Saturday, 25 January 2020

NASCAR: Joe Gibbs still playing a role in Redskins NFL franchise – Beyond the Flag

NASCAR: Joe Gibbs still playing a role in Redskins NFL franchise – Beyond the Flag
05 Jan

NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs is still playing a role in the future of the Washington Redskins NFL franchise, which he coached twice for a combined 16 seasons.

The Washington Redskins 2019 NFL season was pretty much doomed from the get-go after they blew a three-possession lead to NFC East division rivals Philadelphia Eagles in the season opener despite a career performance by veteran but first-year Redskins quarterback Case Keenum.

Indeed, the team fell to 0-5 before firing head coach Jay Gruden and winning the “Tank Bowl” when the also 0-5 Miami Dolphins failed to convert a potential game-winning two-point conversion.

It was assistant head coach and offensive line coach Bill Callahan who was promoted to interim head coach prior to the team’s first victory of the season, but it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that it would not be Callahan at the helm next season, especially with rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins being promoted to starter.

That idea was solidified when the team had to settle for a 3-13 record (a record that many fans were okay with given their ascension to the #2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft), finishing the season on a four-game losing streak.

Enter long-time NASCAR owner Joe Gibbs.

No, he isn’t coming back. But he did play a role in who will be back as an NFL head coach in 2020, and with the Redskins.

Gibbs coached the Redskins twice and is arguably the most important figure in team history considering the fact that he led them to three Super Bowl wins during his first tenure with the organization from 1981 to 1992.

The three-time Coach of the Year became a NASCAR team owner in 1992, and he hasn’t looked back from that standpoint, and it has paid off; he just became a five-time Cup Series champion owner with Kyle Busch in 2019. With that being said, he returned to coach the Redskins from 2004 to 2007 after they went through five different head coaches from 1993 to 2003.

Suffice it to say that he still happens to know a little bit about the franchise.

Much like the 11-year span during Gibbs’s Redskins hiatus, the post-Gibbs years this time around have also left a lot to be desired from a head coaching standpoint. Gruden’s .418 winning percentage over five-plus seasons was the best among the three head coaches who have been with the team since Gibbs left.

Shortly after the 2019 season ended with a blowout loss to division rivals Dallas Cowboys, the Redskins named Ron Rivera their head coach from 2020. Rivera had been fired not even one month earlier after nearly nine seasons with Carolina Panthers.

But that didn’t happen without his reception of advice from Coach Gibbs himself, and it was Rivera who sought out advice from the Gibbs amid the Redskins’ pursuit of his services.

Here is what Rivera had to say about Gibbs and his instrumental role in this process, according to NBC Sports.

“I took it upon myself to reach out to Coach [Joe] Gibbs, who was tremendous. He gave me at least 25-30 minutes on the phone, and we talked and we talked.

“We spent a good afternoon going over a lot of stuff. Coach gave me so much insight, it was amazing. To be able to go into his home and spend time with him, that was cool…Probably one of the coolest things that happened was he started drawing plays up. We started talking about how he did it and how he looked at things.”

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Can Ron Rivera turn the Washington Redskins franchise around? If there is one guy who knows how to bring a Super Bowl trophy to the nation’s capital, it’s Joe Gibbs, so he is certainly starting off on the right foot.



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