’s salad bowl. The lettuce is dominant and obsessed with maintaining its longstanding status quo, leaving little room for croutons or bacon bits to shine.

But we won’t quit our quests to be seen as QBs, coaches, journalists or any other title in any other pursuits.

Let ‘em choke on that if they must.

Deron Snyder

Deron Snyder, from Brooklyn, is an award-winning columnist who lives near D.C. and pledged Alpha at HU-You Know! He’s reaching high, lying low, moving on, pushing off, keeping up, and throwing down. Got it? Get more at

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Please download theGrio mobile apps today!