Doug Williams will always have a place in history. The former Grambling State and longtime NFL quarterback broke the color barrier when he became the first Black quarterback to start a Super Bowl in 1988.
While there have been other Black starting QBs since then on Super Sunday, Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12 is the first time both starters, Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes, are Black.
In an interview with TMZ Sports, the 67-year-old Williams likened the moment to former President Barack Obama winning in 2008, becoming the first Black POTUS.
“I had tears of joy in my eye because I had an opportunity to witness this,” Williams told TMZ Sports.
“Sit there, and just look at it, and say to myself, ‘Man, we got two Black quarterbacks playing in the Super Bowl.’
“Things like this gives me chills,” Williams said in including Obama becoming president in 2008 as well as Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith coaching against one another in the 2007 Super Bowl.
Doug Williams tells TMZ Sports he teared up after Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts officially made the Super Bowl. https://t.co/lCprPIVxrL
— TMZ Sports (@TMZ_Sports) February 5, 2023
Williams not only started for the Washington Redskins, but the strong-armed Williams also went out and won MVP leading his team to a 42-10 win over John Elway’s Denver Broncos.
It’s a monumental moment for Black quarterbacks, who spent much of the first 50 years of the NFL’s existence battling to break through the systemic barriers. Social barriers that have curtailed the progress of the Black quarterbacks in the NFL.
A moment like this is not one to be minimized. To see two young Black signal-callers under center in the biggest game in sports was once unfathomable.
Williams knows it, and that’s why he’s so full of joy and excitement in anticipation of the game.
Two Black QBs In Super Bowl Is Important
This is Mahomes’ third Super Sunday trip and Hurts’ first. It’s also just the sixth time a Black QB will start the NFL’s ultimate game. Russell Wilson had two trips and Williams was the first one. Regardless of who wins the game, it will be the fourth time a Black quarterback wins a Super Bowl.
“It’s something that’s unusual,” Williams told TMZ. “So when something like this happens, you gotta get excited about it. It’s so unfortunate that everybody don’t look at it that way.
“I’ve seen a couple things on social media, that say, ‘why you gotta bring black into it, color into it?’ It’s easy for somebody to say you got to bring color into it if you don’t understand what we as black quarterbacks and blacks as a whole have been through. … It is a big deal.”
Black Players Shut Out Of NFL Until Late 1940s
Williams also touched on how Black players weren’t allowed in the NFL until 1946, which was one year prior to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. There was also this stereotype that Blacks lacked the intelligence required to play the position.
“One of the knocks on black quarterbacks was they’re not smart enough to navigate the landscape to lead a football team to the Super Bowl,” he said. “Hopefully, I put a little end to it, but you got two guys now who can play.”
35 years ago today, Doug Williams became the first Black QB to start and win a Super Bowl. 🙌 (via @NFLLegacy) pic.twitter.com/wGUT2P7GoG
— NFL (@NFL) January 31, 2023
Williams Had A Roller Coaster Career With A Cherry On-Top
Williams was drafted 17th overall in the 1978 NFL draft. He played five seasons for a pretty bad Bucs team, taking the franchise to its first-ever playoffs. When the racist ownership stunted on his money, Williams bounced to the USFL. He worked his way back to the NFL and during his final stop in Washington, he was supposed to be a backup to starter Jay Schroeder until an injury to Schroeder in the playoffs forced Doug into action. The rest is history.
Mr. Touch Of Class, as he’s affectionately known in the DMV, passed for nearly 17,000 yards, 100 touchdowns and 93 interceptions in his nine-year NFL career. While his 38-42-1 record won’t wow anyone, he did something that had never been done, and for that his career stands out.