Doug Williams: Standing Alone

Steven KolbContributor IApril 24, 2008

If you look at the history of the National Football League, you will see that there has been a recent surge amongst minority quarterbacks in the league. The norm used to be that teams would rely on "white" pocket-passing quarterbacks to man, arguably, the toughest position in the NFL.

But recent transformations in the game have opened the door for a new style of quarterbacking. Aside from having the ability to pass, teams are looking for that quarterback who can also be a running threat as well. This has led to the development of quarterbacks such as Randall Cunningham, Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper, and Michael Vick. While the success of these players and other minority quarterbacks have been profound, it hasn't led to Super Bowl success.

Whether it is by coincidence or not, there has only been one minority quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl. In 1988 Doug Williams claimed the distinction of becoming, and still being, the only black quarterback to win a Super Bowl when he defeated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLII.

Williams also became the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl game. Williams was named MVP of the game, but the history Williams left has opened the door for others. Williams opened the eyes of those people who ever doubted that a black quarterback had what it took to win a Super Bowl, and more importantly the ability to lead an NFL team.

The legacy that Williams left, in my opinion, is comparable to that of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. Williams showed the entire country, on football's greatest stage, that a black quarterback can play what has been labled as a white man's position.

He broke a barrier, but he hasn't earned the praise he deserves. His story remains quiet and subtle at times. But until another minority quarterback can win on football's greatest stage, Doug Williams will continue to stand alone.