Can Gibbs recapture the magic in D.C.?
Best Seat in the House column by Chris Graham
I love Joe Gibbs – really do.
But you know what? Yep. It’s time for Joe to go back to being a full-time NASCAR owner.
I’m not going to be Columnist #3,189,765 to suggest in print that the game has passed Gibbs by and think that I was the first guy who had that brilliant idea.
But the fact remains – the Gibbs magic is gone, if it ever came back for Part Two of the Gibbs Era in D.C.
I can’t tell you that it’s the stuff on-field that is the reason. The game has changed since the 1980s and early 1990s on the field, sure – defensive coordinators generally favor speed over size at all positions, rendering the functions of Hogs obsolete in the current day and age – but the key difference that I see is off the field.
Simply put, the NFL has made it hard for anybody not named the New England Patriots to win consistently from year to year to year – meaning that you’re lucky if you get one shot every three years at making a run at a Super Bowl, again if you’re not named New England.
I think the ‘Skins shot came maybe two or three years ago – and Gibbs let it pass by with his decision to try to reprise Joe Theismann in the form of Mark Brunell, who would’ve been the perfect Theismann-a-like maybe five years ago or so in his heyday in Jacksonville, but then, there was a reason that the Jags let him go when they did.
Nothing against Brunell, personal or otherwise, but had Gibbs had an accurate, dependable quarterback in Brunell’s place, I think things could have worked out to get Gibbs and the ‘Skins deep into the playoffs – and once you’re loaded for a deep playoff run, well, anything can happen.
The other elements from the Gibbs Era, Part One were there – the stout defense, the solid receiver corps, the elite running back.
The moment, unfortunately, has passed – and in the Parity NFL, it can take two or three or even four years to turn things around with the salary cap and free agency and the smaller, tighter draft giving everybody, literally, a shot as long as they play their cards right.
I don’t see Gibbs making it happen this year – there’s just not enough in the passing game to keep defenses honest – and as for next year, well …
OK, it could happen even this year. I don’t see it – but then, who could’ve seen Gibbs losing his first five games as a head coach and then doing what he did the first time through?
I’ll just say that I didn’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen back then, and I’m sure as heck not doing so now.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.