The National Football League 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 Rice, Michael Strahan and Aeneas Williams. 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”.
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|
|AENEAS WILLIAMS||Southern University|
|RAYFIELD WRIGHT||Fort Valley State|