FORT WORTH, Texas (Courtesy O'Brien Foundation)- The Davey O’Brien Foundation today announced Doug Williams as the recipient of the 2013 Davey O’Brien Legends Award presented by Low T Center, in honor of his outstanding contributions to the game of football both on and off the field. Williams will be presented with the award at the 37th Annual Davey O’Brien Awards Dinner on Feb. 17, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.
“I’m very honored to receive the Legends Award,” Williams said. “It’s a privilege to be included among some of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.”
Established in 2001 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Davey O’Brien Foundation, the Legends Award recognizes a college or professional quarterback who has made a significant contribution to the game of football, distinguished himself as an extraordinary leader and demonstrated exemplary conduct on and off the football field.
“All of us at Low T are proud to see Doug Williams selected as this year’s Davey O’Brien Legends Award winner,” Low T Center Founder and CEO Mike Sisk said. “Doug played an historic role in the NFL and his impact continues today.”
Past recipients of the 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).
“We’re honored to present Doug Williams with the 2013 Davey O’Brien Legends Award,” Scott Murray, Chair of the Legends Committee for the Davey O’Brien Foundation said. “Doug remains a true pioneer in the National Football League as the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl and we look forward to celebrating his achievements at our Awards Dinner.”
Just five games into his freshman year at Grambling in 1974, Williams became the school’s starting quarterback under the legendary Eddie Robinson. The Tiger would go on to post an 11-1 record and earn the first of three Southwestern Athletic Conference titles in Williams’ four years as a starter.
As a senior in 1977, Williams led the nation in touchdown passes and passing yards and went on to earn All-America honors from the Associated Press. He capped his college career by leading Grambling to a 35-32 win over Temple in the inaugural Mirage Bowl in Tokyo. He left Grambling as the NCAA record-holder for career passing yards, total offense and touchdown passes. A two-time Black College Player of the Year, Williams was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
But it was in the National Football League where Williams made his most lasting impact on the sport, becoming the first African-American quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl, when he led the Redskins to a 42-10 win over John Elway and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. Williams’ performance that day is still one of the greatest on football’s largest stage. Trailing 10-0 after one quarter, he threw four touchdown passes in the second quarter as Redskins erupted for 35 points en route to the win. Williams was named the game’s MVP after throwing for a Super Bowl-record 340 yards.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Williams in the first round of the 1978 NFL Draft and the Zachary, Louisiana native quickly dug the Bucs out of their expansion-era hole. From 1979 to 1982, Tampa Bay made their first three playoff appearances, won two NFC Central Division titles and reached the NFC championship game in 1979. In five seasons with the Buccaneers, Williams threw for 12,648 yards and 73 touchdowns, numbers that still rank among the best in franchise history.
In 1984, Williams moved on to the Oklahoma Outlaws of the USFL. Williams was one of the top passers in the wide-open league, throwing for more than 3,000 yards in his two seasons with the team. When the USFL’s brief run ended in 1986, Williams returned to the NFL, signing with the Washington Redskins and reuniting with Joe Gibbs, his offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay. Despite starting just two games during the 1987 regular season, Williams was named the starting quarterback for the Redskins entering the playoffs that season. He went on to lead Washington to wins over Chicago and Minnesota to set the stage for his Super Bowl heroics.
Following his retirement from football, Williams returned home to coach high school football in Louisiana from 1991 to 1993. He began his college coaching career as an assistant at Navy in 1994. In 1997, he was named the head coach at Morehouse College and spent one year at the school before was chosen to replace his college mentor at Grambling. In two stints at his alma mater, Williams won five SWAC Western Division titles and three SWAC championships.
Williams and his wife, Raunda, have eight children: Ashley, Adrian, Doug, Jr., Jasmine, Laura, Lee, Temessia and Carmaleta.