Patrick Mahomes’ Super Bowl Victory Helps Break Stereotypes

image of Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

By Lincoln Son Currie

Boston University News Service

As Patrick Mahomes became the first Black starting quarterback to win two Super Bowl championships after the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12, Black quarterbacks reached the pinnacle of football success.

According to Boston University College of Fine Arts Dean Harvey Young, Super Bowl champions can have a significant impact on children.

The other two Black starting quarterbacks to win Super Bowls were Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams in 1988 and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in 2014.

Young said Williams “really shattered” the white quarterback stereotype.

“He became a role model for a whole bunch of kids who said, ‘I can be the quarterback; I can be the anchor; I can be the captain.’”

Super Bowl LVII held additional significance because it was the first time two Black starting quarterbacks — Jalen Hurts and Mahomes — had faced off in a Super Bowl. 

However, Young says that some are still wary of Black quarterbacks’ ability to lead a team. He now joins Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Joe Montana — all widely considered to be all-time greats — as the fourth quarterback to win two MVP awards and two Super Bowls. 

Young said that Mahomes specifically was helping to chip away at the sports media stereotype of the white quarterback. Mahomes’s ability shows that not only can Black quarterbacks succeed at the sport’s most important position, but they can also be considered among “the greatest of all time.”

Fox Sports One commentator Nick Wright already dubbed Mahomes a top-five quarterback of all time on his national program, “First Things First.”

“If he never played another down of football — God forbid — he would be a first-ballot hall of famer,” Wright said. “I believe he is in the argument against any quarterback in NFL history other than Tom Brady.”

Former NFL player Jason McCourty praised Mahomes on NFL Network the Monday after the Super Bowl. McCourty said that following Mahomes’s first season in 2018, he knew he might become an all-time great.

“We have now reached that point,” McCourty said. “At this point, it’s just a matter of how high is he going to climb?”

Young said a generation of football fans is growing up with Mahomes and not pigeonholing him as a demographic but as a player who is “just the best.” This new generation might not recognize the old stereotype as they grow up with a Black quarterback as the dominant figure in the NFL. 

However, Young also mentioned the limits of sports and entertainment in fighting against racism. Many people enjoy Black entertainers and athletes yet still believe in racial stereotypes about Black people.

Young acknowledged that progress had been made since his childhood, and some stereotypes have started to change. 

“If you compare it to where we were 35 years ago to where we were 60 years ago … a lot of progress has happened,” Young said.

With the Chiefs entering the 2023 season as Super Bowl favorites, Mahomes will have another chance to add to his legacy and take another step toward eclipsing Brady, Montana and Manning.

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