Super Bowl LVII features a matchup that will be historic for a number of reasons, including it being the first Super Bowl to feature two Black starting quarterbacks.
The significance certainly is not lost on Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts.
"To have two Black quarterbacks start in the Super Bowl, I think it's special," Mahomes told reporters on Thursday. "I've learned more and more about the history of the Black quarterback since I've been in this league. The guys that came before me and Jalen set the stage for this and now I'm just glad we can set the stage for kids that are coming up now. It'll be a great game against two great teams and against another great quarterback. I'm excited to go out there and do what we can against a great team."
Super Bowl LVII will be Mahomes' third appearance in a Super Bowl, in which he'll carry a 1-1 record into next Sunday's contest. Hurts, meanwhile, is becoming just the eighth Black quarterback to start in the game. He'll also be the Eagles' second Black quarterback to start in a Super Bowl, joining former Eagles star Donovan McNabb (Super Bowl XXXIX).
"I think it's history," Hurts said. "I think it's something that's worthy of being noted and it is history. It's come a long way. I think it's only been seven African-American quarterbacks to play in the Super Bowl, so to be the first for something is pretty cool. I know it will be a good one."
Doug Williams was the first to break through the barrier, leading Washington to a victory (and a Super Bowl MVP honor) in 1988 in Super Bowl XXII. It took 26 years before the next Black quarterback, Russell Wilson, emerged from a Super Bowl victorious.
Williams was elated when the Chiefs took down the Bengals in the AFC Championship Game, securing the NFL's first matchup between Black quarterbacks.
"We have come such a long way," Williams told Andscape. "It has been so hard, so many barriers, but we did it."
Williams is equipped with the lifelong experiences to fully appreciate the gravity of the moment. Mahomes, meanwhile, grew up watching the NFL as it transitioned from a league that only had a few Black quarterbacks to one that now features a collection of Black signal-callers as the leading faces of its future.
Having earned a significant platform as an elite quarterback playing in America's most popular league, Mahomes understands the role he, Hurts and others occupy as the next generation watches them take the field each season.
"I think you've seen over time," Mahomes said, "whenever a guy like Doug Williams or Michael Vick or Donovan McNabb go out and play great football it gives other guys like me and Jalen have this platform and have this spot on another NFL team. If we can continue to show that we can consistently be great, I think it will continue to open doors for other kids growing up to follow their dreams and be a quarterback of an NFL team. It's good we have guys like Jalen on the other team because he's a great person and obviously a great quarterback."
For the first time, a Black quarterback is guaranteed to win a Lombardi Trophy. Ten days from now, Mahomes and Hurts will vie for the coveted spot atop the NFL.