Former Super Bowl Champion Tarvaris Jackson died at age 36 on Sunday night in a single-car crash in Montgomery, Alabama. Jackson served as the quarterbacks coach at Tennessee State last season after occupying the same role at Alabama State, his alma mater.
While old teammates such as Russell Wilson and his former coach Pete Carroll have jumped on social media to express their condolences, we should take a moment to remember the forgotten history that Jackson made on February 2, 2014.
During the final three minutes of Super Bowl XLVIII, a 48-3 dismantling of Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos by the Seattle Seahawks, Jackson came in to replace Wilson. And at the 2:08 mark, he officially checked into the boxscore on third down when he threw a ball away after being flushed out the pocket.
“I think it’s a nice gesture that the staff did by getting Tarvaris Jackson into this game. He’s been working hard, too,” said Troy Aikman during the broadcast.
When you think about the history of Super Bowls, backups don’t usually play unless they started the game or lead their team to victory. For instance, Gale Gilbert (Chargers), Bill Musgrave (49ers), and Elvis Grbac (49ers) all came off the bench and combined to throw eight passes between the three of them in Super Bowl XXIX which took place 25 years ago. Six years later, Tony Banks – a black quarterback – threw an incompletion for the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV.
There have only been seven black quarterbacks to ever start a Super Bowl, and that list includes Doug Williams, Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Patrick Mahomes. However, the number of starts is eight, as Wilson has made two Super Bowl appearances, which is another historic mark.
Many considered the 2019 season to be the “Year of the Black Quarterback”, given that Lamar Jackson was the unanimous MVP and Mahomes won Super Bowl MVP, to go along with the stellar play of guys such as Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray and Wilson.
Next season will determine if a new leaf has finally turned when it comes to how black quarterbacks are treated or if this was just a random blip on the radar. The way that teams evaluate Jalen Hurts will go a long way toward determining that.
However, that remains to be seen.
What we did get to witness was two black quarterbacks take the field during Super Bowl XLVIII.
Jackson is survived by his wife, Lakitta, and three children, Tarvaris, Takayla, and Tyson.
And by that historic appearance six years ago, which should never be forgotten.