Pro Football Hall Of Fame/NFL
  • NFL Black History Firsts

    Brown University halfback Fritz Pollard is shown in this 1916 photo. Pollard later became one of the first two African-American NFL football players, helping to lead the Akron Pros to the championship in 1920. He became the co-head coach for the team in 1921, making him the first black NFL head coach.
    Pro Football Hall Of Fame/NFL
  • NFL Black History Firsts

    Bobby Marshall broke the NFL color line in the same year as Fritz Pollard (1920), including stints with the Rock Island Independents.
    Pro Football Hall Of Fame/NFL
  • NFL Black History Firsts

    Michigan State quarterback Willie Thrower is shown Oct. 1, 1951. Thrower became the NFL's first black quarterback when he played for the Chicago Bears in 1953.
    AP Photo
  • NFL Black History Firsts

    Lowell Perry is shown in this Nov. 24, 1952, photo in Ann Arbor, Mich. Perry became the first African-American assistant coach in the NFL in 1957, for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the first black broadcaster for the NFL in 1966, on CBS.
    Eck Stanger/Detroit Free Press/AP Photo
  • NFL Black History Firsts

    Burl Abron Toler, shown in this in this June 30, 1965, photo, was named the first NFL football league official as a field judge and head linesman. Toler went on to work one Super Bowl in a distinguished career.
    AP Photo
  • NFL Black History Firsts

    Pittsburgh Steelers' running back Franco Harris carries the football during the Steelers 16-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IX, Jan. 12, 1975, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. Harris was the first African-American to win the Super Bowl MVP. Of mixed heritage, Harris was also first Italian-American to win the award.
    Sylvia Allen/Getty Images
  • NFL Black History Firsts

    Referee Johnny Grier signals during a game between the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Oct. 17, 1999. Grier became the first black NFL referee in 1988.
    George Gojkovich/Getty Images
  • NFL Black History Firsts

    Washington Redskins' quarterback Doug Williams drops back for a pass during Super Bowl XXII against the Denver Broncos in San Diego, Jan. 31, 1988. Williams was the first black quarterback to play in a Super Bowl and, to date, the only one to win one. He was also named the game's MVP.
    Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
  • NFL Black History Firsts

    Los Angeles Raiders head coach Art Shell is shown in 1990 in Los Angeles. Shell became the first African-American head coach in the modern era of the NFL when he was named to the position in 1989.
    Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
  • NFL Black History Firsts

    Chicago Bears' head coach Lovie Smith, left, and Indianapolis Colts' head coach Tony Dungy stand with the Vince Lombardi Trophy during a news conference, Feb. 2, 2007, in Miami Beach, Fla. Super Bowl XLI was the first meeting between two African-American coaches in the football championship and Dungy became the first black coach to win.
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images
  • NFL Black History Firsts

    New York Giants' General Manager Jerry Reese holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Giants beat the New England Patriots, 17-14, in Super Bowl XLII at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 3, 2008. Reese became the first African-American GM to win a Super Bowl.
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images
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