NFL, MID-EASTERN AND SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCES KICK OFF PARTNERSHIP AT CELEBRATION BOWL

NFL Communications

NFL, MID-EASTERN AND SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCES KICK OFF PARTNERSHIP AT CELEBRATION BOWL

Corporate Communications 2016 Regular English

​FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

12/19/16

NFL AND MID-EASTERN & SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCES KICK OFF PARTNERSHIP AT CELEBRATION BOWL

Initiatives to culminate at Super Bowl LI with Celebration of Pro Football Hall of Fame Players who Attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

The NFL joined the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) at the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia this past weekend to kick off their enhanced partnership. The initiative –  Strength of HBCUs, Impacting Pro Football Since 1948 –  will celebrate and honor the history and impact HBCUs and their players have had on the game, and work to increase career opportunities for students and athletic administrators at these institutions. 

The celebration of the legacy and impact of HBCUs and their players will continue at Super Bowl LI in Houston, the NFL announced yesterday. The NFL will carry on the tradition of honoring Legends and historic players at the Super Bowl by recognizing Pro Football Hall of Fame players who attended HBCUs, including JERRY RICEMICHAEL STRAHAN and AENEAS WILLIAMS (see full list below). The celebration will culminate with an on-field, pregame ceremony with these players at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 5. 

“The HBCU influence on the NFL goes beyond the evolution of the game and reaches deep into the very fabric of football, and we are honored to celebrate their achievements at Super Bowl LI in Houston”, said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations TROY VINCENT. “Our partnership with the HBCUs is an important initiative which celebrates the tremendous legacy fostered by these institutions that continue to contribute a standard of excellence and character for our game”.

Hosted in conjunction with the Celebration Bowl, the inaugural NFL Careers in Football Forum introduced 80 students and entry-level athletic department administrators from the 23 MEAC and SWAC institutions to career opportunities in professional football. The event featured panel discussions with NFL and club executives, resume and skill building workshops, and a behind-the scenes look into football operations on game day. 

The NFL has a longstanding relationship with HBCUs, which have developed some of the greats of the game. Twenty-nine of the 303 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame attended HBCUs. Earlier this year, the Pro Football Hall of Fame (PFHOF) and the Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF), announced a partnership that will result in a permanent home for the BCFHOF as part of the new Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village on the PFHOF’s campus in Canton, Ohio, adding to the history and association of HBCUs and their players’ influence on the game. 

To learn more about the partnership and the HBCU players that impacted the game, watch the NFL Films-produced tribute – https://youtu.be/fesPPn1mFKs.

Below is a list of the 29 Pro Football Hall of Fame members who will be recognized at Super Bowl LI. In addition to the Hall of Fame players, NFL Legends and former Grambling State players, DOUG WILLIAMS and the late PAUL “TANK” YOUNGER, will be honored in Houston for their legendary achievements and profound impact on the game.

 

LEM BARNEY

Jackson State

ELVIN BETHEA

North Carolina A&T

MEL BLOUNT

Southern University 

ROOSEVELT BROWN

Morgan State

WILLIE BROWN

Grambling State

BUCK BUCHANAN

Grambling State

HARRY CARSON

South Carolina State

WILLIE DAVIS

Grambling State

RICHARD DENT

Tennessee State

BOB HAYES

Florida A&M

CLAUDE HUMPHREY

Tennessee State

LEN FORD

Morgan State

BOB HAYES

Florida A&M

KEN HOUSTON

Prairie View A&M

CHARLIE JOINER

Grambling State

DEACON JONES

Mississippi Valley State

LEROY KELLY

Morgan State

WILLIE LANIER

Morgan State

LARRY LITTLE

Bethune Cookman

WALTER PAYTON

Jackson State

JERRY RICE

Mississippi Valley State

SHANNON SHARPE

Savannah State

ART SHELL

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

JACKIE SLATER

Jackson State

JOHN STALLWORTH

Alabama A&M

MICHAEL STRAHAN 

Texas Southern

EMMITT THOMAS

Bishop

AENEAS WILLIAMS

Southern University

RAYFIELD WRIGHT

Fort Valley State