When the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles take the field for the Super Bowl on Sunday, two Texas communities will temporarily become rivals.
Charean Williams, longtime NFL reporter, spoke to the Texas Standard about the two stars’ Texas roots and the outlook for the big game. Listen to the story above or read the transcript below.
This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:
Texas Standard: Tell us a little bit more about the high school careers of each of these Super Bowl quarterbacks. Should we begin with Mahomes, perhaps?
Charean Williams: Yeah, you know, I think with his two league MVP awards and his Super Bowl MVP award, he’s pretty special. And I think you saw that at Whitehouse. You saw that at Texas Tech. And now you’re seeing it on the biggest stage in the NFL with what he’s doing. He’s really transcended, I think, the sport. And it’s rare that you see that with a quarterback because you feel like everything’s been done in this day and age, and he’s just doing some things that have never been done before. So it’s pretty cool to see. But I think everybody at Whitehouse figured this is the way his career is going to go.
What about Jalen Hurts?
Yeah, you know, he played for his dad down in Channelview and same type deal. They were both All-State quarterbacks and you could just see that they were going to be very good. Now, it doesn’t always work out that way. Obviously, we’ve had a lot of All-State quarterbacks who haven’t gone on to the NFL and had the career that these two guys have had. But first and second in the MVP voting, Hurts was second and I think he might have won the thing if he hadn’t gotten hurt. Missed two games. But that shoulder injury has healed and he looks like himself again. But yeah, Channelview and Whitehouse are very proud of what their guys have done and are doing. And I don’t think anyone who saw these guys play in high school is surprised.
Well, in college football, in the NFL, I know quarterbacks from Texas are relatively overrepresented. Why is that? I guess Texas has a rather large, outsized reputation as a center for a lot of football in high school.
Yeah. Nine total players from Texas in this game played Texas high school football. That’s the most, but surprisingly Mississippi ties this year with nine. That really surprised me. But Texas has nine and we had this long stretch where we didn’t have a Texas high school quarterback drafted in the first round and where they weren’t playing in Super Bowls until we got Vince Young drafted in the first round and Drew Brees playing in a Super Bowl and winning a Super Bowl early in the 2000s.
So, you know, I think it was a concentration on the running game early when we had that stretch. We weren’t having these quarterbacks and then just the 7 on 7 play and the passing games within the high school ranks have really just propelled Texas to the forefront of the quarterback market. When you look, Matthew Stafford was last year, I mentioned Drew Brees, Nick Foles a few years ago. Aside from Tom Brady, we’ve had a really good run here in Texas of high school quarterbacks who won in the Super Bowl and won some MVP awards.
Is it fair to say that the money’s on Mahomes outperforming Hurts in the game here? I mean he has such a reputation and MVPs and all that.
Yeah you know I think so, just based on his career so far and the fact that he’s been in the game before and won the game before. But I wouldn’t count out Jalen Hurts. I do think Jalen Hurts has the better team around him, I think he’s got better talent around there. The best offensive line in football, one of the best receiving corps – arguably maybe the best receiving corps, with DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown being their leading guys.
I think it’s going to be a great game. I think it’s going to be a high-scoring game. I think the team that can make the most stops – because I don’t think there’ll be a ton – but the team that can make those most stops for some turnovers, if there are turnovers, is going to win the game. So it’s weird to say that defense could decide this game. I’m saying it’s high-scoring, but it may only take a couple stops and you know, a couple takeaways and you’re going to win this game.
Which of these two Texans do you see coming out on top on Sunday?
Yeah, I’m just rooting for a good game. How about that? I’m kind of like everybody else in Texas who’s not a Patrick Mahomes or Jalen Hurts fan. I think you’re just rooting for a good game.
You know, I mentioned the Eagles, I think have the better team. I did pick the Eagles to go to the Super Bowl before the year started. I did not pick the Chiefs and I did not pick the Eagles to win it, but I think I’m going to pick the Eagles to win this game. Again, I just think they have the most talent. I think they’re going to be able to make some defensive stops with Haason Reddick and some of those defensive lines. They are just a sack machine and I think they’re going to get after Patrick Mahomes. So I’m going to pick the Eagles to win this. 30-to-27 is going to be my prediction.