Super Bowl XLI: “I Have A Dream”

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

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Reese in Repose

The Giants Name Brother Jerry Reese (above) as NFL’s Third African-American GM: The NYT

Watch the “I Have A Dream Speech:


8 thoughts on “Super Bowl XLI: “I Have A Dream”

  1. Duane Hill says:

    You’re gettiing pretty good at this stuff!

    Now you’ve got to figure out how to get paid for it big time .

  2. Juan says:

    I’m rooting for the Saints and Pats (for my personal reasons), but I definitley understand the sentiment of the need for Lovie and Tony to win.

    Man, I was a 10 year old kid growing up in San Diego and had just moved to an area north of Los Angeles during Super Bowl week!! Dude, I was bummed.

    To see Williams do that in my hometown’s 1st Super Bowl was the coolest. Even then I knew the game meant a little more than just who won and who lost. You are right, I’ll never forget that.

  3. Rush Propst says:

    Damnit Roy, What difference does it make? Keep bringing it up and people will keep noticing. I would think that you would want this to be a normal everyday thing, you know, no big deal?

  4. Yes Rush, I do want this to be a normal everyday thing. Right now, it isn’t. And especially on the occasion of celebrating the legacy of Marthin Luther King – who changed America for the better more profoundly than anyone in our lifetime – it seems appropriate to acknowledge a potential historic occurrance.

    To quote one Lovie Smith in today’s NYT: “I hope for a day when it is unnoticed,” said Smith, referring to his skin color. “That day isn’t here. This is the first time that two black men have led their teams to the final four. You have to acknowledge that.”

  5. Yep, I’m rooting for a Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith Super Bowl. I’m just hoping Rex doesn’t screw it up. I haven’t seen a Chicago quarterback look this skaky since they had Bob Avellini running around there.

  6. oops, meant “shaky”.

  7. asundra davis says:

    Now in regards to your comments about Prince performing at the superbowl ! You need to just get a grip and stop bashing his lyrics and thinking you should be the judge of who should perform on that boring show any way. Now if Paris Hilton or Brittany Spears was to have a wardrobe malfunction problem you would not have anything to say. So, just give it a rest.

  8. Mosely Johnson says:

    I live in Pelham, Alabama, 18 miles south of Birmingham, Alabama. I am retired from Greyhound Lines after 45 years of service. I met Congressman John Lewis when he came through as a Freedom Rider. Congressman Lewis was in Birmingham a few years ago at the Greyhound Bus Terminal to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Freedom Ride through Birmingham. We talked about many things that happened on that day. I was standing beside the bus when it entered Birmingham and when it departed Birmingham.

    I watched the marches of Dr. King as he attempted to go to the Birmingham City Hall. City Hall is in front of the Bus Station.

    I, along with two other employees, was honored for having worked at Greyhound at the time of the freedom ride and had first hand knowledge of events as they occurred….even the call from Attorney General Robert Kennedy to Greyhound Management. We were able to tell them things that happened to the freedom riders that were never mentioned by the news media. During this time, I was a young man in my early twenties.

    The morning of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, where the four girls were killed, I was at work on the Greyhound platform. The bomb actually shook the platform. I looked up and saw the fire from the church. Since it was only about three blocks away, I got in my car and went down there and saw the destruction….where the lives were lost.

    I am proud of you and others who rose up to do things some of us never had a chance to do. We were fighters behind the lines. I am proud of my life…. that I have lived to see some of us get to the mountain top. I hope the ones at the top never forget the ones who did not have a chance to make it. We built the steps for people like you and others to climb.

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