Doug Williams (American football)

Doug Williams (American football)
Doug Williams

Doug Williams at a fundraiser in 2008
No. 12, 17     
Personal information
Date of birth: August 9, 1955 (1955-08-09) (age 56)
Place of birth: Zachary, Louisiana
High School: Chaneyville High School
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Weight: 220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
College: Grambling State
NFL Draft: 1978 / Round: 1 / Pick: 17
Debuted in 1978 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last played in 1989 for the Washington Redskins
Career history
 As player:
 As coach:
 As administrator:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 1989
Pass attempts     2,507
Pass completions     1,240
Percentage     49.5
TD-INT     100-93
Passing yards     16,998
QB rating     69.4
Stats at
Stats at
Stats at
College Football Hall of Fame

Douglas Lee "Doug" Williams (born August 9, 1955) is a former American football quarterback and head football coach of the Grambling State University Tigers. Williams is best known for his MVP performance in Super Bowl XXII with the Washington Redskins.[1]



Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Williams was drafted in the first round (17th overall) of the 1978 NFL Draft, chosen by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of Grambling State University. The Bucs, who had never been to the playoffs before Williams arrived, went to the playoffs three times in four years and played in the 1979 NFC Championship Game. Williams improved his completion percentage each year with the Bucs, but was regarded as the heart and soul of the team, and the driving force behind the winning.

However, during his tenure in Tampa, Williams was only paid $120,000 a year—far and away the lowest salary for a starting quarterback in the league, and behind 12 backups. After the 1982 season, Williams asked for a $600,000 contract. Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse refused to budge from his initial offer of $400,000 despite protests from coach John McKay. While Culverhouse's offer was still more than triple Williams' previous salary, he would have still been among the lowest-paid starters in the league. Feeling that Culverhouse wasn't paying him what a starter should earn, Williams bolted to the upstart United States Football League. The next year the Bucs went 2-14, and they would not make the playoffs again for 14 years until after the 1997 season, and lost ten games in every season but one in that stretch. Many Bucs fans blame Culverhouse's refusal to bend in the negotiations with Williams as a major factor. Culverhouse's willingness to let Williams get away over such a relatively small amount of money was seen as particularly insensitive, coming only months after Williams' wife Janice died of a brain tumor.[2][3]

Oklahoma/Arizona Outlaws

After leaving the NFL, Williams signed with one of the USFL's expansion teams, the Oklahoma Outlaws. He would lead his team in passing completing 261 out of 528 passes for 3,084 yards and threw 15 touchdowns, yet he also threw 21 interceptions, ending up with a passer rating of 60.5, during his team's dismal 6-12 season. In 1985, when his team moved to Arizona and fused with the Arizona Wranglers to become the Arizona Outlaws, Williams showed some improvement, completing 271 out of 509 passes for 3,673 yards with 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, ending up with a 76.4 passer rating. However, his Outlaws' just missed the playoffs with an 8-10 record.

Washington Redskins

After the USFL shut down in 1986, Williams returned to the NFL, joining the Washington Redskins at the behest of Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, who had been the offensive coordinator at Tampa Bay when Williams was there.

Initially Williams served as the backup for starting quarterback Jay Schroeder, but after Schroeder became injured, Williams stepped in and led the Redskins to an opening-day victory against the Philadelphia Eagles. Williams did not like Schroeder at all, stemming from his anger at Schroeder ordering Williams to get off the field when the Redskins thought he was injured in the 1986 NFC title game and sent Williams to sub for him, and the team's veterans also preferred Williams over Schroeder as the team's quarterback. It would be one of three times in 1987 that Williams subbed for Schroeder and led the team to victory (the other two were 11/15 vs. Detroit and 12/26 at Minnesota). Williams only started two games, 9/20 at Atlanta and 11/23 vs. the Rams. While both starts were losses, at the end of the season, when the Redskins had qualified for the playoffs, Williams, with his 94.0 passer rating, was chosen as the starter. He led the team to Super Bowl XXII in which they routed the Denver Broncos, becoming the first black quarterback to play in a Super Bowl, and as of Super Bowl XLV, the only black quarterback to win one.

According to legend, Williams was asked this question on Media Day: "How long have you been a black quarterback?" He supposedly replied, "I've been a quarterback since high school, and I've been black all my life." The story is untrue, but Williams says he still gets asked about it.[4][5][6]

Facing legendary Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, Williams engineered a 42-10 rout, in which the Redskins set an NFL record by scoring five touchdowns in the second quarter. Williams completed 18 of 29 passes for 340 yards, with four touchdown passes, and was named Super Bowl MVP.

The Super Bowl was clearly the high point of Williams' NFL career. He suffered from injuries the following season, and was outshone by Mark Rypien, who eventually won the starting job from Williams. Despite competing for the same starting job, Williams and Rypien were so supportive of each other that T-shirts were sold with the caption "United We Stand", depicting the two quarterbacks as cartoon characters with Williams saying "I'm for Mark" and Rypien saying "I'm for Doug".[7] Williams would play one final season in 1989, as backup to Rypien, during the latter's first Pro Bowl season.

Williams retired with a 5-9 record as Redskins starter (8-9, counting playoffs) and a 38-42-1 record as a regular season starter (42-45-1, including 7 playoff starts). He had 100 passing touchdowns, and 15 rushing touchdowns, in 88 NFL games.

On the day before Super Bowl XXII, Williams had a six-hour root canal surgery performed (under full anaesthetic) to repair an abscess under a dental bridge; he played the Super Bowl with his jaw wired shut. The pain of this condition caused him to lose sleep for several days, as reported in the book "Hit and Tell:War Stories of the NFL"(/K.Lynch, Foghorn Press).

Coaching career

Williams started off his college head coaching career at Morehouse College in 1997. He also has previous NFL experience as a scout for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995 and as offensive coordinator for the Scottish Claymores of the World League of American Football in 1995, and tutored running backs for Navy in 1994. Williams also excelled on the high school level as head coach and athletic director at Pointe Coupee Central High School in LaBarre, Louisiana in 1991, and in 1993, he was head coach at Northeast High School in his hometown of Zachary, Louisiana, where he guided the team to a 13-1 record and the state semifinals.

Williams became the head football coach at Grambling State University in 1998, succeeding the legendary Eddie Robinson. He led the Tigers to three consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference titles from 2000–2002, before leaving to rejoin the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a personnel executive.[8]

At the conclusion of Super Bowl XLII, on the 20th anniversary of being named Super Bowl XXII MVP, Williams carried the Vince Lombardi trophy on to the field for presentation to the winning New York Giants.

Williams was promoted to the position of director of professional scouting in February 2009.[9]

On May 11, 2010, it was announced that Williams would no longer be the director professional scouting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[10] He was subsequently hired as the general manager of the Norfolk expansion franchise in the United Football League, now known as the Virginia Destroyers.

On February 21, 2011, Williams resigned from the Destroyers to begin his second stint as the head football coach at Grambling State University.

Personal life

Williams and his wife, Raunda, have six children: Ashley; Adrian; Doug, Jr.; Jasmine; Laura and Temessia. His sons Adrian and Doug Jr.(D.J.) are both accomplished collegiate athletes. Adrian currently plays for Brown University while D.J. recently signed to play for his father at Grambling State University.


External links

Awards and achievements
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Gary Huff
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Jack Thompson
Preceded by
Jay Schroeder
Washington Redskins Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Mark Rypien
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Phil Simms
NFL Super Bowl MVPs
Super Bowl XXII, 1988
Succeeded by
Jerry Rice

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