This “what if” scenario doesn’t have much ripple effect in the history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the NFL world could have been drastically different.
The infancy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is infamous. Coached by John McKay, the creamsicle Buccaneers lost their first 26 games as a franchise before finally notching a win against the New Orleans Saints. Going 0-14 in 1976, the Buccaneers were “rewarded” with the first overall pick in 1977 which they used on running back Ricky Bell out of USC, the former home of McKay. In 1977, they went 2-12. Once again, they had the first overall pick. While Heisman Trophy winner and future Hall of Famer Earl Campbell out of Texas was the consensus number one choice, the Buccaneers opted to trade the pick. They already had Bell, so they didn’t feel the need for another runningback. (This could be another “what if” scenario in itself, but we digress.)
The Buccaneers swapped this pick for the Houston Oilers’ 17th overall pick as well as their second-round pick along with tight end Jimmie Giles. Giles would go onto become arguably the greatest tight end the Buccaneers have ever had, while their first-round pick, Doug Williams, who became the first African-American quarterback taken in the first round and also became arguably their best quarterback. Well, until Tom Brady of course. Before venturing into the multiverse, let’s take a look back on Williams’s career with the Buccaneers and beyond.