Sunday, January 21, 2007

History Made in the NFL -- The Chicago Bears' Lovie Smith becomes the first African-American head coach to guide his team to the Super Bowl. In a little while, Tony Dungy's Indianapolis Colts take the home field, with a chance to put Coach Dungy into that very elite category occupied now by only Lovie Smith. If the Colts win today, then we are assured that the the league's officially anointed next genius will be a black head coach, as either Dungy or Smith would raise the Vince Lombardi trophy.

We're getting used to blacks succeeding on the playing field -- even dominating most professional American sports competition. It was 19 years ago that Doug Williams became the first black quarterback to lead a team to victory in the Super Bowl. Since then, the league's acceptance of black quarterbacks has been slow and halting. In recent years, the league, and the fans have finally welcomed the transformative aspect of the athletic African-Americans now playing at the quarterback position. They have become accepted as team leaders and decision-makers, even as passers, and not just swift runners.

Coaching, however, is still dominated by whites. Smith's success is truly historic...and welcome, as it proves that blacks can compete in the mental, "intellectual" aspects of the game. Dungy has been one of the top coaches for years, first with the Buccaneers, and now with the Colts. A berth in the Super Bowl, however has proved elusive for coach Dungy. There is an excellent chance that will change in a few hours.

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