While most people take sports as just another fun activity, it has a way to shape history and change cultures. Behind the loud noises made by the fans and all the drama surrounding teams, are some untold stories. One such story is that of Doug Williams.
The journey that was Doug Williams’ career certainly had an impact on the lives of many. As the first African American quarterback to win the Super Bowl, his story spread hope to generations of colored athletes who came after him, even decades later.
Here is how a young man made history in the NFL:
Doug Williams and the Redskins win the Super Bowl
Super Bowl 22 was among the most riveting Super Bowls of all time. From Doug Williams to Tim Smith’s performance with the Redskins, fans had been glued to their seats throughout this part of the season. Tim Smith, Williams’ teammate at the time, came out of nowhere to help solidify the win against Denver Broncos, complementing Doug Williams’ performance.
While boasting the status of the first African American quarterback to play in the Super Bowl, Doug proved that he didn’t make it to this stage by mistake.
In a memorable second quarter, he threw all four of his touchdowns and managed a 35 point assault against the Denver Broncos. After winning against the Broncos 42-10, Doug took the MVP trophy home.
Doug Williams’ performance changed the bias towards African American athletes
For decades, people had been biased against African American quarterbacks in the NFL. While white quarterbacks were considered smart and hardworking, this positional segregation gave African American quarterbacks the title of being talented and strong. In spite of having huge success at the college level, these quarterbacks would be forced to play other positions once they landed in the NFL.
Doug Williams was lucky enough to hold on to his position, and he proved that he was worthy of it. After winning the MVP, he changed the mindset around African American quarterbacks. Many more athletes like him have managed to make an impact on the game, and it all starts with his achievements. However, it wasn’t always easy for him to change history at this high level.
The struggles before the achievements
Doug Williams was not always a starter in the league. In fact, he used to play as the second option to Jay Schroeder until he got injured. After the Redskins had qualified for the playoffs with Doug boasting a passer rating of 94.0, he was chosen as a starter. However, playtime was not the only struggle he faced.
The day before Super Bowl, Williams had to undergo an emergency root canal, leaving him in a lot of pain. Even worse, he slipped in the Redskin’s first offensive series, at a time when they were trailing Denver 10-0. He lay on the ground for some seconds that seemed like a lifetime to the fans. The pain didn’t stop him from playing and making history.
From an ordinary neighborhood
While he had an extraordinary talent, Doug Williams’ childhood was typical. He came from a poor but happy family. He was, however, lucky enough to be multi-talented. While he played football, basketball, and baseball at a young age, he chose football as his career path.
As a result, his story could resonate with many athletes that come from the same background as he did. Before him, it seemed hopeless for aspiring African American athletes to train for the quarterback position without worrying about playtime.
In fact, the progress against the bias was so big that three of the five quarterbacks chosen in 1999 in the first round were African American, with more quarterbacks heading to the NFL from college today.
The number of African American quarterbacks in the NFL has been increasing with time, and Williams has had a huge role to play. His achievements were a symbol of hope for many. Sure, positional segregation is still an issue in the NFL today, but it is barely as big a deal as it was during Williams’ time.