Doug Williams became the first post-merger African-American quarterback selected in the first-round of the NFL draft in 1978 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers grabbed the Grambling State signal-caller with the 17th overall draft pick.
Cam Newton was drafted No. 1 overall in 2011, while Robert Griffin III was taken with the second overall pick in 2012.
“There is no doubt, compared to 25 and more years past that the climate has changed tremendously,” Williams told “NFL AM” analyst Eric Davis on Thursday morning when asked about black quarterbacks currently playing in the NFL.
Williams was named the most valuable player of Super Bowl XXII in 1988 after leading the Washington Redskins to a 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos. He remains the only African American starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
Five African-Americans are slated to start Week 1 this season and Williams, who currently is the head coach at his alma matter, said the perception today is completely different than when he played.
“When you talk about RG3 you don’t say black RG3, you just say RG3 or you say Josh Freeman,” he said. “When you call their names you don’t put that adjective in front of them anymore. Back in the day when I first went to Tampa, I never was Doug Williams, I was always Tampa’s black quarterback.”