top of page
  • Writer's pictureDeja Rose

A Sport That Tests Your Mental Toughness: Football

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

In honor of this year, Super Bowl weekend, Cherish All Greatness Inc has decided to shut the light the history of football and how it relates to Black History Month. Did you know that there are four key black former athletes who have paved the way for nearly more than 65% of African-Americans around the world as it relates to being able to play football here in the United States? 

The first is Kenny Washington  who was a running back and secondly, Woody Strode who played during the post war as an offensive end. These two played for the Los Angeles Rams and made history.

Kenny Washington - Running back
Woody Strode(postwar era) - Offensive end

The next was Bill Willis who position was middle guard and finally Marion Motley who was a Fullback. These two payed for the Cleveland Browns and also made history.

Bill Willis - middle guard position
Marion Motley - Fullback


"During the late-1940s, racial segregation was the cultural norm in many American cities, and Jim Crow laws still ruled southern and border states.

Despite these tense social conditions (and 20 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964), four valiant men helped integrate the NFL in 1946, one year before Jackie Robinson smashed professional baseball's color barrier.”

This year two Black quarterbacks start the Super Bowl for the first time ever.

Pat Mahomes followed as winners. Mahomes is back leading his Kansas City Chiefs, and Jalen Hurts makes his first appearance in the title game with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Pat Mahomes - Quarterback
Jalen Hurts - Quarterback

Over the years, the NFL has been known to treat Black QB’s differently.

Despite stereotypes, this year has seen 11 of the 16 teams start the season with Black quarterbacks at the helm.

Good luck to both teams – whoever wins will add to the legacy of Black Quarterbacks in the NFL.

There are also a few HBCU football players that are Super Bowl LVII bound.

HBCU football players will be represented in Super Bowl LVII when the Philadelphia Eagles face the Kansas City Chief in Glendale, Arizona on Feb. 12.

Joshua Williams, the first HBCU player taken in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Fayetteville State, helped Kansas City reach its third Super Bowl in the last four years with a big interception against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game. Williams was assisted on the play by fellow defensive back Bryon Cook, a former Howard Bison.

Mac McCain, a reserve on the Eagles by way of North Carolina A&T, also has an opportunity to win a championship.

Bryan Cook played for Howard and Cincinnati College. Rookie wide receiver enters his first season with the Chiefs in 2022. 

Javon Hargrave was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Salisbury, North Carolina, U.S.


Football and Mental health: Why Are They Important?

According to NHS inform, there are some health benefits of football. "Football counts towards your recommended amount of aerobic activity. It brings benefits including reducing your risk of certain chronic illnesses like:

In addition, "football will also help to improve your overall cardiovascular health and you should see your endurance increase over time if it's played frequently."

Football is a combination of running, walking, sprinting and kicking. This can bring benefits including:

  • increased stamina

  • improved cardiovascular health

  • reduced body fat

  • improved muscle strength and tone

  • increased bone strength

  • improved coordination

Furthermore, "playing regular sports is also thought to help improve symptoms of some mental health issues like depression and stress. This can increase confidence and self-esteem and can help to reduce anxiety."

Why is it Important To Have A Strong Mental Health in Football?

According to People's Defender, football is also a great way to help maintain a healthy level of endorphins and can make moods more stable. "People suffering from symptoms of depression and anxiety can often use exercise to help alleviate symptoms and naturally lift dark moods."

In addition, football has become one of the most popular sports amount young boys and adults in America which has surpassed baseball as the nation’s leading sport. "Football teaches discipline, teamwork and dedication, all of which are beneficial beyond the gridiron." American football has also became a popular sport for health and fitness needs.

• Better work ethic: "Even though teams play only one game weekly, they practice five days a week. That means that as long as you make a commitment to put in the hard work during the week, the success and results will show on game day."

• Stress relief: "Adrenaline rushes from playing football help with stress release, so players are more calm and less prone to depression and aggressive behavior in life outside the field."

• Overall workout: "The intensity and range of movements involved in the game, including kicks, twists,turns and throws, provide better overall exercise, according to a series of studies. The sustained, stop-start nature of the game helps to build long-term fitness and burn fat, as it mimics interval training•"

• Mental health: Football helps to maintain a healthy level of endorphins and can make moods more stable. "People suffering from symptoms of depression and anxiety can often use exercise to help alleviate symptoms and naturally lift dark moods. Football also promotes social integration, which also adds its own feel-good factor."

• Teamwork: "Selflessness, cooperation and teamwork are what most youth football coaches emphasize to bring their teams together, so they can function and play together efficiently and effectively as a group. These lessons carry over into daily life at school, work or with friends."

• Cardio: "Football at any level requires a great deal of running, jumping and quick changes of direction. The game is an excellent form of aerobic and anaerobic exercise."

• Interval training: "Football combines periods of slow and fast movement with added bouts of sprinting. This makes the heart work at different paces and not just at a constant elevated level. This mimics interval training, which is a more effective way of controlling body fat and increasing overall fitness."

• It’s an enjoyable activity: "With the excitement of the game itself, people sometimes don’t even notice that they are also getting a good workout. This will stop them from getting bored and giving up, which is what most sedentary people give as their main excuse for not exercising."

• Cardiovascular health: "...this adds great benefits to engage your cardiovascular system, increased longevity, as well as reduced susceptibility to heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and other chronic disease."

• Increased bone density and mass: "Football players are usually required to have a high protein and carbohydrate diet because the sport is so vigorous and requires them to be strong. The strength training exercises help with increased mass and bone density, which reduces the risk of bone and joint related diseases as you get older."

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Feb 11, 2023

I like all you said about toughness and mental health in football. However, please give consideration to recent discussions about professional football connected to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), causing many parents to turn their children away from football. The following is a quote from a Los Angeles Daily News article dated February 7, 2023:

"Boston University researchers say they have now diagnosed 345 former NFL players with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) out of 376 former players studied.

In comparison to that 91.7% CTE rate of studied former NFL players, a past BU study of 164 brains of men and women found that only 1 of 164 (0.6%) had CTE. The lone CTE case was a former college football player.


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page