FOR DOUG WILLIAMS, the hours that followed Super Bowl XXII in San Diego were signs of things to come: little of the bright lights usual for an NFL champion quarterback, but the comfort of family to sustain him. On the afternoon of Jan. 31, 1988, the Washington Redskins quarterback passed for a then record 340 yards and four touchdowns in a 42--10 win over the Denver Broncos, shaking off a first-quarter knee injury to become the first Super Bowl--winning African-American QB. Afterward he collected his MVP trophy and went back to his hotel. "I didn't go to the postgame party," he recalls. "I was on painkillers. I couldn't move." Williams was holed up with 15 family members when his young daughter Ashley climbed onto his belly and put the day into perspective. "Daddy," she said, "I was sleeping during the whole game." Williams could only laugh.
This is an article from the July 14, 2008 issue
Still, he was hurt by the lack of opportunities that followed his historic performance. "There weren't a lot of phone calls about endorsements," he says. "Eventually I just let it go, because there are so many people who would deny the obvious reasons."
Williams retired after an injury-shortened 1989 season. He held a variety of coaching positions before landing the head job at his alma mater, Grambling State, where he succeeded the legendary Eddie Robinson in '98 and won three conference titles. These days Williams, 52, is an exec with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, handling player evaluations and college scouting. He also helped the team start a camp for area high school QBs, giving him the chance for a little family time. Son D.J., 15, plays for Tampa Catholic and attended the camp in March. (Another son, 19-year-old Adrian, was the sixth man on Brown's basketball team as a freshman last season.) Williams already hears comparisons between D.J. and himself. "People say when he's in the pocket, he rides like me," Williams says. He pauses and, perhaps reflecting on the pain of that Super Bowl, says, "I know one thing, though. He ain't as tough."