Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Black “Brains” on Display at Superbowl XLI

January 22nd, 2007 by Ajuan Mance

By now you already know that Sunday, February 4, 2007 will mark the 41st time that the nation’s two most competitive football teams of the year will meet at the Superbowl. But in this 41st Superbowl, the first in the history of the game in which we will see a team led by a Black head coach, we will see not one, but two African American head coaches leading their teams into battle.

African American players have long dominated the NFL. The Black bodies on display — their strength, power, and quickness — have been pro football’s bread and butter. Fans will pay exorbitant amounts of money to watch their gravity-defying, seemingly super-human feats. For many fans, Black muscle and speed is what the NFL is all about.

On this year’s Superbowl Sunday, however, something new will be on display. The presence of two African American coaches at the center of the game will add a previously rarely discussed factor to the mix, Black brains.

Both of this year’s head coaches began their careers as Division I football players; but each soon found his true calling in the realm of playbooks and strategy. Many have equated football with war, but a lot coaches will tell you that it is more like a game of chess, but with the added excitement of real live players instead of playing pieces.

It remains to be seen whether or not the sports media will emphasize intelligence over instinct in their coverage of this historical game. In the meantime, I want to take this moment to give these two outstanding coaches a cyber ovation, and to share with you a little of the early buzz on their brains.

Thank Coach Dungy and Coach Smith. Your outstanding leadership had ensured that on Superbowl Sunday 2007, all Americans will celebrate the first time that a Black head coach has led his team to a Superbowl victory!

Congratulations to Tony Dungy, Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts, University of Minnesota class of 1976.

The buzz on his brains:

  • “A great guy and a classy, smart gentleman.” —
  • “Tony Dungy is a smart man, and when it matters most he can make it happen.” — Football Outsiders FOX Blog
  • “Dungy’s an intelligent coach who will play it safe.”–
  • “When I go to speak to kids and speak to students and they ask about making it in the NFL, I always talk about that, that the difference is usually not athleticism… It’s the ability to process information. Most guys have enough athletic ability to make it, but the good players are the guys who can process information the best. That’s probably true in most professions.” — Tony Dungy on

Hats off to Lovie Smith, Head Coach of the Chicago Bears, a graduate of the University of Tulsa.

The buzz on his brains:

  • “Lovie was so intelligent, so smart as a player.” — TU assistant coach Bill Blankenship, a college teammate
  • “The word ‘genius’ may be overused when discussing football coaches, but there’s not a better word to describe Smith, the Chicago Bears’ head coach, who has a masterful ability to improve any defense he coaches.” — Michael David Smith,
  • A guy gets hit in the head and his brain is injured. The doctor tells his family that they can buy one of three brains from people. He says Lovie Smith’s brain costs $100, Ron Rivera’s brain costs $1000 and a Packers fan’s brain costs $1,000,000. The family says I don’t see why the first two gentlemen’s brains cost so little and a Packers fan’s brain is so much? The doctor responds “because a Packers fan’s brain has never been used!!!” — Butch Brzeski

Posted by Ajuan Mance

Posted in African American, Chicago Bears, Current Events, Higher Education, Indianapolis Colts, My Favorite Blogs, Superbowl

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  1. mcgonnigle

    Do these odds look correct? I think they are but how would you know?