NFL – Throwback Thursday: Doug Williams Conquers The World

28 Oct

Super Bowl XXII, a very historic championship game, is the subject of our Throwback Thursday feature this week, the eighth week of the NFL season. On this week’s slate is a game between the Denver Broncos and the Washington Football Team, the 2 franchises who played in that historic title game on January 31, 1988. History was made before the game even started, as Doug Williams was announced as Washington’s starting quarterback, becoming the first African American to start at the position in a Super Bowl. He was an unlikely starter. He had entered the year as a backup and was 0-2 in the only starts he did make in the regular season. After leading the Redskins to their 2 playoff wins to reach the big game, he earned the start in the Super Bowl. His start hit a snag when he had to undergo an emergency root canal the night before the game, but he was pronounced fit to play. Denver, behind star QB John Elway, was making their second appearance in the title game in a row, having lost to the New York Giants the previous year.

The game started out slowly for Williams and the Redskins. Elway hit Ricky Nattiel on a 56 yard touchdown pass and Rich Karlis added a 24 yard field goal to give Denver a 10-0 lead after the first quarter. Near the end of the quarter, Williams twisted his knee awkwardly while dropping back to pass and had to leave the game. He returned in the second stanza, with a vengeance. The Redskins’ receiving corps at the time was small and speedy, and were collectively nicknamed “The Smurfs”. They also earned the moniker of  “The Fun Bunch” for their colorful touchdown celebrations. In the second period of this game, they got to celebrate a lot. Williams engineered an incredible 5 touchdown drives, throwing touchdown passes of 80 and 50 yards to Ricky Sanders,27 yards to Gary Clark, and 8 yards to Clint Didier. Also, the game’s other hero, Timmy Smith, ran 58 yards for a score. When the dust settled, the Redskins found themselves with an astonishing 35-10 lead going into halftime. The halftime show of the game was the first time a major act was booked to entertain the crowd and the television audience. The performers? Chubby Checker and The Rockettes. In another tidbit of trivia involving this game, Herb Alpert played the National Anthem on his trumpet, the last non-vocal performance of the song to date.


The Fun Bunch celebrates another TD


The third quarter of the game was scoreless, but the outcome had already pretty much been determined. Smith wrapped up a record-breaking day on the ground with a 4 yard touchdown run in the final quarter to give Washington a 42-10 victory. Williams was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, deservingly so with his play. Smith would have been a good choice also, as he set a new Super Bowl record with 204 yards rushing on 22 carries, a mark that still stands to this day.


Doug Williams enjoyed an historic victory in Super Bowl XXII


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