Doug Williams


Doug Williams, an All-America quarterback at Grambling State University, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round (17th overall) of the 1978 NFL Draft.

Williams displayed extreme courage and determination when he started 10 games, one of which he did so with a broken jaw that had been wired shut, during his rookie season. For his efforts, he was named as a unanimous choice for the NFL’s All-Rookie team.

The following season, with Williams at the helm, the Buccaneers improved from 5-11 the previous year to 10-6 record and captured the club’s first NFC Central Division title. The ascension marked a rare “worst-to-first” campaign. That postseason, Williams led the Bucs to a win in the franchise’s first playoff appearance as Tampa Bay downed the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional playoff round. His 9-yard TD pass to Jimmie Giles in the fourth quarter supplied the winning margin. The following week, the Bucs fell to the Los Angeles Rams, 9-0, in the conference championship game narrowly missing a chance to reach the Super Bowl.

Williams’s finest seasons in Tampa came in 1980 and 1982. He was named the Buccaneers’ Most Valuable Player both years after passing for more than 3,000 yards in each of those seasons. A deceptive runner, he rushed for a combined 579 yards and eight touchdowns during that two-year span.

After an injury-plagued 1982 season, Williams signed with the United States Football League where he played two seasons with the Oklahoma Outlaws in 1984 and the Arizona Bandits in 1985. He threw for 6,757 yards and 36 TDs during his tenure in the USFL.

Williams returned to the NFL in 1986 and served as a back-up with the Washington Redskins. He shared quarterback duties with Jay Schroeder in 1987 until he staged a late-game comeback win over the Minnesota Vikings in the season finale that solidified his role as the starter for the playoffs.

It was a wise decision by Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs as Williams guided the Redskins to a berth in Super Bowl XXII thereby becoming the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl. His performance that day was memorable as he led Washington to a thrilling 42-10 win over the Denver Broncos and was named the game’s MVP. He threw four touchdowns, all in the second quarter. His four TD strikes tied a Super Bowl record at the time and he also established then records for passing yards (340) and longest touchdown pass (80).

Although bothered by injuries in 1988, Williams passed for 2,609 yards in just 11 games. At the end of that season he was bestowed the prestigious Ed Block Courage Award, a testament that Williams was a source of inspiration and courage in the eyes of his teammates. He played one more season before retiring after the 1989 season. In nine NFL seasons, Williams threw for 16,998 yards and 100 TDs and also ran for 884 yards and 15 TDs.

Williams coached on a variety of levels before he served as head coach at Grambling (1998-2003). While at his Alma Mater, he coached his team to three consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference titles (2000-02). The school was named National Black College Champions during the same span.

More from Profootballhof.com
Team Histories: Buccaneers | Redskins
NFL.com: Doug Williams career stats

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