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Gone With The Wins
John Underwood
October 24, 1983
Tampa Bay's Bucs are 0-7 without USFL-bound Doug Williams, the key to all of Coach John McKay's plans
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October 24, 1983

Gone With The Wins

Tampa Bay's Bucs are 0-7 without USFL-bound Doug Williams, the key to all of Coach John McKay's plans

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On the most miserable afternoon of John McKay's coaching life, with the Tampa Bay team he had built from scratch into a Super Bowl contender coming apart like a piñata in Green Bay, the young man he had built it around lounged in the living room of his family's ranch house on the outskirts of Zachary, La., and laughed.

Actually, Doug Williams could not enjoy the slaughter to the fullest because the game on TV was not Tampa Bay-Green Bay, it was Minnesota-Dallas. But the network updated the score frequently (it had to to keep up) as the Packers piled it on. When it reached 21-0 in the second quarter Williams cried, "Oh, yeah!"

The house, a gift from Williams to his family, bought with the money he had made as the late, near-great Tampa Bay quarterback, throbbed with the ebb and flow of relatives and friends. Doug's older brother Robert, now a junior high school principal, popped in and out, and there was a seemingly endless parade of pretty little girls in starched white Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes. The phone rang incessantly. Doug's mother, Laura, monitored the calls. His infant daughter, Ashley, dozed in a portable crib in the living room, oblivious.

The score against Tampa Bay reached 35-7, and the phone rang again. Williams giggled and cupped his hand over the receiver. "He says he hopes Green Bay gets 75," Williams said of the caller.

Then it was 42, still in the first half. A pig-tailed girl stood before him. "How come you don't play no more?"

"I play."

"Number 12?"

"Yeah."

"I don't see you on TV no more."

"I'm in the other league. Tulsa [the USFL Oklahoma Outlaws] is my team now."

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