Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Cup of Stale Joe

He is a legend in Washington like no other sports figure since, perhaps, Walter Johnson, who last competed in the nation’s capital in 1927. But Joe Gibbs, who brought three Super Bowl championships to a city starved of sports glory, made a huge mistake four years ago returning as coach of the Redskins – a team whose name is as retrogressive at Gibbs’ own management of a game that passed him by years ago.

The Redskins will be attending a funeral tomorrow for their murdered teammate Sean Taylor. Today they were pallbearers at what should be the funeral of Gibbs miserable coaching return.

For those who don’t follow the NFL, Gibbs is a wizened “genius” of a complicated game who in 12 years of coaching won three titles with three different quarterbacks, working so hard at it he slept in his office during the week, winning two-thirds of his games before decamping to ownership of a NASCAR racing team bearing his name.

He was lured back by a short snot-nosed dotcom billionaire, Daniel Snyder, who was a childhood devotee of the early Gibbs teams and a high school nerd no one liked. Which is why he bought the team as his playtoy, ran it into the ground with horrendous coach and player hiring and then sought redemption in Gibbs.

Well, Gibbs has been a disaster, and only in recent weeks have people begun to speak ill in public of this icon. Since his return, he failed to understand how football strategy had changed during his 12 years in NASCAR, he used the wrong players (insisting on starting an over-the-hill quarterback simply because he was a born-again Christian), failed repeatedly at game-day management of the clock and time-outs, stuck with a 1950s offense until finally dragged a few weeks ago into the 21st century.

Today, the Redskins lost a game they should have easily won because Joe Gibbs, a Hall of Fame coach, didn’t know the basic rules of the game. Leading by two points, he called a last second time out to “freeze” the opposing kicker’s attempt at a long field goal. Then, he called a second time out, which is against the rules, incurring an “unsportsmanlike conduct” penalty of 15 yards, which made it easy for the kicker to take a 50 percent chance of success and make it a 100 percent chance. The result is that the Redskins will not make the playoffs.

The best that can be said about the man is that he is demented, either by age or the mental strain of his best player being murdered. He is also president of the club, and while he has any executive function left – corporately or neurologically – he should fire himself.

A tackling dummy could be as good a coach. I nominate dummy Danny Snyder for both jobs.


  1. Anonymous10:33 PM

    In the time-honored tradition of listening to the local broadcast of the game on the radio, while watching the Skins of TV with the sound turned off, I heard the following broadcast during the last seconds of the game:

    The Skins called a time-out to try to "ice" the Bills' kicker. Then, when the time-out ended, Sam Huff suggested that Gibbs call a second time-out to ice the kicker again. Sonny Jurgensen immediately responded that the Skins could not do that because the rules forbid such consecutvie time-outs.

    Gibbs then called the time-out, and was immediately assessed a penalty, turning the field goal into a chip shot.

    Perhaps instead of having head-phones to the coaches in the box, Gibbs should just be hooked into the local radio broadcast.

  2. I might listen to the radio broadcast if I could find one of Dumb Danny's radio stations that has enough power to be heard. Also, what about this 9-second delay I read about?

    Anyway, the Huff anecdote is another example of his impending dementia, as chronicled in the City Paper recently.