Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
(photos from Wikipedia)
"CAM" becomes latest Atlanta-born Super Bowl participant
ATLANTA- Come February 7 of this year, Cameron Jerrell "Cam" Newton will join colleagues from 1967 on as the latest native of the city of Atlanta to participate in a Super Bowl. Newton, who has set the NFL on fire since arriving in Charlotte, North Carolina to play for the Carolina Panthers in 2011, is a graduate of Westlake High School on the city's southwest side.
"Cam" joins Atlantans who boast at least one super bowl ring or, at the very worst, played in one of the NFL's "big 50".
The Super Bowl started out as the AFL-NFL championship game January 15, 1967 (ironically on the 39th birthday of Dr Martin Luther King Junior) at the Coliseum in Los Angeles (the name Super Bowl is credited to American Football League founder and Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt). The game has featured many ATL residents, either born and/or raised here since its origin. Reference web pro-football-reference.com says 613 Georgians have called the NFL home almost since the game with the oval unveiled the pro version in 1920. 135 of that number have claimed Atlanta as their place of birth and more than a handful of that number have added Super Bowl participation to their resumes. Space in this publication (save the web) prohibits naming each person. But here is a very healthy sampling:
FRANK PITTS (wide receiver, Southern )
Pitts is an early 1960s graduate of Samuel H. Archer High School here and played collegiately at Southern University. In 1968 , he was a fourth round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL. In 1970, he played in Super Bowl IV which the Chiefs won over Minnesota 23-7. Pitts ended his nine year NFL career with the Oakland Raiders
MORRIS STROUD (tight end, Clark-Atlanta)
Although Stroud was born in Miami, Florida, he was raised in Griffin Georgia and educated at historic Fairmount High School. He attended Atlanta's Clark College (now CAU) and in 1969 was selected in the third round of that's yea NFL draft by Kansas City. He spent five years in the pros and, like Frank Pitts, was part of the Chief's Super Bowl IV victory team. Stroud's grid career ended in 1974.
CARLTON WILLIAMSON (defensive back Pitt)
Few football fans, save those who know him well, remember that Williamson was a quarterback at Atlanta's Joe Brown High (now JB MIddle) in the city's west end community but was switched to defensive back when he enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh. Williamson was picked by San Francisco as their third round pick of the 1981 NFL draft . He spent his entire seven year career with the 49ers and is the owner of three super bowl rings from the years 1982,1985 and 1989. Williamson is currently senior vice president of the Waffle House corporation.
RICHARD DENT (defensive end, Tennessee State)
Dent, born and raised in the Kirkwood community of southeast Atlanta, graduated from Joe Murphy High school (now Crim open campus High) and attended Tennessee State University. During the 1983 NFL draft, many teams passed up on him (Atlanta was one of them. They said he was too small). He was finally picked up in the 8th round by the Chicago Bears and their loss was Coach Mike Ditka's gain. Dent was MVP of Super Bowl XX in 1986. and was inducted into the NFL Hall of fame in 2011. His high school alma mater, through Allstate Insurance, set up a display for him at the school.
HAROLD McLINTON ( linebacker, Southern )
"Tank" McLinton as he later came to be known, was born in Fort Valley, Georgia but raised in Atlanta. He attended CL Harper High ( now Harper-Archer Middle) ,playing quarterback for the football team but switching to linebacker when he attended Southern Univesity. In 1969, he was picked up in the sixth round of that year's draft by the Washington Redskins where he spent all of his seven year career. He was with the Skins when they went to the 1973 super bowl which they lost 14-7 to Miami. On October 31, 1980, McLinton was sideswiped by a motorist on a DC freeway while helping a stranger change a tire. He was eulogozed in November at Atlanta's Union Baptist Church by Dr Eddie Wheeler, a classmate of his at Harper and currently president of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC).
HERBERT MULKEY (running back, return specialist, Alabama State)
McLinton had a big hand in getting a younger Harper High teammate to the Washington Redskins in 1972.That same year, Skins head coach George Allen conducted an open tryout which Mulkey attended . Out of hundreds of candidates, Mulkey made the squad in 1972 after impressing the team's special teams coach with a blazing 40 yard run time which won him an instant contract. Like McLinton, he was also on the Redskins team that went to the Super Bowl in 1973. Mulkey, born and raised in Atlanta,. attended Alabama State University for a year and served a stint in the US Navy. He kept in shape by playing minor league footbasll in Atlanta with the Vine City Packers, a member of the fledgling Atlanta Amateur football league. After being traded by the Skins in 1974, Mulkey played a year in the CFL before returning to his home town where he currently resides.
JAMAL LEWIS ( running back)
Lewis, a native son and graduate of Frederick Douglass High School and later the University of Tennessee, was a first round draft pick by the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. He wound up on the right team at the right time. In 2001, Baltimore defeated the New York Giants in Super Bow XXXV and Lewis had a big hand in the 34-7 victory. Lewis ended his nine year playing career with the Cleveland Browns in 2009. He currently resides in Atlanta......
Not every Atlanta participant in the Superbowl's 50 year stint was an athlete. In 2013, Jerome Boger of Atlanta ( Douglass High , Morehouse College) became the second African -American referee during Super Bowl XLVII( (47). You could call it the apex of Boger's 41 years of wearing stripes when his playings at Douglass and Morehouse (as a quarterback) were done. Starting from little league and youth football, he officiated at the high schoo and, college level before graduating to the NFL. He became an NFL official in 2004 and in two years was promoted to referee.
The 50th playing of the Super Bowl is Sunday, February 7 , Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara California. Kickoff time is 6:30pm. For the first time, the NFL is abandoning the roman numerals which designated previous games.
There were also players throughout the Peach State that also made it to the grand game.
The list includes Rayfield Wright (Fort Valley, Dallas), George "Butch" Atkinson, (Savannah's Sol Johnson High, Morris Brown, Oakland), Mel Blount (Vidalia Georgia, Southern, Pittsburgh), Richardo Lockette (Albany Georgia, Fort Valley State, Seattle), and Emerson Boozer (Augusta Georgia, Lucy Laney High, New York Jets).
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