The Redskins just celebrated the 30th anniversary of their Super Bowl XXII victory over the Denver Broncos, a game primarily remembered for an explosive second quarter led by Doug Williams, the first African-American quarterback to start in a Super Bowl.
So it's particularly fitting that Williams, a Grambling State product and member of the Black College Football Hall Of Fame, will be one of many featured in a new NFL Network documentary “Breaking Ground: A Story of HBCU Football and the NFL” to highlight Black History Month.
The documentary looks at the legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities within the NFL and premieres at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9.
“HBCUs and their alumni have such a significant place within the history of the NFL," said Brian Lockhart, NFL Media Vice President and Senior Coordinating Producer of Original Content. "This was not only an important story to share with viewers, but vital that it be told firsthand through the voices of the men responsible for paving the legacy of HBCUs in the NFL.”
Other HBCU alumni and NFL legends featured in the documentary include Jerry Rice, Mel Blount and Marquette King, each sharing stories of their HBCU experience and the impact their schools had in forging their football careers.
"Every article in America was written about 'The First Black Quarterback,' 'Washington's Black Quarterback,' 'The Way of the Black Quarterback.' I didn't go to the Super Bowl as a black quarterback, I went to the Super Bowl as the Redskins' quarterback, who just happened to be black,” Williams says in a featured clip. “At the same time, I understood the pride, the dignity and the history of what was about to happen."
As Williams relayed in an interview with Redskins.com last summer, his goal was to make sure he put the team first during the Super Bowl build-up.
“So many people made such a big deal about me being the first African-American quarterback to play in the Super Bowl," he said. "It was my job to make sure I didn’t buy into the hype of being the first African-American quarterback to play in the Super Bowl. I had to realize that being the first is one thing, but realizing you still need team to play with you. The most important thing was not to put all the emphasis on me, on myself."
“Breaking Ground” is narrated by HBCU alum and actor Chadwick Boseman, who stars in the upcoming Marvel movie “Black Panther” and has portrayed several iconic African-American figures in history – Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall.
The documentary will re-air on NFL Network on Feb. 23.