Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts

The Kansas City Chiefs exciting 38-35 Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday was more than just one of the most exciting championship games in NFL history. It was also a historic occasion as it was the first time two Black quarterbacks opposed each other on the field for both teams. The win capped a magnificent season for QB Patrick Mahomes, a year in which he averaged over 300 years passing per game, had a QB rating of over 105, and won both regular season and MVP honors.

But it also signaled, or should signal, the end of a myth in pro football circles regarding what kind of QB can win a title. Mahomes and the Chiefs have now won two championships, while the Eagles QB Jalen Hurts is also young and emerging as a star. He was runner-up this season to Mahomes for MVP, and both are reflective of the new type of QB that was already emerging in past decades, but has now blossomed in the contemporary NFL.

Helped in large part by rules changes that make it far more difficult to sack QBs, dual-threat QBs are flourishing in the modern NFL. Both Mahomes and Hurts reflect offenses and systems in which they are not just passers, but complete offensive weapons. Both made significant plays as rushers, despite Mahomes’ having an injured ankle that he hurt once again in the second quarter. Hurts is a key to the Eagles rushing offense, but is also capable of effectively throwing any type of pass required, from short crossing routes to deep throws.

Both QBs know how to balance their rushing abilities with their passing proficiency, making it much tougher to defend against them, and also making their teams that much more formidable.

Part of the reason for the change in QB philosophy is more colleges utilize offenses in which QBs must be proficient at the run/pass option. That’s the ability to either be an effective runner or a mobile passer, and often decide at the line of scrimmage whether to call for a pass or a run. The term “mobile quarterback” used to be code words used to disparage Black QBs. But now it’s not just Black QBs who play that way. Young white QBs like Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills or Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals are in the same mode,  which means the Black QB has redefined the way that the position is being played.

Another white QB who played that style, former 49ers great and pro football hall of famer Steve Young, rightly assessed the need for changes in coaching philosophy weeks ago on ESPN when asked his feelings about the issue of so-called mobile QBS. “What coaches have to do is find ways to make these players effective within their system,” Young told ESPN. “They need to coach them up, develop their skills as passers, but also let them utilize their athletic abilities to the fullest.”

That’s what both Kansas City and Philadelphia have done with Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, and what other smart teams will do with similarly gifted Black QBs in the future. The blueprint for success in the modern NFL regarding QB play has now been rewritten. Hopefully other teams will be able to utilize it in the days, weeks and months to come, and the Mahomes./Hurts faceoff will only be the first of many others that will happen in future Super Bowls.