Icon: Doug Williams
Retired NFL quarterback (1978-1989), Super Bowl XXII MVP; former head coach at Grambling State University; personnel executive for Tampa Bay Buccaneers, age 53
Doug Williams [Photo: Jeffrey Camp]
» Growing up, I was an athlete — baseball, basketball, football — but I never really dreamed of playing professionally. I just wanted to go to college, get a degree and come back home and coach high school football.
» When I was a kid, we didn’t have role models. We just had people we wanted to be like. My older brother, Robert, was the guy I wanted to be like. He was 15 years older than me. He played baseball at Grambling and got drafted in the late rounds by the Cleveland Indians in 1964. He was a pitcher, and he hurt his rotator cuff, and back then they didn’t have all the modern-day surgery. Once you hurt your arm, you were done. He came back home and was a teacher and a coach. In the seventh or eighth grade, I was in his history class. He always made an example of me. If I didn’t have my homework, I was the first one called up and popped upside the head.
» I played to win. It wasn’t about personal gain. It was about the team. I gave my body. That’s probably why I walk the way I do today. Look, I’ve had five operations on my left knee and one on my right. I’ve had a separated shoulder and a broken jaw. I’ve had back surgery, a broken ankle and a whole lot of headaches. Knock on wood, I can still walk. It’s the price you pay to play the game.
» In 1978, when I first came to the Bucs, there weren’t many African-Americans playing the quarterback position. It was hard probably for a lot of people to accept me. I got my share of mail over the years. I got a box once with a ripe watermelon inside and different expletives saying what I could do with it. I heard the boos. I heard a lot of things, but at the end of the day I never crawled into a shell and said I’m not coming out to play today. You have to be like a duck. You have to let it roll off your back.
» Being confident in my abilities, I’ve always been one to say that pressure is something that an individual puts on himself. I refuse to let anyone else put pressure on me.
» Some people dispute it because they probably weren’t there, but I was asked before the Super Bowl, ‘How long have you been a black quarterback?’ I didn’t take it as a stupid, stupid question because I felt like I knew what he was trying to say.
» The day before the Super Bowl, I had a root canal. It was no big thing.
» A lot of things came to mind after we won that game. There are a lot of things you’d like to say and a lot of people you’d like to tell where to get off, but I realized it wasn’t worth it. I realized it’s not about yesterday and it’s not about tomorrow. It’s about now.
» Afterwards, I thought about Martin Luther King when he talked about getting to the mountaintop. And in my profession, at that particular time, I was on the mountaintop. The rest of the stuff didn’t bother me.
» My phone didn’t blow up after the Super Bowl. Even today, being the only African-American quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl MVP, to me it seems like it should mean something as far as advertising or being a pitch man for certain things. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t.
» Coaching is teaching. It’s patience. You have to be able to suffer the headaches sometimes. If you don’t like kids, don’t do it.
» Opportunity made me leave Grambling. I’ve known Jon Gruden since he’s about 15 or 16 years old. His daddy was one of my assistant coaches. John and I stayed in contact, and he always said that someday we’re going to end up working together.
» At this point, I’d like to be a general manager. If you are going to move up in football as an African-American, you have a better shot doing it in professional football rather than in college. I wish I could answer why. I think there’s an answer out there. I think the athletic directors and the university presidents know, but they might not tell.
» If you’re not first, you’re last, and that’s how you have to look at it.
» My 16-year old son thinks he has the dumbest dad in the world. I tell him all the time that my dad used to be dumb, too, until I got older and realized that some of the things he told me had come to fruition.
In case you missed it:
- Iconic Florida developer H. Irwin Levy
- ‘Alligator' Ron Bergeron
- Howard Schnellenberger is a Florida 'Icon'
- Florida Icon: Barbara Mainster
- Florida Icon: Walter Lanier ‘Red' Barber
- Louise Gopher is a 'Florida Icon'
- H. Lee Moffitt is a 'Florida Icon'
- Kiran Patel is a 'Florida Icon'
- 'Florida Icon' Howard C. Tibbals shares life lessons
- Alex D. Brickler is a 'Florida Icon'
- Life lessons from hockey great Phil Esposito
- Lucy Morgan is a 'Florida Icon'
- Donald Goodman is a 'Florida Icon'
- Ed Droste is a 'Florida Icon'
- Ray Ferrero Jr. - Florida Icon
- W. George Allen is a 'Florida Icon'
- Tom James is a 'Florida Icon'
- Patrick Smith is a 'Florida Icon'
- Jerry Uelsmann is a 'Florida Icon'
- John L. Parker is a 'Florida Icon'
- C.C. 'Doc' Dockery is a 'Florida Icon'
- Toni Jennings is a 'Florida Icon'
- Dave Barry is a 'Florida Icon'
- Shaquille O'Neal is a 'Florida Icon'
- Ruth Alexander is a Florida Icon
- Brian Johnson is a Florida Icon
- Florida Icon: Sam Gibbons
- Thomas 'Blue' Fulford
- Icon: Don 'Big Daddy' Garlits
- Icon: Charles E. 'Chuck' Cobb Jr.
- Icon: John DeGrove
- Icon: Charles Gray
- Icon: Harry Crews
- Icon: Burt Reynolds
- Icon: Tibor Hollo
- Icon: Gary Mormino
- Icon: Richard Gonzmart
- Icon: Bob Graham
- Icon: Ward Hall
- Icon: Eugenie Clark
- Icon: Warrick Dunn
- Icon: Arthur Rutenberg
- Icon: Chris Evert
- Icon: Preston Haskell
- Icon: Joseph Kittinger
- Icon: The Fanjul Brothers
- Icon: Romero Britto
- Icon: Steve Raymund
- Icon: Cesar L. Alvarez
- Icon: Juan 'Chi Chi' Rodriguez
- Icon: Gay Culverhouse
- Icon: Gene Leedy
- Icon: William R. Hough
- Icon: Peter Prichard
- Icon: Ed Price
- Icon: David L. Paul
- Icon: Jan Garavaglia
- Icon: Claude R. Kirk Jr.
- Icon: Don Zimmer
- Icon: Kenneth H. 'Buddy' MacKay
- Icon: Dick Vitale
- Icon: Michael Gannon
- Icon: Marcella Hazan
- Icon: Tony Little
- Icon: Wade L. Hopping
- Icon: Edgar Mitchell
- Icon: James Rosenquist
- Icon: Bob Martinez
- Icon: Arnold Palmer
- Icon: Don Shula
- Icon: Mike Peters
- Icon: Margaret D. Lowman
- Icon: Bob Butterworth
- Icon: Fred Schultz
- Icon: Eugene Patterson
- Icon: Harris Mullen
- Icon: Bill Haast
- Icon: Marion P. Hammer
- Icon: Albert Dunlap
- Icon: Joseph Woodrow Hatchett
- Icon video: Joseph Hatchett
- Icon: Talbot 'Sandy' D'Alemberte
- Icon: John Walsh
- Icon: James Robert Cade
- Icon: Nathaniel Pryor Reed
- Icon: Gus Stavros
- Icon: Betty Castor
- Icon: Mary Ann Carroll
- Icon: George Steinbrenner
- Icon: Ferdie Pacheco
- Icon: Vic Dunaway
- Icon: George Smathers
- Icon: Phyllis Apple
- Icon: Nick Bollettieri
- Icon: Harris Rosen
- Icon: Max Mayfield
- Icon: Carrie Meek
- Icon: Andres Duany
- Icon: T. Willard Fair
- Icon: Bobby Bowden
- Icon: Stetson Kennedy
- Icon: Don Francisco
- Icon: Janet Reno
- Icon: Reubin O'D. Askew
- Icon: Clyde Butcher
- Icon: Willie Gary
- Icon: Wayne Huizenga