Doug Williams, the first African-American quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl, has been selected as recipient of the 2013 Davey O’Brien Legends Award, organizers announced Tuesday.
Williams, a former Grambling standout who led his alma mater to multiple conference championships as both a starting quarterback and a head football coach, will be honored Feb. 17 at the Fort Worth Club.
After starting his professional career as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first-round selection in the 1978 NFL draft, Williams made history by leading the Washington Redskins to a 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII to cap the 1987 season. In that contest, he threw for 340 yards and four touchdowns while becoming the first African-American quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl title. Williams’ efforts earned him Super Bowl MVP honors.
That triumph marked the pinnacle of Williams’ pro football career, which included two stops in the NFL (Tampa Bay, Washington) and two seasons in the short-lived USFL. The native of Zachary, Louisiana also led Tampa Bay to the 1979 NFC championship game, a franchise first, before beginning a coaching career in 1991 that would take him back to his alma mater.
As the Grambling coach, Williams won five SWAC Western Division titles and three SWAC championships during two separate stints at the school where he earned All-America honors as a senior in 1977. As a quarterback, he led the Tigers to three conference titles in four seasons as a starter.
A two-time Black College Player of the Year, Williams was a 2001 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame. But he’s best remembered for making history as a Super Bowl MVP.
“Doug played an historic role in the NFL and his impact continues today,” said Mike Sisk, founder and CEO for the Low T Center, presenting sponsor of the Legends Award.
In a statement, Williams said: “I’m very honored to receive the Legends Award. It’s a privilege to be included among some of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.”
Past recipients of the Legends Award include Eddie LeBaron (2012), Jim Kelly (2011), Bob Griese (2010), Dan Fouts (2009), Joe Theismann (2008), Steve Spurrier (2007), Paul Hornung (2006), Len Dawson (2005), Archie Manning (2004), Terry Bradshaw (2003), Bart Starr (2002) and Roger Staubach (2001).
_ Jimmy Burch