Millions will watch as the HBCU Legacy Bowl embarks on a historic path to connect and showcase the talent of deserving HBCU players. As the sun rises over Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans to usher in a new day, so will the future of more than 92 HBCU and FCS football players in the All-Star Contest. It was a special week of events for the young men, coaches, scouts and talent evaluators, culminating in a nationally televised game at Yulman Stadium.
The inaugural HBCU Legacy Bowl game action between Team Gaither and Team Robinson will fulfill the vision of co-founders Doug Williams and James “Shack” Harris.
“It’s not about the school, it’s about the players,” Harris said. His word resonates with Dr. King’s famous quote that his race should be “judged by the content of your character”. In recent years, NFL talent evaluators have failed to screen athletes for HBCU football programs.
A sobering reality about drafting a player drafted in the previous two drafts is forcing the NFL to address a hidden bias in the NFL Draft process. HBCU coaches and players have noticed the apparent gap in fairly evaluating the skills and abilities of HBCU players compared to players in FBS programs.
This is why the HBCU Legacy Bowl is very important for players. It’s a fair opportunity from people who were treated unfairly as NFL trailblazers – Williams and Harris. Harris once said to me, “We have to take care of ourselves.”
New Orleans Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland said: “I don’t think we’ve had enough exposure to these HBCU players, especially in the last two years because of COVID. There are still great players in HBCUs – hidden gems, you just have to discover them.”
Maybe Ireland is right about the exposure, but player video was available should NFL scouting departments choose to contact HBCU athletic departments and coaching staff.
Doug Williams is a senior adviser to the Washington commanders and is certain
The players will have their chance. Coach Eddie Robinson told a reporter: “All he needs is an opportunity.” Referring to Doug Williams and his chances of being drafted in the 1978 NFL Draft. He received it, played and won the Super Bowl XXII championship from Washington.
Will today’s young HBCU Legacy Bowl athletes finally get their chance and one day receive the call for the NFL, CFL, USFL or XFL Draft?
We will see.
About the game: The HBCU Legacy Bowl, presented by the Black College Football Hall of Fame, is a post-season all-star game featuring the top NFL Draft-eligible football players from historically black colleges and universities. It will be broadcast live on NFL Network. More than a football game, the weeklong celebration of black culture and history will provide invaluable exposure for HBCU students.
How to watch: The game will air live on the NFL Network at 3:00 p.m. CT. Steve Wyche (play-by-play), Bucky Brooks (field analyst), Charles Davis (game analyst) and Cameron Wolfe (reporter) will call the game for the network.
Stars and sponsors: Patrick Mahomes, a sponsor of the game, will be honorary captain and will participate in the draw. Other NFL players are sponsors: Jameis Winston, Terron Armstead, Bobby Wagner and Aaron Donald.
Corporate Sponsors: Microsoft, Handshake, Cisco, The Odor Doctors, Hyatt, Coca-Cola, Zebra, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Riddell, Allstate Sugar Bowl, State Farm, Sirius XM, Coast Guard, Tulane University, Deluxe Athletics, Home Depot, Coors Light, Louisiana State, NFL, Adidas, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings.
Tickets: Tickets for the HBCU Legacy Bowl are available online HERE.
Festivities: Pre-game show by the St. Augustine High School Marching 100 from New Orleans, LA. The national anthem will be sung by Tonya Boyd-Cannon. Halftime show by the Grambling State Marching Band.