At times of strife within our nation’s history, sports have often acted as a tremendous unifier when hate and conflict threaten to divide us.
For that reason, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid’s perspective on a truly historic moment for the NFL should be highlighted. The 2023 Super Bowl between the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles marks the first time that two African American quarterbacks will start against one another in the league’s title game.
That quarterback matchup is Patrick Mahomes II versus Jalen Hurts — two outstanding talents and MVP finalists for the 2022 regular season — and Reid was asked to comment on the significance of this moment in history on January 30.
“The biggest thing is they’re really good [players],” Reid began, praising each QB on their football acumen and work ethic. “I think that is a tribute to the kids. I mean, that [accomplishment is] unique, it is unique. I don’t ever look at it that way [though] — I don’t really care what color you are. If you’re a good player, which at that position takes a tremendous amount of time and effort, I can really appreciate that. I’ve never been one that really looked at the color part of it. Where I grew up, we had everybody — everybody was a part of the equation. Someday I hope that’s the way it all works and as we go on, you’ll never have to be asked a question like this again.”
Reid’s message of unity made sure to add that he meant that last part very respectfully, understanding the importance of the question with no intention of minimizing this moment before reiterating that he just feels “it’s a tribute to [Mahomes and Hurts above all else]… Both of them are phenomenal players and I’m happy for both of them.”
Chiefs HC Andy Reid Has History of Working With Black Quarterbacks
Black athletes have made incredible strides at the quarterback position ever since Marlin Briscoe first started a game for the Denver Broncos in 1968. As a franchise, the Chiefs eventually followed suit with the great Warren Moon in 2000 — a future NFL Hall of Famer who ended his career in KC and an icon that many believe ranks as the best black quarterback of all-time.
Another top contender on that list is Donovan McNabb, who Reid coached from 1999 through 2009 in Philadelphia and went to a Super Bowl with in 2005. The Eagles star QB was actually Big Red’s first ever draft pick, at No. 2 overall, after taking over as head coach in 1999.
Years later, Reid traded up to select another franchise quarterback of African American decent in the first round of the NFL draft — Mahomes.
With the way the league has changed at the position over recent decades, Reid’s innovative approach has often been ahead of his time as an NFL coach. His response tells you why: It’s always been about having an eye for talent, intelligence, leadership, hard work, heart. Those traits can be found in people of all backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures.
A Chiefs win in the Super Bowl would make Mahomes the first black NFL quarterback to hoist the Lombardi Trophy twice. If Hurts and the Eagles prevail, it would mark the fourth time a black QB was victorious in the title game.
Doug Williams first accomplished the historic feat in 1988, with Seattle Seahawks signal-caller Russell Wilson and Mahomes joining him over the past decade.
Chiefs’ Andy Reid Addresses Facing Former Eagles Franchise
Reid also spoke on the idea of facing the Eagles in the Super Bowl, the organization he spent 14 seasons with before coming to Kansas City. As you might expect, the consistently humble HC downplayed this storyline.
“When you really cut to the chase on it, they’re a really good football team,” Reid told reporters. “And so, I think that’s where the energy goes. Because really when it’s kickoff, you’re playing that team — it’s [those] players that you’re going against and [those] coaches. The uniform, all of that, that’s not where your mind’s at.”
He added that the Chiefs mindset and focus is always to “have a solid gameplan” and “come out and perform to the best of our ability.”
“Doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you try to blank out all the hype that goes with the game,” Reid concluded. “You try to blank that out and make sure that you’re getting the gameplan — what really matters — together.”