Big-Name Lobbying For Doug Williams

July 8th, 2024

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BY IRA KAUFMAN

You don’t get a call from a Hall of Famer every day.

When the voice on the other end identified himself as Mel Blount, I figured it was a prank call. But it was indeed the Steelers legend calling to gather support for a self-described “crusade.”

Former Bucs QB Doug Williams.

Blount admits he is obsessed with honoring ex-Buccaneer quarterback Doug Williams with a gold jacket in Canton. Williams has been eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 1995 and has never advanced to the list of semifinalists.

Blount considers that a travesty, arguing that Williams was a trailblazer — changing the narrative about black quarterbacks by earning Super Bowl MVP honors. Williams threw four second-quarter TD passes in leading the 1987 Redskins to a 42-10 rout of John Elway’s Broncos.

“Doug Williams broke down a lot of barriers and actually kicked in a lot of doors to open up opportunities for what we see in the NFL today,” says Blount, the imposing cornerback who retired in 1984 after winning four Super Bowls in Pittsburgh. “When you look around the NFL and the number of black quarterbacks, all of this, in my opinion, is the result of what Doug Williams was able to do.”

The Bucs were 2-26 in their first two NFL seasons before Williams was drafted out of Grambling in 1978. By his second year, he guided Tampa Bay to the NFC championship game. The Bucs made the playoffs three times during the five seasons Williams was under center before he left Tampa in a contract dispute.

Without Williams, the Bucs did not post a winning season between 1976-1996.

Not one.

Williams was the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl when Washington faced Denver on the league’s biggest stage in San Diego. The Broncos grabbed an early 10-0 advantage before Williams buried the favored Broncos with a 35-point second quarter.

For Williams to receive a Hall of Fame bust at this point, he’d have to enter Canton as a senior candidate. He’s no longer a modern-era nominee and there’s a lengthy backlog of worthy seniors waiting their turn.

“When I look at what the Hall of Fame is about and what it stands for, you’ve got to get this guy,” says Blount, inducted in 1989, his first year of eligibility. “In our eyes, and when I say ‘our’ I’m talking about black America, Doug Williams is a hero. He’s an American hero.”

Williams was inducted into the Redskins Ring of Fame and entered the Buccaneer Ring of Honor in 2015. Well after his playing days, he served seven years as a Buccaneer executive.

At the age of 76, Blount has made it his mission to see Williams rewarded for his impact on pro football — changing the way coaches and executives looked at black quarterbacks as capable commanders of the game’s most critical position.

Two years ago, Williams felt an immense sense of pride when Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts became the first black quarterbacks to face each other in a Super Bowl.

“Doug Williams opened the door for me,” said Mahomes, who has led the Chiefs to three championships in his six years as a starter.

Williams doesn’t boast the glowing numbers voters look for in a Hall of Fame quarterback. His career record as an NFL starter was 38-42-1. He completed less than half his throws and finished with a TD-interception ratio of 100-93.

But you don’t measure significance with sheer statistics.

It won’t be easy to shepherd Doug Williams past the doorsteps of Canton, but Blount is not a man to be underestimated. An All-Pro corner who used to intimidate the best receivers in the league now has his powerful hands wrapped around Doug Williams’ candidacy.

“To me, it’s an embarrassment that we don’t have this guy in the Hall of Fame,” Blount says. “What Doug Williams left was a historical mark on the game.”

31 Responses to “Big-Name Lobbying For Doug Williams”

  1. 2023 Surprised the Hell out of me Says:

    Can not believe it didnt happen already ? Historically its obvious .

  2. mr mac Says:

    Doug’s book “QuarterBlack” is a good read. Although, his 100 TD to 93 INT career record is not so good even among QBs of his era.

  3. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    Do it, get Doug Williams into the Hall. And how about burrowing in on the Glazers (we know you and Ari are tight) and get James Wilder in the Ring of Honor already over there Sage!

  4. Baking with Evans Says:

    I hope he gets in. I wonder how his numbers in Washington compare to the ones in Tampa?

    I was so happy for him when he won the Super Bowl.

    Another great article Irahhhhh.

    LFG!!!

  5. Bryan Smallwood Says:

    While I love Doug and he was a good player and one of my favorite Bucs of all time , under no circumstances is he a HOF player. That honor should be for those that were exceptional, not just good.

  6. Proudbucsfan Says:

    That cheap as* racist Culverhouse should never have let him play anywhere else it was a travesty then and it’s still a travesty. It ruined his career. Williams had everything he needed right here in Tampa I believe we would have been a dynasty with Bo Jackson too if Culverhouse wouldn’t have messed that up too, I was so angry for the longest time and I still get angry when I think about the kind of players the Bucs could of had if not for that Culverhouse piece of sh**

  7. garro Says:

    Doug was and is one of my all time football hero’s. But HOF induction is about numbers and achievements on the field during a players carreer. Although he was a SB MVP there are quite a few QBs who had better carreers than Doug. It should not have a thing to do with politics or race. I was thrilled that the Bucs hired him to work in the front office. I would hope that he was hired on the basis of his abiliity, not his race, and I feel like he would not have it any other way. He has my utmost respect. Is he worthy of the HOF based on his on field ability? Sorry but no.

    Wilder Rice and Alstot before Williams sir.

    Go Bucs!

  8. Harold Says:

    I am a black American growing up in the 70’s in high school playing football 🏈,basketball,and baseball.. my father coached football 🏈 and played in high school.. he was a center.. back in those days there wasn’t many center that were black because NO WHITE person playing Quarterback was going to put their hands between a BLACK person legs.. unheard of.. I can remember people saying there wasn’t any black Quarterback growing up during my childhood because they said that BLACK weren’t smart enough to play that position.. it wasn’t true then.. and we know it NOT true now..

  9. WestChap Says:

    I was thrilled to see Doug during my visit to HOF, even if it was as part of a black college football exhibit. Another outlet had a “what if” series of alternate Buc realities… I was surprised they didn’t feature Culverhouse’s cold, racist heart stopping such that a humane human could replace him as owner…. Doug a Buc for life, Bo Jackson happily joining an offense with Kevin House and Jimmy Giles opposite a defense led by HOFer LeeRoy Selmon… oh my, it warms my heart to think what a world with less Culverhouse, no Yucks and a whole lotta winning would have done for Buccaneer Bruce and the Creamsicle Crewe. In that reality, Doug is a first ballot HOFer and few, if any, would begrudge him a gold jacket as a senior given all he accomplished in the face of a malevolent, career-wrecker owner. Not that I feel strongly about it… Argh!

  10. ‘79 Defense Says:

    Loved Doug as a kid when he played for the Bucs, and still have such high respect for him, but why should entering the hall of fame now have a “what did you do for your race” criteria? And I say that knowing that Doug had to deal with racism that nobody should deal with.

    Side note— In reading bits here and there and interviews with Doug, I found the relationship between John McKay and Doug to be very solid and supportive. Williams spoke enthusiastically about how he heard that if McKay put an “ie” at the end of your name then McKay was totally on your side. So the first time he heard McKay call him Dougie, he was thrilled.

  11. Red Skeleton Says:

    Doug Williams never took a knee. He took the game head on, racism head on… and the Broncos head on. Count me in support for HOF for Doug Williams. I was too young to understand his departure from the Bucs and hated on him for leaving. As an adult I now understand his version and no more hating on him. I have more respect than ever.

  12. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Garro,

    I agree with your take.
    I’ve always been a big fan of Doug Williams and he was a thrill to watch when I’d see him play in the old Sombrero, but I don’t think he truly deserves to be in the HOF.

  13. KABucs Says:

    Proudbucsfan, I agree, Hugh Culverhouse was one of the worst owners in NFL history. That guy kept payroll well under the cap and never spent up to it or anywhere near it. We had 20 years of losing seasons because he wouldn’t pay for players. The Bucs sad historical win-loss record is based solely on having one of the worst owners you could ever have… and not just for lack of spending on players but for also hiring some of the worst coaches you could ever have and not spending any money on facilities either. One Bucs Place used to be a total embarrassment. Some free agents wouldn’t come to the Buccaneers because the facilities are so awful. As soon as he sold to the Glazers everything changed almost immediately. They hired better people, improved facilities and spent money in general. Just compare win loss percentages between the Glazer years and the awful Culverhouse era.

  14. First Name Greatest Says:

    Numbers wise, he doesn’t belong

    Historical impact, he belongs

  15. J Says:

    I have nothing against Williams, but the first black QB in the NFL was Willie Thrower, and black players have been participating in the NFL since the 1920’s, which is now dominated by black players. There are also a lot of black athletes that laid rubber to the road before Williams just so he could make it. So by this logic the NFL needs to fire up the sewing department and make a ton of jackets for folks.

  16. Dave Pear Says:

    Proudbucsfan – spot on with your depiction of Culverhose. Despicable human. Ruined the Bucs by that one racist move. I hate his memory.

    The Bucs were a .500 team over the five years Doug was a Buc. Went to the playoffs three times. And in 1979, he had no weapons other than Jimmy Giles.

    And it’s telling when there was never a Bucs winning season without him until 1997.

    Once in a while, different criteria need to be used to elevate someone to their deserved place. Blount’s crusade to get Doug in the HOF is such a case.

  17. Jeffs grandpa Says:

    Hof is for the great not the for the good

  18. Rod Munch Says:

    HOF is based on performance on the field, not DEI requirements.

    If we start down this road, what’s next, putting Jay Fiedler in because he’s one of God’s chosen people? Maybe Michael Sam can have his own wing built in Canton.

  19. heyjude Says:

    Blount is 100% right. Doug Williams deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Way past time.

  20. WilieG Says:

    I want Dougie in the HoF!

    (But only if there is a place for those with “Outside the Lines” accomplishments.

    If the Hall doesn’t have that place, they should.

  21. Bosch Says:

    So Ira, what are you going to do now? Do you agree? Are you going to support this initiative to get Williams into the hall? Are you going to seek the support of your contemporizes?

    I understand he does not have HoF stats, but he never had much of a supporting cast when with the Bucs. The exceptions, Jimmy Giles, Kevin House, James Wilder all seemed to have very short careers.

    Agree with everything Proudbucsfan said about Hugh Bigot Culverhouse. Worst NFL team owner ever.

    Harold, your post is very eye opening.

  22. Bucben61 Says:

    Great man on and off the field…the bucs old ownership didn’t do him right and cursed the franchise until Tony Dungy arrived.

  23. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I know you already assume this, but you’re 💯 right with your opinion Fancy Man.

    Dam……..I agree with Rod Munch.
    😀

  24. Anyhony Says:

    The Hall of Fame tells a story to future generations. It’s the Hall of Fame, not the hall of stats.

  25. Rod Munch Says:

    Anyhony – The HOF isn’t about stats, it’s about performance and domination in the era in which you played – and with as much as I personally like Doug Williams, he was never a dominant player.

    Saying it’s about ‘stories’ is what the NFL has said to get women to watch the NFL, and that’s why a clean hits are now an automatic 15-yard personal fouls.

    With that said, there is a story component, as Ira has said, can you tell the history of the NFL without that player – but that is only one part of the requirement, not the only requirement.

  26. Rod Munch Says:

    DoooshLaRue – it happens like twice a year. So glad we got this one out of the way.

  27. Anyhony Says:

    With that said, there is a story component, as Ira has said, can you tell the history of the NFL without that player – but that is only one part of the requirement, not the only requirement.

    *****************************************************************
    Super Bowl MVP tells a pretty good story as well as being the first African American QB to win it all.

  28. Pickgrin Says:

    Losing record as a starter – almost as many INTs as TDs – and a 49.5% career completion percentage…..

    Surely you jest….

  29. Rod Munch Says:

    Anyhony – yeah, but as I said, you need the other side of the requirement as well, and that is being a dominant player – defining your position, etc. Randall Cunningham, for example, would be much more of a HOF caliber player – he truly did define the position and was the model for the current mobile QB and was a truly dominant player for a period of time. However no one would ever seriously consider him for the HOF.

    For Williams it’s a great story, but he’s basically a black Trent Dilfer when it comes to performance on the field.

  30. Addb Says:

    The HOF is about “can the story of football be told without this person?”

    For Doug, the answer is no. He belongs.

  31. Rod Munch Says:

    Addb – and can’t you tell the story of the NFL without mentioning the Bucs going 0-26, but that doesn’t mean everyone on the team is a HOFer.

 

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