This may not have affected the Tampa Bay Buccaneers too much in the grand scheme of things, but the NFL as a whole is a completely different story.
We touched on a couple of things already in the story of Williams and the alternate reality of him getting paid to stay in Tampa Bay. If you’ve made it this far, buckle up. Let’s begin with the obvious, the history of the Super Bowl. With Williams still in Tampa and not Washington, he does not become the first African-American to start and win a Super Bowl, and the MVP that came with it. The world doesn’t see the first African-American quarterback to start a Super Bowl until the 1999 season with Steve McNair and won’t see one win until Russell Wilson. There is so much more though.
When it comes to the 1987 season, the Redskins do still get to the NFC Championship with Jay Schroeder at quarterback, but instead lose to the Minnesota Vikings, who that season almost seemed like a team of destiny, instead of the Vikings coming up short at the goal line. So with that being the case, Super Bowl XXII sees the Vikings defeated by the Denver Broncos. In this reality, John Elway gets his first Super Bowl victory in the 1987 season, instead of having to wait ten more years, thus changing his legacy forever.
Switching to another Hall of Fame quarterback, let’s talk about Steve Young. Young doesn’t end up in the graveyard that was the Buccaneers of the mid-1980s-mid 1990s where he gets traded to the 49ers to learn under Bill Walsh and Joe Montana. Instead, Young winds up with the Cincinnati Bengals who took quarterback Wayne Peace in the real supplemental draft that year. The 49ers still end up with Young though, because Walsh knows his quarterbacks. Also, with Boomer Esiason coming into his own, the Bengals don’t see the need for Young anymore.
Then there’s Bo Jackson. With the Buccaneers not there with the first pick in the 1986 Draft to screw everything up, Jackson winds up with the Atlanta Falcons and becomes the greatest running back/outfielder to ever live, since he never ends up with the then Las Angeles Raiders where he has the devastating hip injury that almost ruined him as an athlete. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the next year Vinny Testaverde goes to the Indianapolis Colts and becomes their problem.
So there you have it. Not too many changes for the Buccaneers save for a couple of extra playoff seasons with Williams and McKay. As far as the rest of the NFL goes though, Steve Young’s cup of coffee is in Kansas City before San Fran, John Elway gets an early ring, Steve McNair and Russell Wilson make history, and Bo Jackson becomes God. This was an unexpected tidal wave of the butterfly effect, but let us know which “what if” scenario in Buccaneers history you’d like us to explore.