Doug Williams: Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts in Super Bowl like Barack Obama election
By Brian Wacker,
Thirty-five years ago Doug Williams became the first black quarterback to start in — and win — the Super Bowl. This year’s game marks the first time two black QBs will start in the NFL’s biggest game.
It’s a moment Williams, 67, compared to another important first: Barack Obama being elected President.
“I had tears of joy in my eye because I had an opportunity to witness this,” the former Washington QB told TMZ Sports of the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and Eagles’ Jalen Hurts reaching Super Bowl 2023 in what will be Mahomes’ third trip and Hurts’ first. “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 give me chills,” he said in including Obama becoming President in 2008 as well as Tony Dungy and Love Smith coaching against one another in the 2007 Super Bowl.
In 1988, Williams led Washington to an 11-4 record in the regular season and then to a Super Bowl blowout victory over the Broncos.
Williams was named MVP of the game after completing 18 of 29 passes for a then-Super Bowl record 340 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.
He was also the first player to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter and in a half in Super Bowl history, with Washington rallying from a 10-0 first quarter deficit with 42 unanswered points, 35 of those coming in the second quarter. Washington went on to win 42-10.
Williams, who was drafted 17th overall by the Buccaneers in 1978 before a brief stint in the USFL and then four seasons with Washington, spent nine years in the NFL before retiring after the 1989 season. He also went on the become the head coach at Grambling State, from 1998-2003 and again from 2011-13, and is currently a senior advisor for the Commanders.
He finished his career with 16,998 yards passing, 100 touchdowns and 93 interceptions, but was also dubiously asked at the Super Bowl how long he had been a black quarterback.
He says he’s glad to see the progress that has been made since when it comes to black players at the position — 11 of the league’s 32 starting quarterbacks this season are black — but noted there’s still a long way to go.
“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 why you got to bring color into it if you don’t understand what we as black quarterbacks and blacks as whole has been through. … It is a big deal.”
The first black players weren’t allowed in the NFL until 1946, one year before Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier. And while a lot of progress has been made, Williams said, nearly two decades after the league’s implementation of the Rooney Rule, just over a year ago Mike Tomlin was the NFL’s only black head coach.
When it comes to QBs, Williams is glad to have helped pave the way.
“One of the knock 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.”
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