“A Football Life” for Aeneas Williams

Posted by Darren Urban on December 5, 2017 – 3:17 pm

The Cardinals have gotten their share of “A Football Life” episodes over the years, whether it was Bruce Arians or Pat Tillman or Emmitt Smith or, just recently, Larry Fitzgerald. Friday, another Cardinal will get his time with a documentary: Hall of Fame cornerback Aeneas Williams.

The show will premiere Friday at 7 p.m. Arizona time on the NFL Network. Williams was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. Of course, he was excellent for so many years in Arizona, really the first Arizona-bred Cardinal — drafted in 1991, he was the first great that played for the Cardinals that hadn’t come over from St. Louis during the 1988 move.

It isn’t just about football — in fact, the episode is built around Williams the man. He’s a pastor, who has his own church in Ferguson, Missouri, where race riots threw things into chaos after the Michael Brown shooting in 2014, a week after Williams went into the Hall of Fame. Williams, as is shown, helped bring the community back together. (Click here for the preview.)

Oh, and he was a heck of a player too. As one-time Cardinals defensive backs coach Rob Ryan noted, “He was the first Revis Island. He was Aeneas Williams Island.”

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10 Responses to ““A Football Life” for Aeneas Williams”

  1. By patrick on Dec 5, 2017 | Reply

    My concern about evaluating the roster over the next four weeks is the people doing the evaluations.

    These are the same people who thought going into week 1 that:
    1) Justin Bethel (and Brandon Williams) could handle CB2
    2) A committee of defensive tackles consisting of Mauro, Pierre, Williams, Rucker and Nkemdiche could replace the impact of Calais Campbell.
    3) Evan Boehm could handle RG1
    4) Jermaine Gresham is a top tight end.
    5) Switching Veldheer to RT and Humpries to LT would make the offensive line better.
    6) John Bown’s injuries were behind him so that he could be a WR2 or WR3
    7) J.J. Nelson can catch the ball consistently to be a WR2 or WR3
    8) Phil Dawson and long time holder Andy Lee could fix the FG issues.
    9) Tyrann Mathieu regained his speed and quickness to be an impact player again on defense.

  2. By Scott H on Dec 5, 2017 | Reply

    Oh, yeah. Been waiting for this one. But, damn, I haven’t even seen the one for Fitz yet! Too many great Cardinals stories to keep up with all of them!

    I don’t think anyone can over-state the importance of Aeneas Williams to this organization. This team basically came to Phoenix on the decline. Lomax was at the end, Roy Green and JT Smith were at the end, there just wasn’t a whole lot here to sustain whatever initial excitement the team’s arrival may have brought. And there was quite a drought during all of those really lousy seasons between that time and…..what, 1998, when Jake Plummer sparked a 9-7 season and a trip to the playoffs?

    So, what was there in between? Really, not much. But there WAS a truly great player in Aeneas Williams who played his heart out no matter what. He played like it mattered. He always gave you SOMETHING to watch when there was little other reason to bother. HE bridged that gap, from 1991 ALLLLLLLLL the way up to the day of the fateful vote that got the approval for what became UoP stadium and the beginning of a whole new experience for Cardinals fans. The day before that vote? Williams returned a fumble 104 yards for a TD in what went on to be a win against the Redskins.

    Does anyone think that vote ( which was pretty damn close ) may have fallen the other way if not for that win? As close as it was…..I’d say it might have. Which is to say, who know if the Cardinals would even be in Arizona at all right now if it hadn’t been for the effort Williams gave us that day?

    But the fact is, he gave us that effort EVERY day. For me, it took another all-time great like Larry Fitzgerald to finally bump Aeneas Williams down to being my 2nd favorite Cardinals of all time. But that is how RARE players like that are. They are the players that make you feel blessed that they played for your team.

    Can’t wait to see this episode.

    Good lord, has any other team had as many football life story personalities in the last couple years as the Cardinals have had???

  3. By JTDG on Dec 5, 2017 | Reply

    Larry and Aeneas have always been my two favorite cardinals

    I went to the cards game in New Orleans many years ago and happened to run into a whole bunch of his family. Great bunch of people.

  4. By Scott H on Dec 6, 2017 | Reply

    On other topics…..I’m seeing elsewhere that the possibility that Palmer comes back for the last 2 games is there. I’d said previously that I didn’t think that would or should happen. But ya know what? I know one of those games is the game in Seattle and Palmer has never lost in Seattle since he’s been a Cardinal. So, for THAT reason, I would love to see him make it back for that game and add to his legacy. Been a pretty lousy year but any season ends better when you beat the Seahawks!

    Beyond that…..I’m kinda still of the opinion that we need to move on from Carson Palmer. Yeah, perhaps his being here could be good for a young QB that may be drafted. But I would also hope / expect that that young QB would play at some point next year if it reached a point where it seemed like it was time for that. Is Palmer going to want to come back for another year knowing that he is going to be training his replacement – who might be taking over during the season? He is a good guy, but I wonder about that.

    Maybe the best possible ending to this is that Palmer comes back for the last two games, goes out with two wins – one against Seattle – then he calls it a career and the Cardinals move on.

  5. By Hammy on Dec 6, 2017 | Reply

    Growing up in Maryland I got to see the Cardinals play several games per year being in the old NFC East and I remember Aeneas Williams being the guy that opposing quarterbacks would not try to throw near! For a long period of time he was the BEST defensive back in football. Personality kind of like Fitz, very humble and never complained even though he was on numerous losing Cardinal teams.

  6. By clssylssy on Dec 6, 2017 | Reply

    I love A Football Life, excellently done, and it’s always such a treat when one of”my guys” is featured. I usually DVR them to rewatch when I’m feeling bummed or exasperated after a loss. The one on Fitz is my best antidepressant and I expect this one on Aneas will be on the same level. Just being chosen for this series is a huge honor for not only the player but the organization as well.

  7. By CARDS62 on Dec 6, 2017 | Reply

    I too love the football stories and glad that another Cardinal is featured. Fitz and Pat Tillman are my favorites so far.

    I always liked Aeneas, but really did not know much about the man except that he was a great CB and still remember him and Eric Swann and the rest of our D shutting down the Cowboys in that playoff game.

    Man I need to find that game and watch it again and I will definitely watch Aeneas William a football life.

  8. By Scott H on Dec 7, 2017 | Reply

    Patrick –

    Excellent post. Excellent points. I have concerns, myself, based on exactly those same evaluations.

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