He throws the ball like Joe Namath
There have been letters. There have been telephone calls. People have even stopped me on the street the last few weeks and asked the same question of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: "Why does John McKay insist on sticking with Doug Williams? He's dumb."

I've never been sure if they're referring to McKay or Williams when they make that last remark. But, I must assume it's Williams since the callers and writers and others immediately proceed to rattle off a list of errors which they feel supports their case against the Buc’s young quarterback.

They point to Williams' boo-boo in the 34-27 loss to Cleveland, when he threw short down the middle to tight end Jimmie Giles as time ran out. They point to his interception that killed a Bucs' fourth-quarter drive in the 20-14 loss to Houston.

And, they point to his faux pas in last week's 24-21 loss to Pittsburgh when he apparently assumed the Bucs had gained a first down and then threw the ball away on what actually was fourth down.

But I'll tell you why McKay sticks with Williams. How about 486 yards passing? How about 30 completions in 55 attempts? How about four touchdown passes?

Any coach who has a quarterback who can produce figures like that and then has the audacity to even think about not using him should be locked in a room and forced to watch films of Wishbone and Triple Option teams for the rest of his life.

Williams produced those staggering statistics of 486 yards and four touchdowns on 30 completions up here in nippy 44-degree weather against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon. Williams' total passing yardage is the fourth-best ever in the history of the National Football League, putting him right there in the record book with such venerable pass masters as Norm Van Brocklin, Y.A. Tittle and Joe Namath.

Van Brocklin leads the parade of passers with 554 yards, accomplished with the Los Angeles Rams while playing against the New York Yankees on Sept. 28,1951. Then comes Tittle, the chrome-domed New York Giants quarterback who threw for 505 yards against the Washington Redskins on Oct. 28, 1962. Finally, there's Namath of the bad knees and the New York Jets, who had 496 yards against the Baltimore Colts on Sept.24, 1972.

Veteran Vikings’ cornerback Bobby Bryant was asked if he ever saw anybody throw the ball like Williams threw it Sunday and he replied: "Yeah, Joe Namath. He used to throw the ball just like that.

Mike Tierney The St.Petersburg Times November 1980