Mahomes cites inspiration by Negro Leagues ahead of Black QB Super Bowl battle

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will set the record for the most Super Bowl starts for a Black quarterback when he makes his third appearance Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. File Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI
1 of 6 | Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will set the record for the most Super Bowl starts for a Black quarterback when he makes his third appearance Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. File Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | License Photo

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Patrick Mahomes says Negro Leagues baseball inspired his creative playing style. That style will be part of history Sunday, when he faces Jalen Hurts in the first Super Bowl to feature two Black starting quarterbacks.

The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback became in 2020 the seventh Black quarterback to start a Super Bowl, followed by a 2021 appearance.


"We are very aware and we have no added pressure because we know who we are and who we are playing for," Mahomes said Tuesday at a news conference at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch.

"Obviously, we want to win, but we know why we are stepping on that field. It's for a much bigger reason."

The Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles will kick off Super Bowl LVII at 6:30 p.m. EST Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The game will air on Fox.


Patrick Mahomes Sr. was an MLB pitcher for more than a decade. Mahomes said his dad, who often emulated Negro Leagues pitcher Satchel Paige's throwing style, inspired him and told him from a young age about the Black baseball legends.

Mahomes attributes his electric playing style, which includes no-look passes, behind-the-back tosses and an array of odd throws, to the fun and creativity he saw when he watched those Negro Leagues stars.

"You see the creativity they had," Mahomes said. "They played such at a high level, but they enjoyed it when they did.

"That's a lot of what you see from me."

Mahomes, who joined Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, Walter Payton, Marshall Faulk, Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice this postseason as the seventh Black player to earn multiple MVP awards, said he often visits the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., and that those visits bring continued inspiration.

"The Negro League Museum is a special place," Mahomes said. "The history you learn there is [why] I would recommend everyone go. My dad talked to me about Satchel Paige my entire life."

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, one of Mahomes' closest friends, said the quarterback doesn't talk much about his career, but he knows the historical magnitude of his achievements.

"He understands how he's a pioneer in the sense that he's paving the way for a lot of a lot of young football players and definitely a lot of young Black football players," Kelce said Wednesday in Scottsdale. "I think it's really cool that we get to experience this with him.

"All it makes me want to do is go out there and get this win."

On the other side of the matchup, Hurts will make his first Super Bowl appearance. Mahomes said Hurts' work ethic is what he appreciates most about the Eagles quarterback. He also said he expects many more Black quarterback battles in future Super Bowls.

"To be in this moment, on this stage, and to be able to show where we have come as a league, will be just the start of it," Mahomes said. "We want to make sure we set the stage for generations to come."


Hurts echoed that sentiment in his media availabilities. He said was inspired by the previous six quarterbacks to appear in the big game: Mahomes, Doug Williams, Cam Newton, Donovan McNabb, Collin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Steve McNair.

Hurts also said he was inspired by his father and brother, who "propelled me to heights" he didn't think he could reach.

"To be the first two to go head-to-head is uplifting for tomorrow and the next generation of quarterbacks, the 4-or 5-year old kid back in Houston, Philadelphia, Texas, Louisiana or wherever," Hurts said Monday.

"Regardless of someone who may have an opinion about you, know that you can do it, too."

Super Bowl LVII week begins with Opening Night event

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes speaks to the media at the Super Bowl LVII Opening Night event at the Footprint Center in Phoenix on February 6, 2023. The Kansas City Chiefs will will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on February 12. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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