In honor of Superbowl XLIV, today’s historical person is Doug Williams, the first Black Quarterback of a Superbowl Team.

Douglas Lee Williams (born August 9, 1955 in Zachary, Louisiana) is a former American football quarterback. Williams is best known for his MVP performance in Super Bowl XXII with the Washington Redskins. He is, to date, the only African-American to win a Super Bowl as starting quarterback.


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. 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 XLIII, the only black quarterback to win one. Although an urban legend holds that Williams was asked on Media Day, “How long have you been a black quarterback?” the story is untrue.

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.

Williams, IMO, never got his due. Never got the endorsement deals that I think a White Quarterback who did what he did, would have gotten. I believed it then; I believe it now.

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