Doug Williams brought a laughing-stock of a franchise to playoffs three times in four years from 1979 through 1982 in Tampa Bay.
The Bucs even made it the NFC Championship in ’79 against the Rams, but lost 9-0.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were so inept, Bucs head coach John McKay was asked what he though of his team execution, McKay’s response: “I’m in favor of it.” The Bucs were the doormat of the NFL after losing 37 of 44 games in their first three years in the NFL. But a young quarterback out of Grambling turned the franchise into winners for those three years.
Williams’ life and career took a turn for the worse with the painful loss of his wife. After the Cowboys defeated the Bucs in the ’82 playoffs, it would be five years between NFL starts for Williams.
In 1984, Williams joined the Oklahoma Outlaws of the USFL. The Outlaw ownership had initial talks with quarterback Dan Fouts of the San Diego Chargers. But for a second time, the USFL couldn’t reach a deal with the city officials to bring a franchise San Diego. Fouts used the negotiation to get more money from Alex Spanos (owner of Chargers), so the Tatham family signed Williams.
Williams threw 36 touchdowns and 38 interceptions in his two-year USFL career. In 1986, the Redskins signed Williams, who played in one game and threw one incomplete pass. No one could have foreseen what was in the cards for Williams the following season.
The 1987 NFL season will be remembered by NFL fans as the "year of the strike."
The NFL cancelled one game and three were played with football scabs.
The NFC East saw the Cowboys continue to falter and the Giants never recovered after losing all three scab-games. The division title was there for the taking by the Redskins.
Late in the season, head coach Joe Gibbs replaced quarterback Jay Schroeder with Williams. The Redskins won four of their remaining five games to finish with an 11-4 record, winning the NFC East (The Redskins won all three scab-games).
As Washington entered the playoffs, few experts gave this “mixed” group a chance against teams like 13-2 49ers, or the 11-5 Bears. But the Skins scalped the Bears for a second-consecutive time in Chicago, 21-17, in the first-round of the playoffs; the Vikings stunned the 49ers in San Francisco with a 36-24 victory.
With Chicago and San Francisco out of the way, the Redskins hosted the Vikings in the NFC Championship. The Vikings battled, but a fourth-and-goal pass to RB Darrin Nelson fell incomplete as Washington held on to a 17-10 win. The Super Bowl was the next destination for Washington.
John Elway looked like he was going to win his first Super Bowl as Denver took a 10-0 first-quarter lead against Washington. But the Redskins put up 35 second-quarter points and never looked back.
Williams threw four touchdowns to the lead the charge: an 80 and 50-yard strike to Sanders, a 27-yard toss to Clark, and an 8-yarder to TE Clint Didier.
Sanders broke the Super Bowl record with 193 yards on nine catches; Clark had three receptions for 55 yards; Williams was 18 of 29 for 340 yards and four touchdowns – winning MVP honors.
The Skins totaled a record 602 yards, as rookie running back Tim Smith set a Super Bowl record of 204 yards rushing in the lop-sided victory.
Williams played in 15 games over the next two seasons, throwing 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.