Super Bowl Coaches Break NFL Race Barrier - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/22/07-Tyler

Super Bowl Coaches Break NFL Race Barrier

"A new trail has been blazed, a new valley has been crossed, and a new mountain has been reached," says football fan and Tyler community leader Rev. Jerome Milton.

With both the Colts and the Bears.  Both teams have crossed into a new era with their coaches, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith.

"It's a great eye opener for the whole world," says fan Jacqueline Love from Tyler.

From the field to a measure of social equality. Milton recalls the decades when the NFL sidelines were run by whites.

"Behind closed doors and in the smoking rooms, people didn't believe that African-American coaches couldn't win," says Milton.

"New innovative owners thought differently. So to give these people who have played the game and understood the game, and to give them an opportunity to prove themselves and not aside from it [was a monumental change.]"

One of the men will be the first black head coach to win it all -- one of the grandest titles in sports.

"This example will live for many, many, many years," Milton adds.

And Andrew Melontree, a former Smith County commissioner, says it'll be an achievement to be marked, and long remembered.

"[It] certainly has given us some historical significance, and something that we will refer to in the coming years with a lot of pride," Melontree says.

Love says her family will be watching with great pride.

"The game is going to also be played in February, which is also black history month in Texas. And then I feel like my grandkids who are coming up now -- it's going to be part of this black history that they are going to be able to pass on to their children," she says, regardless of who wins.

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