The First HBCU Alum Super Bowl MVP

Super Bowl LVIII is in the rearview, with the Chiefs defeating the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 and winning back-to-back Lombardi trophies. It’s also Black History Month, so I want to highlight a Super Bowl fact: the first HBCU player to win a Super Bowl MVP.

In the 1985-86 NFL season, the league was dominated by one of the best defenses ever to play the game, the 85’ Chicago Bears. That year, the Bears had one of the best years in NFL history; they went 15-1 in the regular season and absolutely ran through the playoffs, winning every game by 21 or more points.

In their dominant 46-10 win in Super Bowl XX against the New England Patriots, one player in particular stood out on that dominant performance, earning him MVP of the game. No other than Tennessee State University’s own Richard Dent. Not only did they have Dent but the Bears also had one of the greatest HBCU players of all time, Walter Payton, coming from The Jackson State University.

Dent had one and a half quarterback sacks, two forced fumbles, and swatted a pass; with this performance, he won MVP of the game, making him the first player who played at an HBCU to win Super Bowl MVP. 

When Dent was drafted in the eighth round in 1983, he made an instant impact on the team, playing in every game in his first year. In his second year, that’s where the beginning of his Hall of Fame career started to take off. In the second year, he finished with 17.5 sacks, then followed it up with 17 sacks in the year he won Super Bowl MVP.

Richard Dent was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011; he finished his illustrious career with 137.5 sacks, top 10 all-time officially, four Pro Bowls, and five All-NFC selections. At the time of his retirement, he was third all-time in sacks.

Dent played for four teams: the Chicago Bears, the San Francisco 49ers, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Philadelphia Eagles. He spent most of his team with the Bears, playing 11 seasons and winning two Super Bowls in his 15-year career. Richard Dent will forever be known as the first HBCU player to win a Super Bowl MVP, paving the way for others to follow his footsteps.

Where the HBCU Culture Resides