|Doug Williams and Grambling will face Lincoln (MO) in the inaugural Missouri Classic. (ESPN photo)|
Coming off of a one-win season, most college football programs would struggle to fill their own stadiums, let alone a professional one. But Grambling State and Lincoln (Mo.) are planning to do just that this fall. Lincoln and Grambling will face each other in the inaugural Missouri Classic on Sept. 14, according to KCChiefs.com. The game will be played in Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Both teams are coached by former Super Bowl heroes. Grambling’s Doug Williams is famous for being the first black quarterback to play in the game, leading the Washington Redskins a victory in Super Bowl XXII. Lincoln is coached by Mike Jones, the linebacker whose shoestring tackle of Kevin Dyson gave the Rams their first Super Bowl win.
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThe game will take place the day before the Chiefs home opener against Dallas. Williams spoke of the signifigance of Grambling playing on the field of the same team that made a bold move fifty years ago. The Chiefs picked Grambling defensive tackle Buck Buchannan first overall in the 1963 AFL Draft, making him the first player from a historically black college to be selected first overall in a professional football draft.
“It is very exciting for us from Grambling because the Kansas City Chiefs have meant a lot to us… we are always grateful that the Chiefs reached back in the 60’s and picked one of our players. So we feel like we are kind of part of the family.”
Lincoln, is a Jefferson City, Missouri-based HBCU that competes at the Division II level as a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The seating capacity at Arrowhead Stadium is approximately 76,000. Jones said he’s excited for his players to get to play on the same field where their hometown team competes.
We have a lot of kids from Kansas City, a lot of kids from St. Louis and Missouri as a whole, they’ve seen the Chiefs and they’ve seen the stadium but a lot of the times, they haven’t had a chance to go to the games or to the stadium; now they have an opportunity to play in the stadium, so it’s going to be awesome.”
And, of course, both teams will bring their band. After all, what’s an HBCU classic without a band?
“I think this is a great opportunity, to me, it is more of a family event,” Williams said. “It is something that you can bring the whole family to and enjoy something that doesn’t come to the Kansas City area that often, that is two historical black colleges playing football.”
This will be the first of four “classics” Grambling will participate in during the 2013 season. The others: The State Fair Classic against Prarie View, the Circle City Classic against Alcorn State and the Bayou Classic against Southern.