Desmond played professional football in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins (1992–1994), Jacksonville Jaguars (1995), Green Bay Packers (1996, 1999), Oakland Raiders (1997–1998) and Detroit Lions (1999–2002). Howard was voted the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXI and is the first and only special teams player to win the award. He is one of only four players to win both the Heisman Trophy and Super Bowl MVP; Roger Staubach, Jim Plunkett, and Marcus Allen are the others.
Desmond Howard earned his place in Super Bowl lore on Jan. 26, 1997, when he returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown (still a Super Bowl record). It was an electrifying play, so deflating to the Patriots that they just couldn't muster another rally. The Packers went on to win the Super Bowl 35-21 in the New Orleans Superdome.