This past Monday, May 9, students, faculty, alumni and residents took part in a community-wide celebration that is a part of the NFL’s recently launched Super Bowl High School Honor Roll initiative recognizing schools and communities that contributed to Super Bowl history and positively impacted the game of football. The event was held in the auditorium at the historic Jack Yates High School in Houston’s Third Ward.
The initiative is part of the NFL’s On The Fifty campaign commemorating Super Bowl 50, which was played on Sunday, February 7, 2016. High schools across the nation, and around the world, received a commemorative Wilson Golden Football for every player or head coach who graduated from their school and was on an active Super Bowl roster. The Wilson Golden Footballs were delivered and presented to five superb Super Bowl participants from Jack Yates.
The members of the Super Bowl High School Honor Roll from Jack Yates include:
- Santana Dotson c/o 1987, a former NFL defensive tackle who won the 1992 Defensive Rookie of the Year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played in two Super Bowls with the Green Bay Packers, including winning Super Bowl XXXI. Dotson was a part of the Jack Yates football team that won the 1985 5A state championship and while attending Baylor University, he was voted All-American in 1991. In 1995, he established the Santana Dotson Foundation as a commitment to helping economically challenged students in urban and rural communities to obtain an enhanced quality of life through educational scholarships and enrichment programs resulting in a self-sufficient community leader giving back to society in abundance.
- Reggie Phillips c/o 1980, a former NFL defensive back who was a member of the 1985 Chicago Bears that won Super Bowl XX, returning an interception for a touchdown in that game. He also played for the Phoenix Cardinals and was a member of the “Shuffling Crew” in the video The Super Bowl Shuffle with the Bears. Phillips attended Southern Methodist University and was the 49th players selected in the 1985 NFL draft. Today, he is the President of the Jack Yates National Alumni Association.
- Elvis Patterson c/o 1980, a former NFL defensive back who played for ten seasons, and is a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants (XXI) and the Dallas Cowboys (XXVIII). He also played for the San Diego Chargers and Los Angeles Raiders. Patterson attended the University of Kansas and after finishing his NFL career he found success in coaching. Today, he is the owner of 4334 Patterson Sporting Events focusing on helping youth gain skills and knowledge about sports.
- Dexter Manley c/o 1977, a former NFL defensive end who played for eleven seasons for the Washington Redskins, Phoenix Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Redskins (XVII, XXII) and is a part of the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame. Nicknamed the “Secretary of Defense,” Manley was known for his sacks and getting to the quarterback, finishing his overall career with 97.5 quarterback sacks (103.5 sacks when you add the six sacks he had his rookie year before they began officially counting sacks). Manley played college football at Oklahoma State University and also played in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for the Ottawa Rough Riders and the Shreveport Pirates.
- Robert Miller c/o 1971, a former NFL running back who played for six seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He attended the University of Kansas, but while at Jack Yates he was known as the “Grinning Bear,” a running back with fullback power and sprinters speed and excellent grades. In 1969, he was in one of the most prolific duels in Houston Independent School District (HISD) history, when he was challenged every week by Kashmere High School running back Delvin Williams for the HISD rushing title. Miller won the title on the last game of the season, while also setting a city rushing record of 1,554 yards. Today, he is a motivational speaker and is the older brother of former Jack Yates Head Football Coach Ronald Miller.
Due to other obligations, only Dotson and Phillips were able to attend. Both gentlemen gave inspiring words to the audience, especially the students.
Coach Ronald Miller accepted on behalf of his brother, Robert. Former Jack Yates Head Football Coach Maurice McGowan accepted on behalf of Patterson and Manley, and gave memorable and even funny remarks about most of the players whom he coached while at the school. Jack Yates’ Principal Kenneth Davis ended the program with gratitude to the players who continue to inspire and provided encouraging remarks of his own to the students.
Nearly 3,000 players and head coaches have been honored and more than 2,000 high schools have been recognized. The state with the most schools receiving golden footballs is California with 296. Top five states include: California (296); Texas (223); Florida (141); Pennsylvania (124); and Ohio (119). Memorial High School in Port Arthur, Texas received eight golden footballs, marking the most a high school received. Five schools received six footballs, 14 schools received five and 16 schools received four. Yates received five, making it one of the few high schools in the country to receive this distinction.
A sampling of some of the other current and former players and coaches that were honored include: Pro Football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann, Jim Plunkett, Marcus Allen, Bill Cowher, Terrell Davis, Boomer Esiason, Larry Fitzgerald, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Mark Bavaro and Robert Mathis, among others.
This program will now become a Super Bowl tradition from now on.