Roughly one month ago, former Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams’ older brother was having chest pains at work so severe that he was rushed to the hospital. Turns out Robert Williams’ heart had a 90 percent blockage, but doctors were able to save his life.
So cardiovascular health has become a personal crusade for the Super Bowl XXII MVP who directed the Redskins to a 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos. Williams completed 18 of 29 passes for 340 yards and four touchdowns against the John Elway-led Broncos, and the Redskins set the tone with five touchdowns in the second quarter.
Williams was in Annapolis Wednesday participating in a charity flag football game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium benefiting the Heart Health Foundation. The head coach in his second stint at Grambling State University served as captain of the Redskins team. Those who donated more than $500 could catch a pass from one of the most revered players in franchise history.
The opposing quarterback on an unusually warm afternoon also is a familiar name to Redskins fans, except that he played for the team’s most detested rival. But Williams and Roger Staubach exchanged friendly handshakes and more than a few laughs before the game began on the field the Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famer called home when he attended the Naval Academy.
Staubach pointed out before the game he had never lost at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, and after a 30-18 win this time, his record remains perfect. Staubach won the Heisman Trophy in 1963 and is close with Heart Health Foundation president John Martin, who’s also the medical director of the Heart and Vascular Institute at Anne Arundel Medical Center.
“Well, Roger had never lost at this stadium,” Williams said, “and after today’s refereeing, I can see why.”
Williams arrived at the stadium wearing a Grambling track suit with a name tag that read: “Doug Williams Old RGIII”. Williams, who was an assistant coach with the Midshipmen in 1994, said he had a chance to meet Robert Griffin III Sunday at a sports memorabilia show during which the two players signed autographs.
“Every team in the National Football League needs a quarterback,” Williams said. “It’s quarterback-driven league, and I think the Redskins have really come up with the leader of the future, and that is RGIII.”
The Redskins won the NFC East in part behind Griffin’s ability to mix passing and throwing to keep defenses off balance. Staubach, though, was among the first quarterbacks to be a dual threat in the NFL when the Cowboys drafted him in 1965 and waited for him to complete his military obligations before joining the team in 1969.
Staubach became the full-time starter over Craig Morton in Week 8 of the 1971 season when then-coach Tom Landry finally decided he gave the Cowboys the best chance to win. Staubach validated the late Hall of Fame coach’s decision by leading Dallas to a victory in Super Bowl VI and being named MVP to cap 10 consecutive wins to close the season.
Stabuach recalled the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry fondly, saying although players from both sides had a strong dislike for one another, there was, however grudgingly, mutual respect. That included former Redskins coach George Allen, an emotional leader who stirred the rivalry as the antithesis to the subdued Landry.
“It was like a playoff game every time we played the Redskins,” Staubach said. “George Allen, he was a great coach, and he was different than Landry. They kind of got in it too, the two of them. George really came in during the early ’70s after [Vince] Lombardi died and did fantastic.”
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