By Lucas Johnson
NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University’s Super Bowl legacy was once again in the spotlight when its Pro Football Hall of Famers were recognized at Super Bowl LI.
The National Football League hosted Hall of Famers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities “to highlight their achievements and as part of the NFL’s growing relationship with HBCUs,” Troy Vincent, Sr., executive director, Football Operations, said in a letter to TSU President Glenda Glover.
“Tennessee State University has had a number of former players who have been in past Super Bowls dating back to the first one. It’s an extreme honor,” Glover said. “It also speaks to our proud tradition as a University and as an HBCU.”
TSU’s Hall of Famers are Richard Dent, a 2011 inductee and MVP of Super Bowl XX with the Chicago Bears; and Claude Humphrey, a 2014 inductee who played in Super Bowl XV with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Th HBCU Hall of Famers were recognized in several ways, including an on-field ceremony prior to kickoff on Feb. 5 in Houston.
“Very few football players make it to the NFL,” Vincent said. “Fewer still reach the pinnacle of our sport: The Pro Football Hall of Fame. Student-athletes at HBCUs represent only a small portion of the college football population, but an amazing 10 percent of all players in the Hall of Fame attend HBCUs.”
TSU’s football legacy dates back to the first Super Bowl in 1967. Then, former TSU Tigers Willie Mitchell and Fletcher Smith appeared as teammates for the Kansas City Chiefs. More than 20 others have followed them over the years. The most recent Super Bowl participants are Lamar Divens (2010); Anthony Levine (2011); and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (2014). Former TSU offensive guard Robert Myers was on the Denver Broncos squad that won Super Bowl 50.
Last year, Tennessee State was recognized at the 7th Annual John Wooten Leadership Awards in San Francisco for the number of TSU football players who have gone on to play in Super Bowls.
Altogether, TSU has had 31 Super Bowl appearances. Of the 393 schools with Super Bowl alums, only 55 have more than Tennessee State’s 21.
To see a list of TSU Super Bowl participants, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/pr/