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 seeing Barack Obama be elected President.
“I had tears of joy in my eye because I had an opportunity to witness this,” The former Washington QB spoke to 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 stated that Obama was elected President in 2008, and Tony Dungy as well Tony Smith as coaches against each other in the 2007 Super Bowl.
In 1988 Williams led Washington to an 11-4 record during the regular season, and then to a Super Bowl victory over the Broncos.
Williams was awarded MVP of the Game after completing 18 out of 29 passes to record 340 yards and four touchdowns, with just one interception.
Washington was the first to pass for four touchdowns in one quarter in Super Bowl history. Washington rallied from a 10-0 deficit in the first quarter with 42 unanswered point, 35 of which came in the second quarter. Washington went on win 42-10.
Williams was 17th overall in 1978 by the Buccaneers. He then spent four seasons in the USFL, and finally with Washington for nine years before retiring from the NFL after the 1989 season. He was also the head coach of Grambling State from 1998-2003, and again in 2011-13.
He ended his career with 16,998 yards of passing, 100 touchdowns, and 93 interceptions. However, he was also asked a question at the Super Bowl about how long he was 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 shared his thoughts with 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.
Williams is happy to have been a part of the path to QBs.
“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 stated. “Hopefully I put a little end to it, but you got two guys now who can play.”