The first meeting of two black quarterbacks in the Super Bowl — Patrick Mahomes vs. Jalen Hurts — had a huge resonance with Doug Williams — who was the first to start and The black quarterback who won the Super Bowl, gave Joe Gibbs and then Washington the Redskins at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, Jan. 31, 1988.
“It’s been great, number one,” Williams told the Post on Monday. “Last night was a humbling experience for me. It seems to me that if many black people were allowed to hold this position, that would have happened a long time ago. Honestly, seeing it come true is like a dream come true.
“To sit there and realize there’s going to be two African-American quarterbacks in the Super Bowl when two years ago people didn’t think that was going to happen. To me, that’s a sight to behold.”
Russell Wilson becomes the second black quarterback to win Super Bowl XLVIII with the Seahawks. Mahomes won Super Bowl LIV and became the second black quarterback to win Super Bowl MVP. Williams (18-of-29 for 340 yards, four touchdowns, and one catch in the Broncos’ 42-10 rout) was first.
“Patrick Mahomes did it all,” Williams said. “There’s nothing he hasn’t done and can’t do — the gift of his arm, where he can turn his arm 10 different ways and take the ball out of his hands. It’s not something you have every day or every year out of college. Let’s be honest – normal people don’t play last night. That’s a lot to say. It reminds me of [Rams DE] Jack Youngblood – he played [Super Bowl XIV] hairline [left fibula] fracture. Guys don’t play like that today. The last race, when he took off and started running, he took off like he forgot he was injured. He’s trying to get his team to victory. You have to tip your hat to him. “
Williams, now a senior adviser to the commander, texted Hertz on Sunday night.
“I remember those years at Alabama where he was more of a runner than a passer,” Williams said. “He’s gotten better with his release, and I think everything that’s been done has made him more of a dangerous guy. Because if you’ve ever been close to him, you realize he’s built like a running back. He’s in the Thighs in that area are like Earl Campbell. But the fact that he can stay in the pocket and take the ball out of his hands … you can’t say enough, he’s done it all year.”
He recalled that when Alabama beat Georgia in the 2018 national championship game, Hurts was benched by Tua Tagovailoa in the second half.
“He handled it gracefully,” Williams said.
Williams, 67, laughed when asked about his memories of the start of Super Bowl week.
“How many people want to talk to me about black people,” he said. “I refused to be interviewed during that time. I didn’t want to get involved. That didn’t matter. The most important thing was getting ready to play Denver [and John Elway]. And my thing is after the game, they can paint me any color they want. Like I told the publicists who were there, the only interviews I wanted to do were the things the NFL asked us to do. Besides, I don’t want to not be interviewed because I have to answer this question 110 times and that doesn’t matter.
“It’s a question that no longer has to be answered: Can a black quarterback lead a team?
“It reminds me of Lovie Smith [Bears] with tony dungey [Colts] coaching at the super bowl [XLI]. Seeing two black quarterbacks in the Super Bowl now, to me, I think we’ve answered a question that needed to be answered many, many years ago. “
Williams grew up in Zachary, Louisiana, the sixth of eight children. Legendary Grambling coach Eddie Robinson offered him a scholarship in 1973. The Buccaneers selected him in the first round in 1978, and a year later, Williams and Bears quarterback Vince Evans made history as the first black quarterbacks to start. Williams, who sat out the 1983 season with an insulting salary, felt compelled to join the USFL’s Oklahoma Outlaws before Gibbs lured him back to the NFL.
“I grew up in the South, right? I understand what we’re dealing with as black people,” Williams said.
He mentioned the obstacles faced by black quarterbacks James (Shack) Harris, Joe Gilliam, John Walton, David Mays and Marlon Briscoe, and said: “I just want to get a chance to play. Around Coach Robinson, one of the things he always told me was, at the end of the day, all you need is an opportunity, and that’s what I asked for.”
There are 10 starting black quarterbacks in the NFL today if you count Jameis Winston (Saints) and 11 if you count Desmond Ridder (Falcons).
“Honestly, what they say about black quarterbacks is probably the same as what most of these owners say [head] Coaches today,” Williams said. “You look around this league, man, how many bad coaches they’ve recycled. The black coaches got the same shafts that I got back then, and the black quarterbacks before me got them too. “
Somehow, there are only two black NFL head coaches — Mike Tomlin (Steelers) and Todd Bowles (Buccaneers).
“Hopefully, that’s how I feel about this thing in the NFL, where half the quarterbacks in the next five to 10 years are going to be black if they keep going the way they are,” Williams said. James said. “We have two [Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud] Come in [at the top of the draft]. The players we have right now are pretty young. “
Williams was 32 the night he won the Super Bowl. He will retire two years after the 1989 season.
“After the Super Bowl, you know what I really think?” Williams said. “It doesn’t matter yesterday, it doesn’t matter tomorrow. It’s all about what just happened. It doesn’t matter to me whether I play again or not.
“It’s a question of a black person having a chance to be in the Super Bowl and be a winner.”
He mentioned Jim Kelly and Fran Tarkenton.
“There are guys who have been to the Super Bowl multiple times and never won it,” Williams said.
He mentioned that Hall of Fame quarterbacks Dan Fouts and Warren Moon never had a Super Bowl chance.
“I got that opportunity,” Williams said.
Now Jalen Hurts has his chance. Patrick Mahomes gets his third chance. He got his first chance against another black quarterback. Historic hospitality from Doug Williams. And many others.