Honoring HBCU Football Players In The NFL

In the 1920s, the Nation Football League (NFL) did not believe that African-Americans could play football but look how far we have come. During Black History Month, we would like to honor HBCU football players that were in the NFL.

One of the top HBCU football players of all-time, Doug Williams, from Grambling State University and played with the Washington Redskins, was recently honored by the NFL during Super Bowl 51.

Doug Williams was the “first” African-American quarterback to start in an NFL league championship game and to win the Super Bowl 1987. Why is he not in the Hall of Fame yet? Now Williams is the head coach at his Alma mater, Grambling State University, where they recently won the Southwestern Athletic Conference Football Championship.

Paul Younger “Tank” signed with LA Rams as the first football player from a black college, Grambling State University, to sign with an NFL team. Off the field, Younger became NFL’s first Black assistant general manager back in 1975 with the San Diego Chargers. Also, he was the first black player to attend an NFL All-Star Game.

Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas is currently displaying the traveling exhibit of the Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Hall of Famers like Elvin Bethea, North Carolina A&T,  gave their expertise during an exhibit tour about their journey in the NFL and how racial tensions were high during the 1960s. He expressed to a group of students how his white teammates “said and did terrible things to the black men on the team” (Houston Chronicle).

Kenny Houston from Prairie View A&M takes students from Pro-Vision Academy in Houston on a tour through the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Gridiron Glory. Houston was drafted by the Houston Oilers and is proclaimed to be one of the best players in the league’s history.

During Super Bowl 51 in Houston, 29 gold jackets were honored who attended historically black colleges and universities. The Black College Football Hall of Fame partnered with the NFL to become more involved and have a permanent home in Canton, Ohio.

Out of the 303 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, only 29 attended Historically Black College or Universities (HBCUs)

Names HBCUs
JOHN STALLWORTH Alabama A&M
LARRY LITTLE Bethune-Cookman
EMMITT THOMAS Bishop
BOB HAYES Florida A&M
BOB HAYES Florida A&M
RAYFIELD WRIGHT Fort Valley State
WILLIE BROWN Grambling State
BUCK BUCHANAN Grambling State
WILLIE DAVIS Grambling State
CHARLIE JOINER Grambling State
LEM BARNEY Jackson State
WALTER PAYTON Jackson State
JACKIE SLATER Jackson State
DEACON JONES Mississippi Valley State
JERRY RICE Mississippi Valley State
ROOSEVELT BROWN Morgan State
LEN FORD Morgan State
LEROY KELLY Morgan State
WILLIE LANIER Morgan State
ELVIN BETHEA North Carolina A&T
KEN HOUSTON Prairie View A&M
SHANNON SHARPE Savannah State
HARRY CARSON South Carolina State
AENEAS WILLIAMS Southern University
MEL BLOUNT Southern University
RICHARD DENT Tennessee State
CLAUDE HUMPHREY Tennessee State
MICHAEL STRAHAN Texas Southern
ART SHELL University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Amber Peters80 Posts

Amber Peters is a current MBA candidate and full-time Accountant. She is a proud Alumna of Texas Southern University. “Faith without work means nothing”

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