Doug Williams (quarterback)

For the offensive lineman, see Doug Williams (offensive lineman).
Doug Williams

refer to caption

Williams in 2015
No. 12, 17
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1955-08-09) August 9, 1955
Place of birth: Zachary, Louisiana
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight: 220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school: Chaneyville High School, Zachary, LA
College: Grambling State
NFL Draft: 1978 / Round: 1 / Pick: 17
Career history
As player:
As coach:
As executive:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Pass attempts: 2,507
Pass completions: 1,240
Percentage: 49.5
TDINT: 100–93
Passing yards: 16,998
QB rating: 69.4
Player stats at

Douglas Lee "Doug" Williams (born August 9, 1955) is a former American football quarterback and former head coach of the Grambling State Tigers football team. Williams is known for his remarkable performance in Super Bowl XXII. Williams, who was named the Super Bowl MVP, passed for a Super Bowl record 340 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception. He also became the first player in Super Bowl history to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter, and four in a half. Williams was the first African American quarterback to start in an NFL league championship game and the first to win a Super Bowl, in 1988 (Russell Wilson became the second to win in 2014 with Super Bowl XLVIII).

Collegiate career

Williams attended Grambling State University, where he played for legendary head coach Eddie Robinson. Williams guided the Tigers to a 36-7 (.837 winning percentage) record as a four-year starter, and led the Tigers to three Southwestern Athletic Conference Championships. Williams was named Black College Player of the Year twice.[1]

In 1977, Williams led the NCAA in several categories, including total yards from scrimmage (3,249), passing yards (3,286), touchdown passes (38), and yards per play (8.6).[2] Williams finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting, behind Earl Campbell, Terry Miller, and Ken MacAfee.[3] Williams graduated from Grambling with a degree in education, and began work on a graduate degree before the 1978 NFL Draft.

Despite the success that he enjoyed on the field, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Joe Gibbs was the only NFL coach that visited Grambling to work Williams out and scout him. Gibbs spent two days with the 6-foot-4, 220-pound quarterback, reviewing play books, film, and going through passing drills. Impressed by his poise, work ethic, and studious nature, Gibbs wrote in his scouting report that Williams had "a big-time arm with perfect passing mechanics" and was "a natural leader... very academic and extremely prepared... football smart," and recommended that the Buccaneers select Williams with their first-round draft choice.[4]

Professional career

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Following the recommendation of Gibbs, Tampa Bay drafted Williams in the first round (17th overall) of the 1978 NFL Draft. The Bucs, who had never been to the playoffs before Williams arrived and won just two games in franchise history over two seasons, 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 and was regarded as the heart and soul of the team.

Williams was the only starting African-American quarterback in the NFL at that time. During his tenure with the Buccaneers, Williams was only paid $120,000 a year. Not only was this far and away the lowest salary for a starting quarterback in the league, but it was less than the salary of 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 was not paying him what a starter should earn, Williams bolted to the upstart United States Football League's Oklahoma Outlaws. 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. They would not have any real stability under center until the arrival of Trent Dilfer. 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.[5][6]

Oklahoma/Arizona Outlaws

In 1984, Williams led the Outlaws of the USFL in passing, completing 261 out of 528 passes for 3,084 yards and threw 15 touchdowns. However, he threw 21 interceptions, ending up with a passer rating of 60.5, during a 6-12 season. In 1985, the 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 for a 76.4 passer rating. However, the Outlaws 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. He was reunited with his former offensive coordinator, Gibbs, who was now head coach of the Redskins.

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 in the 1987 season. Williams and Schroeder had a somewhat chilly relationship, stemming from 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.

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. On February 1, 2013 Williams was interviewed on the Boomer and Carton show, and he was asked by the host Craig Carton if the question ever happened. He replied that it was true. Williams said he thought the reporter was a little nervous and the question may have come out the wrong way and that no ill will was meant towards him.[7][8][9]

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. 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).

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 outplayed 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".[10] Williams would play one final season in 1989, as Rypien's backup, 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.

Administrative and coaching career

Williams (left) as head coach of Grambling State, posing with a marine (right) in November 2011.

Williams started off his college head coaching career at Morehouse College in 1997. He also has previous professional football-level experience: as a scout for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995 and as offensive coordinator for the Scottish Claymores of the World League of American Football earlier that year. Prior to that he tutored running backs for Navy in 1994 and acted in a consulting capacity for Southern University during the 1985 season, after the USFL folded. Williams also served on the high school level as head coach and athletic director at Pointe Coupee Central High School in LaBarre, Louisiana in 1991, going 5-5, 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.[11]

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.[12]

In 2009, Williams along with fellow Grambling State alumnus James Harris, founded the Black College Football Hall of Fame. Each year, several notable football players from historically black colleges and universities are entered in its hall of fame at an induction ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia[13]

On May 11, 2010, it was announced that Williams would no longer be the director professional scouting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[14] 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. He was fired from this position on September 11, 2013.[15]

On February 10, 2014, the Washington Redskins hired Williams as a front office personnel executive. The hiring marks Williams’ return to the Redskins, as well as reuniting him with GM Bruce Allen.[16]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Morehouse Maroon Tigers (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) (1997)
1997 Morehouse 3–8
Morehouse: 3–8
Grambling State Tigers (Southwestern Athletic Conference) (1998–2003)
1998 Grambling State 5–6 4–4 T–4th
1999 Grambling State 7–4 2–2 3rd (West)
2000 Grambling State 10–2 6–1 1st (West)
2001 Grambling State 10–1 6–1 1st (West)
2002 Grambling State 11–2 6–1 1st (West)
2003 Grambling State 9–3 6–1 T–1st (West)
Grambling State Tigers (Southwestern Athletic Conference) (2011–2013)
2011 Grambling State 8–4 6–3 1st (West)
2012 Grambling State 1–10 0–9 5th (West)
2013 Grambling State 0–2* 0–1*
Grambling State: 61–34 36–23
Total: 65–39
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates Bowl Coalition, Bowl Alliance, BCS, or CFP / New Years' Six bowl.
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

* Williams was fired on September 11, 2013.

Personal life

Williams was born in Zachary, Louisiana. Williams and his wife, Raunda, have eight children: Ashley; Adrian; Doug, Jr.; Jasmine; Laura; Lee; Temessia; Carmaleta. His sons Adrian and Doug Jr. (D.J.) are both accomplished collegiate athletes. Adrian played basketball for Brown University until graduating after the 2010-11 season[17] while D.J. signed to play for his father at Grambling State University. Doug's nephew Johnny Huggins also played in the NFL.[18]

See also


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