The National Football League will be honoring legendary Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University student-athlete, Bob Hayes, as well as 29 other Historically Black College Universities football legends, at this year’s Super Bowl. Super Bowl LI will be played February 5, in Houston.
Bob Hayes was a legendary professional wide receiver who won a gold medal and Super Bowl ring. He was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August 2009, and is the second Olympic gold medalist, in the hall of fame, with such a feat.
The former President of FAMU Alumni Association, Tommy Mitchell, who also attended FAMU with Hayes and remained friends through their professional and adult years said, “Bob Hayes was so fast that teams had to begin to look at defensive backs that were much faster.”
FAMU’s Interim President, Dr. Larry Robinson, Ph.D., acknowledged the NFL for their attentiveness towards HBCU football legends and for Bob Hayes.
“I commend the NFL for honoring Bob Hayes along with the other well-deserving greats,” he said.
Bob Hayes was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1964, where they won a Super Bowl (Super Bowl VI) in 1972. He attended FAMU on a football scholarship and also excelled in track & field, having never lost a meet in the 100-meter dash and was inducted into the inaugural FAMU Sports Hall of Fame in 1976. He won two gold medals at the 1964 Summer Olympics, Tokyo.
Hayes’ life was marred with legal and drug woes, which deterred him from being inducted in 2004, but got enshrined five years later to the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame.
The NFL teamed up with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and the Celebration Bowl played in Atlanta, where the HBCU National Championship game is played.
NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Troy Vincent said, “The HBCU influence on the NFL goes beyond the evolution of the game and reaches deep into the very fabric of football.” He added, “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.” Nike has partnered with the MEAC, endorsing the conference the 2020 season.
Assistant Director of Sports Information at FAMU, Alvin Hollins Jr., said, “I think it is a great moment for the HBCUs because it gives the NFL an opportunity to recognize these men;” also adding, “And if you could really research the impact of these HBCU graduates, I think you would see that they were instrumental in changing certain aspects of the game.” Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, and Doug Williams are some of the more famous, star HBCU players to play in the NFL, and all three have Super Bowl rings.
FAMU has produced is share of prominent athletes, with the likes of Althea Gibson, Pam Oliver, Andre Dawson, to name a few.
Super Bowl LI will kick off at 6:30 p.m. on FOX.