Black History Hobbservation: Doug Williams, first Black quarterback to win the Super Bowl and game MVP I will not be watching the Super Bowl for the second year, but I would be remiss if I did not pay homage to the great Doug Williams. While Fritz Pollard is remembered for being an early quarterback and coach in what would become the NFL, by the late 1920s, the League, much like other professional sports leagues, heavily discriminated against Black players during Jim Crow. 60 years of Broncos Super Bowl Championships Thank you for the memories shirt now available.
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Riley was not alone; most black college quarterbacks found themselves catching or defending passes upon entry into the NFL. There were a few exceptions, like Marlin Briscoe who started at quarterback for the Denver Broncos in 1968, Joe Gilliam, James Harris, and Vince Evans of the Steelers, Rams and Raiders, to name a few. That’s 60 years of Broncos Super Bowl Championships Thank you for the memories shirt. But until the late 1980s, black quarterbacks who made rosters were still dogged with the “he can’t read the playbook” or “he lacks ‘inherent leadership skills’ lies that limited their advancement.
Amid this history, when Doug Williams took the field in San Diego as quarterback of the NFC champion Washington Redskins in 1988, he carried the hopes of an entire race with him into competition. Williams, a graduate of Grambling State University who had been relatively successful as quarterback of the oft hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the late 70s and early 80s, had been out of the NFL for nearly five years before he was signed in 1987 to back up Washington quarterback Jay Schroeder. As Washington entered the playoffs, Williams took over the full time job from Schroeder, but in Super Bowl 22, he would square off against a Broncos team led by John Elway.