By: G. Napier Barnes, III
Super Bowl LVII is now in the record books. The AFC Champions Kansas City Chiefs Williams played primarily on special teams (kick-off, punt). He was accredited with 3 solo tackles and 1 assist. At 6’3” 193 lbs. Williams is a big lock down corner. He saw considerable action on the defensive side of the ball in this big game. They put him on an island against the Eagle’s shifty receivers. He did not allow a catch or a target while on the field. Matter of fact, Williams was on the field both times the Chief defense caused an Eagle turnover. Bronco Pride is Nationwide.
I didn’t have a dog in that fight. I was pulling for the two HBCU alumni that had the opportunity to compete in America’s greatest sporting event. The Eagles had seven-year veteran Javon Hargrave (South Carolina State University, MEAC) playing the nose tackle position. Hargrave was drafted by my Pittsburgh Steelers but moved on to the City of Brotherly Love. I am not mad at him; he has to do what is best for himself and his family. The Chiefs had rookie Joshua Williams on their game day roster. Williams, a defensive back, played at my FAYETTEVILLE STATE UNIVERSITY (CIAA) He was the first Division II HBCU student/athlete to be drafted by an NFL team in the last two decades. Ok, maybe I did have a dog in this fight. I was hoping that our Bronco played well and won a championship.
Hargrave, a starter on the Eagle defense, played well being credited with 5 tackles, four unassisted. Williams played primarily on special teams (kick-off, punt). He was accredited with 3 solo tackles and 1 assist. At 6’3” 193 lbs. Williams is a big lock down corner. He saw considerable action on the defensive side of the ball in this big game. They put him on an island against the Eagle’s shifty receivers. He did not allow a catch or a target while on the field. Matter of fact, Williams was on the field both times the Chief defense caused an Eagle turnover. Bronco Pride is Nationwide.
I am some what of a history buff. While doing research for another publication I discovered that the 1969 Kansas City Chief team had 15 HBCU alumni playing in Super Bowl IV. Those of us that are old enough to remember may recalled the merger of the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL). The NFL was more established. Only certain players from certain schools were allowed to play in that league. There was also a limit on the number of non-white players that could be on a team. The AFL was flashier. They didn’t care where you went to school, or what you looked like. After all, a football player is a football player is a football player. The AFL was willing to go to smaller schools to find talent. Many came from HBCUs.
HBCU Alumni on the winning 1969 Kansas City Chiefs Team (Super Bowl IV) are:
Caesar Belser DB University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Buck Buchanan DT Grambling State University
Robert “Tank” Holmes RB Southern University
Jim Kearney SS Prairie View A&M
Willie Lanier MLB Morgan State University
Jim Marsalis DB Tennessee State University
Willie Mitchell DB Tennessee State University
Frank Pitts WR Southern University
Gloster Richardson WR Jackson State University
Goldie Sellers DB Grambling State University
Nolan Smith WR Tennessee State University
Morris Stroud TE Clark-Atlanta University
Otis Taylor WR Prairie View A&M
Emmitt Thomas DB Bishop College
Did anyone notice that most of these guys play what we now call “skill” positions?
Finishing up on the Super Bowl, several Super Bowl records are still being held by HBCU alumni.
L.C. Greenwood (University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.) This Steelers great had four sacks against the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl X. He has 5 overall sacks in the big game. Officially, Charles Haley and Von Miller are tied for the most Super Bowl sacks (4.5 in their Super Bowls during their careers.) Greenwoods’ 5 sacks happened before the NFL officially recognized tackling a QB for a loss as a sack. He played in the 1970’s. Sacks became a statistic after 1982. I am going with this HBCU great as the record holder in this statistic.
John Stallworth’s (Alabama State University) record of 40.3 yards per reception (three catches for 121 yards) in Super Bowl XIV is still in the books. He also holds the career record of yardage per catch in the Super Bowl netting 24.4 yards per catch during four Super Bowl appearances. In Super Bowl XIII, this Steeler wide receiver averaged 38.3 yards per catch (3 for 115 yards) which is third best in Super Bowl history.
The G.O.A.T (greatest of all time) of wide receivers is Jerry Rice.(Mississippi Valley State University.) In Super Bowl XXIII Rice had a record 220 yards from scrimmage (215 yards via passes) in route of being named the game’s MVP. Twice Rice scored three touchdowns in Super Bowls (Super Bowl XXIV and XXIX) the later giving him a record six Super Bowl touchdown receptions. Jerry Rice also holds the Super Bowl records for career receptions (33) receiving total touchdowns (8) and total yards from scrimmage (604) Rice at the age of 40 is also in the record books for being the oldest player to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
Falling out of the Super Bowl record books is the great-late Steve McNair of Alcorn State University. Air McNair, as a Tennessee Titian only played in one Super Bowl XXIV. He rushed for a then record 64 yards in that 23-16 lost to the Rams. The Eagle’s Jalen Hurts just broke McNair’s single game quarterback rushing record picking up 66-yards against the Chiefs.
Records are made, and are made to be broken. It’s amazing to me on how many greats from our tiny HBCUs can overcome adversity and to make a mark on the biggest of stages. Not only in athletics, but also in every field of human endeavor.
Bronco Pride is Nation wide.
George Napier Barnes, III is a proud alumni of historically black college or university (HBCU) Fayetteville State University, Kappa Alpha Psi, and currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.