Rev. Martin Luther King, were he still with us, would no doubt recognize the significance of what could happen next weekend. He’d still be battling injustices here and probably abroad, as well. But on this day, he’d probably smile at the historic opportunity that will present itself when the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts try to reach Super Bowl XLI with victories in the AFC and NFC Championship games.
Both teams are run by African-American head coaches – Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith – and both are under siege for their failures even as their triumphs have been plenty.
No black head coach has ever reached the Super Bowl. Ever.
Nearly two decades ago, Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams stirred black Americans by becoming the first black QB win a Super Bowl. Many of us remember where we were that day and how we cheered for Williams’ success.
There will be some conflicts next week. Plenty of us will be rooting for the New Orleans Saints and all they represent – including many of my best friends who are Bayou natives. And I’m sure there are even some blacks who love them some Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. In my view, history trumps all of that.
Should either Dungy or Smith – who are great friends and well aware of their place in the game and what it represents, as black men – reach pro football’s ultimate game, it will be historic. Should both, it will be significant beyond. And, yes, Dr. King, even on a day of rest, would be watching.
Lovie Smith Notes A Milestone: The NYT
Reese in Repose
Watch the “I Have A Dream Speech: