Long Beach native Billie Jean King conducted the coin toss before Super Bowl LVI Sunday at SoFi Stadium, joined by the team captains of the California School for the Deaf in Riverside, girls youth tackle football players from the Inglewood Chargers and Watts Rams and high school girls from the Flag Football League of Champions.
The “collective trailblazers” were chosen as part of the NFL’s celebration of Americans who defy stereotypes.
A video tribute narrated by King marking the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the impact the equal opportunity law made on the landscape of education and sports was played before the coin toss.
“It is an honor to stand with these outstanding student athletes and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX on one of the world’s biggest stages,” the tennis legend said before the coin toss. “It’s hard to understand inclusion until you have been excluded, and I am proud to be part of this year’s Super Bowl coin toss and the NFL’s commitment to bring us together and make us stronger.”
The Riverside football players — Trevin Adams, Christian Jimenez, Jory Valencia and Enos Zornoza — were invited by the NFL to stand with the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals captains in recognition of CSDR’s stellar season.
The Cubs went 12-1 last fall, with the only loss coming to Faith Baptist of Canoga Park in the Southern Section 8-man Division 2 final.
Adams, Jimenez, Valencia and Zornoza wore their jerseys when they took the field to participate in the coin toss.
The honorary captains included Andrea Castillo of the Watts Rams, Giselle Lopez of the Inglewood Chargers, Nadirah Mayrena of Rise Kohyang High School, Elisheva Ferszt of Yula High School, Kaylin Harris of Lawndale High School and Tamaya Hemphill of Inglewood High School.
The Rams as the designated visiting team called the coin toss, calling tails. The toss came up heads. The Bengals deferred their choice. The Rams chose to receive but were forced to punt after five plays.