2 HBCU athletes on rosters for Super Bowl teams
Fred Jeter | 2/11/2021, 6 p.m.
Much has changed during the last 54 years regarding HBCU participation on Super Bowl Sunday.
Only two HBCU athletes were on the rosters for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the team’s resounding win last Sunday over the Kansas City Chiefs.
They are Tampa’s Ryan Smith, who attended North Carolina Central University, and Kansas City’s Antonio Hamilton of South Carolina State University. Both are reserve defensive backs.
That’s a far cry from January 1967, when the Green Bay Packers ousted Kansas City 35-10 in the inaugural Super Bowl at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Kansas City fielded 12 HBCU alumni that day, led by current NFL Hall of Famers Willie Lanier of Morgan State University in Baltimore and Buck Buchanan of Grambling State University in Louisiana.
Green Bay had four HBCU grads, led by current Hall of Famer Willie Davis of Grambling State and running back Elijah Pitts of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Ark.
Pitts scored the first touchdown in Super Bowl history.
And providing the halftime show more than a half century ago in Los Angeles was trumpeter Al Hirt and the Grambling State Tiger Marching Band.