HOF Profile: Aeneas Williams

Aeneas Williams #35In the 1990s the game was changing in the NFL as the shift that has now taken over the NFL was beginning to take shape. Before the 1990s the league remained a running back driven league with teams looking to take over on the ground. In the 1990s it was still running back driven but all of a sudden new quarterbacks that could take over a game were coming into focus. Pivots like Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, and Steve Young were taking over the game and showing what a good quarterback can bring to a team. It has only been seen more now where the quarterback position has become more important than ever while the running back position has taken a back seat. In the 1990s the opposite was the case and as a result the defences were made up to stop the run. Big men in the middle of the field at linebacker and lineman while defensive backs were just receivers that couldn’t catch. As quarterbacks began to take over the game and the passing game became more important the defences would be required to change. That would give the rise to a new set of defensive backs in the game and Aenaes Williams was a part of this new waves. These backs would be a new breed of DBs who were more than just receivers who couldn’t catch. Instead it changed to truly athletic players who could not only cover a new breed of receiver and quarterback but could also change a game with one play. Interceptions would climb during the time as teams began to air the ball out more and defensive backs began seeking the ball rather than just trying to make sure the receivers did not catch the ball. The time of the ball-hawking corner had arrived and DBs like Deon Sanders and Rod Woodson would begin to become playmakers. Williams was a part of this new breed as he would make quarterbacks look away from his part of the field. He was a consistent ball-hawking corner through his time in the NFL as he would consistently be among the top in the league in interceptions. Although Williams may have been overshadowed by some of the superstars and the personalities of other corners at the time his consistency was hard to find and is still hard to find which is why he has earned a bust in the hall of fame.

Williams began his football career without the goal to become an NFL player as he used it simply to do something on the side. Instead Williams attended Southern University to concentrate on his education earning an accounting degree with a 3.2 GPA. While at school Williams would have the itch to get back to football and would walk-on to the team as a sophomore. He would begin to start almost immediately and in his senior season would earn 1 interceptions, a NCAA Division-I record. That senior season would earn him plenty of attention from the NFL and was drafted in the third round by the Phoenix Cardinals in 1991. That is when he started to become a corner that nobody wanted to throw towards. It wouldn’t take too long as he would earn his first interception in his first NFL game. It would set the tone for his career where he would earn at least one interception in every season except his last and would have at least 5 interceptions in six different seasons. The consistency to always be a threat to take the ball away made him one of the more feared backs in the game and it wouldn’t end when he changed positions. After 12 years at corner Williams would move to safety where his declining speed would not be seen as much giving him the chance to continue ball-hawking and making life miserable for quarterbacks. His on the field ability would only be outdone by his off-the-field accomplishments as he became known as one of the best men in football. Winning the Man of the Year Award in 1999 and earning the respect of everyone who played against him and with him. For his consistency and his personality Williams will enter the Hall of Fame after waiting for 10 years earning his spot as a true ball-hawking defensive back.


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