The night before Super Bowl XXII, arguably the biggest night of Doug Williams’ career, was spent in a medicated blur because of an abscessed tooth — so much so that Williams barely remembers talking to the guy in the next bunk.
That room mate was Anthony Jones, now head coach at Alabama A&M. Williams, who has returned to helm his former college program at Grambling, will face Jones and A&M this weekend in the Tigers’ home opener.
“I guess it was one of those situations where I was in so much pain the night before, under so much medication, that we didn’t get a chance to talk as much as we would have liked to,” Williams said. “The fact that we were in the same room, though, means we got to share the same feelings about what the next day would be about.”
Super Bowl XXII, of course, is best known for Williams’ gutty MVP performance — as his Washington Redskins scored 42 unanswered points after being down 10–0 to Denver. Williams, who set Super Bowl record with 340 passing yards during that 42-10 drubbing in 1987, overcame a hyper-extended knee to become the first (and and so far only) African-American quarterback to win an NFL championship game. Jones, meanwhile, was a reserve behind starting tight end Don Warren, who’d eventually become member of each of the Redskins’ three Super Bowl winning squads.
Both Williams and Jones would later begin their head coaching journey at Morehouse College, and both have since had great success in the SWAC. Jones has led A&M to four Eastern Division titles, and the 2006 league crown. Williams helped Grambling to three Western Division championships and each of the SWAC titles between 2000-02 — a run that included a victory in 2002 over Jones’ Bulldogs.
“We had an opportunity to be on a Super Bowl-winning team,” Williams says, “so we have respect for each other along those lines. I’m glad that he went on to become a head coach. ‘A.J.’ is basically is the dean of the SWAC, when you think about his years of being there. That says a lot about him; it tells you that he’s done a good job over there.”