A Racial Milestone for the Super Bowl Until this year, the Super Bowl showdown featured only white coaches on the sidelines. This year's showdown between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts is a milestone: Both teams' coaches are black, the first in NFL history to reach the big game.
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A Racial Milestone for the Super Bowl

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A Racial Milestone for the Super Bowl

A Racial Milestone for the Super Bowl

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

With a win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, the Chicago Bears' Lovie Smith became the first African-American head coach to take his team to the Super Bowl. And then a few hours later, Tony Dungy became the second, when his Indianapolis Colts beat the New England Patriots. The NFL had seven black head coaches at the start of the season. A new high, still it was against the odds that two would make it to the big game.

Joining us is Doug Williams. He became the first black quarterback to win the Super Bowl. That was back in 1988 for the Washington Redskins. Doug Williams, welcome to DAY TO DAY.

Mr. DOUG WILLIAMS (Former Washington Redskins Quarterback): Oh, glad to be on DAY TO DAY.

CHADWICK: Is this still a kind of milestone that black players and coaches are looking at? Still important to them?

WILLIAMS: I think what we see here and unfortunately, you know, we had to be at this plateau, you know, hopefully we would have had more coaches that are of color in a league but not a lot of more black quarterback. But I do feel as a player, you know, those players on that football team really feel great to know that they were part of something that it never happened in NFL, to be part of history.

Mr. WILLIAMS: ...know that they was part of something that had never happened in the NFL, to be part of history.

CHADWICK: You still are a part of history. I think you still hold the record as the quarterback who scored the most points in any quarter in Super Bowl history. Isn't that correct?

Mr. WILLIAMS: I think so. You know, I don't keep up with the records, you know, because they're made to be broken. You never know what happens on a certain day, but I know we did score more points than anybody had scored in one quarter. I am aware of that part of it.

CHADWICK: There's actually an NFL rule that requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for an open head coaching job. Do you think that after this the league is going to still need that kind of policy for blacks to get a fair shot at coaching?

Mr. WILLIAMS: Well, I would hope that we wouldn't need the Rooney Rule, but let me tell you this. I think we as African-Americans and even the National Football League and all the fans across this country, we all need to pay great homage to Rooney with the Rooney Rule.

CHADWICK: This is named for Art Rooney, who was the team owner who put this in place.

Mr. WILLIAMS: Exactly, and - but you know, they say hey, every team that wants to hire a coach had to interview a minority. Now let me say this. There was a lot of articles out there that every time a team wanted to hire a football coach, you know, they'll bring in a minority, and the article always stated whether that team had met its quota.

I thought that was a bad word to say it met its quote by interviewing a minority, as to say we just interviewed him, he's not going to get the job. And that's why I say what Rooney did was they interviewed Mike Tomlin. They hired Mike Tomlin because he was the man for the job.

CHADWICK: At the Steelers.

Mr. WILLIAMS: Exactly.

CHADWICK: So who's your pick for the Super Bowl this year?

Mr. WILLIAMS: Well I can't lose.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. WILLIAMS: The thing about that - I can't lose. You know, I'm not going to sit here saying I want the Colts to win, I want the Bears to win. Either way it goes I can't lose. I know Tony a lot better than I know Lovie. But at the same time, I will be rooting for a good football game.

CHADWICK: And at that moment, at that end of that game when an African-American coach has won it, I just wondered if that's something that would be a family moment or a friends moment or a football moment.

Mr. WILLIAMS: Well you know, for me at this particular time it doesn't matter because we know an African-American will win the game. That's a given. Therefore, my heart has already been on the floor because of what happened this past Sunday. So what happens next week, you know, really doesn't matter because, at the end of the day, we would have had an African-American to win the Super Bowl. And we would have had all that coming, and hopefully that that would go to rest and we'll just treat people the way they should be treated and give them the opportunity they deserve.

CHADWICK: And that does matter. It does matter that an African-American coach wins it?

Mr. WILLIAMS: Oh, it's going to happen. That's the good part about it. And I think we'll be able to put a lot of things to rest in the National Football League as far as African-Americans are concerned: whether or not they can coach the team to the Super Bowl, whether or not a quarterback can play in it and win it. We've covered all the aspects of it, and even with the induction of Warren Moon into the Hall of Fame, I mean we've got a lot of things covered in the National Football League.

CHADWICK: Doug Williams is a radio commentator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He won the Super Bowl for the Washington Redskins back in 1988. Doug Williams, thank you.

Mr. WILLIAMS: Thanks for being on.

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