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Doug Williams’ long-lasting short career; Where is he now?
Doug Williams now serves a front office role for the Washington Commanders. (Credit: Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

Doug Williams’ long-lasting short career; Where is he now?

WASHINGTON (BVM) – Doug Williams has been a big advocate for promoting the new wave amongst HBCU football programs. An HBCU alum himself, Williams knows the challenges of trying to make it to the next level while not having all of the benefits of a typical Division I school.

Williams prior to the NFL

Williams was a star at Grambling State from 1974 through 1977. He finished his Tigers career with a 36-7 record and three Southwestern Athletic Conference Championships. He finished fourth in the 1977 Heisman Trophy voting behind Earl Campbell, Terry Miller and Ken MacAfee.

Unfortunately because of the school he attended, he did not receive much attention from the pro level. But one of the few interactions he had was with Tampa Bay, who decided to use their firstround selection on him in the 1978 NFL Draft. Williams became the first black quarterback in NFL history to go in the first round.

Early career

After five seasons with the Buccaneers, Williams decided to take an opportunity in the brand new USFL. He signed on with the Oklahoma Outlaws in 1984 and was truly able to show off his gunslinging style. He threw for 3,084 yards and touchdowns but also had 21 interceptions. The following year, the Outlaws merged with the Wranglers and moved to Arizona. They spent one season there before the collapse of the USFL.

Williams’ NFL return

Williams quickly joined Washington to back up then-starter Jay Schroeder in 1986 and in the 1987 season, Williams got his shot when Schroeder went down. Williams started two games that season which were both losses, but Williams played well. He threw for 506 yards with five touchdowns combined in the two performances.


Whenever the postseason came around, that was enough for head coach Joe Gibbs to make Williams the full-time starter.

Super Bowl XXII

Led by Williams, Washington got past Chicago and then Minnesota to set up a Super Bowl matchup with the Denver Broncos. 

Williams put up a stellar performance, outplaying John Elway with 340 yards and four touchdowns. This would make him the first black quarterback to play and win a Super Bowl. He was the easy choice for Super Bowl XXII MVP.

Following the 1987 season


Williams would deal with various injuries the following season in 1988. Similar to the way he took the quarterback job, Mark Rypien stepped in as his backup and played great. 

This set up a position battle going into the 1989 season where Rypien prevailed and Williams spent the season on the sidelines. Afterward, he was cut, resulting in the end of his NFL career.

Post-NFL career

Williams did not waste much time getting into coaching as he became the head coach at Pointe Coupee Central High School 2 years later. After various coaching stints at the high school and collegiate levels along with an NFL scouting gig, he landed back at his alma mater as the head coach in 1998.

After winning three conference titles at Grambling State he went back to the NFL as a team executive. In the winter of 2014, Williams was brought in by Washington’s front office where he has been ever since. He now serves the role of senior advisor to Jason Wright, the Washington Commanders’ team president.

Photo: Doug Williams now serves a front office role for the Washington Commanders. (Credit: Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)