Phoenix, Arizona – In recognition of Black History Month, the National Football League has partnered with the Sidney Poitier New American Film School to host a private screening detailing the life and legacy of Jimmy Raye, who in 1966 became the first Black starting quarterback at Michigan State University. The Indelible Legacy of Jimmy Raye tells how one man’s story broke color barriers and changed football forever.
The screening will take place during Super Bowl LVII week on Wednesday, February 8th, at the MIX Center, home of The Sidney Poitier New American Film School in Mesa, Arizona. Immediately following the screening, guests will participate in an intimate conversation featuring Jimmy Raye himself, Super Bowl Champion and NFL 360 correspondent Emmanuel Sanders, Arizona State University Athletic Director, University Vice President Ray Anderson, and NFL 360 producer Osahon Tongo. Steve Wyche of the NFL Network will moderate the discussion.
“Jimmy Raye was not only an exceptional athlete, he was a trailblazer,” said Angela Ellis, Vice President of Entertainment & Initiatives at NFL Media. “His journey forged a path for Black coaches and players after him like Tony Dungy, Eric Dickerson, Tony Gonzalez, and Emmanuel Sanders. The nation and the game of football owe him and many of his generation an enormous debt of gratitude.”
NFL 360 Co-Creator Dallas Hitchcock said, “The Jimmy Raye Project explores Jimmy’s story—not just because it’s about sports—but because it’s about courage, determination, and leadership. This story is bigger than football.”
The Sidney Poitier New American Film School, located on the campus of Arizona State University, is led by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, a former Hollywood executive and former president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science and home of the Oscars. Its mission empowers passionate film and media artists with the technical skills and diverse experience that will allow them to change the world with new visions, new stories, and new voices.
“We are honored to host this monumental screening and important conversation,” said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, founding director of The Sidney Poitier New American Film School. “The Jimmy Raye Project is a powerful example of the impact that one person’s story can have on those who follow in his footsteps. Our goal at the Poitier Film School is to foster spaces that help empower our students and the broader community so they too can feel confident enough to tell their