As you might have heard from a media outlet or two, this is a historic Super Bowl because it features two African American head coaches for the first time.
We decided to dig deep into this story, rather than just let it simmer, so we asked our friend The Assimilated Negro, author of the Ghetto Pass column for Gawker and occasional Free Darko correspondent, to file a series of reports about the Negro Bowl, its significance and whatever else might tickle his proverbial fancy. This is the final installment. The graphic is by the great Jim Cooke, by the way.
Well, as we tie the noose around our coverage of Negro Bowl I, we have to say it's been an interesting ride. We've had ups and downs, we've laughed and cried, and through it all we've enjoyed the sound of freedom ringing.
We've also learned some things:
1. African-American are just Americans in Europe.
2. Negro Bowl might be more important than Oprah ("forget about Oprah, man!")
3. Negro Bowl is not nearly as important as hanging Bill Simmons upside down and putting a fork in his ass.
(More after the jump)
Of course, regardless of personal tastes, history is history, and nowhere has the gravity of this moment been more apparent than over at ESPN, where the reverent kissing of melanin ass has proceeded unabated all week (and it feels so good!).
In the latest pucker they gather up some of the black head coaches in the league for a chat, and everyone does a good job of sounding nice and articulate, .... well except for Marvin Lewis, who, we couldn't help but notice, might be delusional. To demonstrate we pull three of his responses:
Lewis: "Growing up, when you saw Art Shell as a player and getting into coaching, you knew he stood for discipline, hard work and toughness."
Delusion #1: Art Shell + The Raiders = Discipline
Lewis: "Now, to see two coaches, it gives a ray of light for young African-American males, females, that whatever you want to achieve in life, if you work hard enough at it and you do the right things, you have an opportunity.
Delusion #2:African-American females have a shot at coaching an NFL team to the Super Bowl, you know, if they work hard at it and do the right things. (?!!?)
But the money quote was less a delusion and more a subtextual leaking of The Truth:
Lewis: "Really, for the first time, an African-American was hired who maybe hadn't spent the time and did everything. We have watched it happen with other coaches, but Mike's hire was a first."
We actually didn't quite understand what he meant at first, so we hired a translator. Here's what they told us:
Lewis: "For the first time we got a job without paying all those dues. I had to win a Super Bowl, and coach the greatest defensive performance of all time to even get on the radar, while cornballs like Dave McGinnis, Dave Campo, Marty Mornhinweg and Mike Sherman were snatching up jobs. Now it's our turn to cruise in interviews off one good season or two. Holla!
So with that in mind I've printed out my dominant lifetime record in Madden, taking care to highlight when I took the Texans to a Super Bowl victory in year 2018 of my franchise. I should at least be able to get an interview with Matt Millen.
In the same interview, while it was apparent Herm Edwards didn't see our video, we were struck by his willingness to compare sports and politics:
It is not perhaps on the level of the White House or the first black secretary of state or the first black head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, [but] it is one more river that we really needed to cross."
Personally, I don't think anyone in the White House, whether black, Puerto Rican or Asian, could afford the amount of lip balm necessary to properly kiss Tony Dungy's rings; but then again, I voted for Nader, so I'm an idiot. Nevertheless, the sports and politics analogy is apt as the dominant headlines for the past month — Hillary vs. Obama and Tony vs. Lovie — seem to illustrate that sports and politics are evolving at the same pace. Either one can be dismissed as having more entertainment value than actual substance, but both are also proving to be cultural barometers measuring the winds of change and opportunity. In the end all any politician, coach, player wants is an opportunity to shoulder the load. Win, lose or draw.
But while The American Dream may be premised on opportunity, the cold capitalist reality that slaps all of us awake says, "Shut up and smell the Matt Millen. There's only winning or being forgotten. Victory or death-by-comments." So in ascertaining our rooting interests for the two races that matter, we defer to seniority and experience; both Barack and Lovie strike us as more apprentice than master, and so we predict: Dungy prevails in Negro Bowl I, giving the first Negro championship to the light-skin team (as expected). And Hillary takes the Democratic trophy over Obama, in a triumph of gender over race.
Of course with great moments like these there are no real losers. Well, except for Bill Simmons.
bennydis (2/1/2007 at 2:35 PM) Report Ignore
Seriously? How bad does Simmons want to be black?
We look forward to covering Bill during Negro Bowl II.