When the quarter was over, Williams was in severe pain from the knee injury. "At halftime against Denver," he remembered, "Coach Bugel said we had it in hand and that we could put Jay in to finish up. I said, `No way' and had the doctor shoot me up with painkillers. If Jay was going to get a Super Bowl ring, it was going to be because I gave it to him."
So he returned in the second half, and the score ended up at 42-10, with Denver never putting up any points after the first quarter. "It was a nightmare," Denver defensive coordinator Joe Collier said after the game.
"I was shocked we played as well as we did," Gibbs remarked. "It just happens it was in the Super Bowl."
But that made it mean so much more, especially to Williams. On January 31, 1988, he became the first African American quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl title and to win the game's MVP trophy. It was a resounding response to the segregationist legacy of George Preston Marshall.
"A lot of people know that the Redskins were the last team to integrate, and a lot of people told me that I put them in a bad position," Williams said. "You'd be surprised how many people said they had to cheer for the Redskins because I was playing."
Bobby Mitchell, who had paved the way for Williams as well as for so many other Redskins greats, added: "I had friends of mine in this town who knew I played for the Redskins and loved me, but hated the Redskins because of the legacy. After Doug Williams, they loved the Redskins. It made a complete transition. After Doug, some people said, 'Now, we're okay.'
The Super Bowl win over Denver gave the Redskins a 91-43-0 record in the 1980s to that point, a remarkable .677 winning percentage. But the 1988 and 1989 seasons brought another period of change for the Redskins.
In 1988, linebacker Rich Milot, running back George Rogers, tight end Clint Didier and cornerback Vernon Dean were let go. In what proved to be a steal, the Redskins traded Schroeder to the Raiders for offensive tackle Jim Lachey. By the end of the season, Lachey would replace Jacoby on the all-important left side.