My friend Dennis emailed me yesterday to find out my reaction to Joe Gibbs's resignation as head coach of the Redskins. While I wanted to wait until the 3PM press conference to weigh in, now that I've read and heard all about it, here is my reaction.
Good for him.
Don't get me wrong, as someone who has been a fan of the Redskins for a quarter of a century now, the very idea of having Joe Gibbs back for another year would have kept me on cloud nine until September. However the man has a family, and his family needs him, particularly his 3 year old grandson who is fighting leukemia. As a man who also has a family, I completely understand what it means to put them first. It's what you do. It's part of the responsibility you take on when you decide to have kids. How can you fault anyone for making changes to their career so that they can be there for their family, much less a 67 year old man who was in a job that occupied, literally, 21 hours of his day?
It's interesting, living here in Atlanta, and being exposed to the Falcons, how they try to pin their failures this year on the "tragedy" of having their star player put in jail for basically being a cruel idiot. They know nothing about tragedy. This is not a contest, to see which team had the worst year, however there is no comparison between having Vick put in jail and Sean Taylor's untimely death. None whatsoever. The Redskins experienced tragedy like no other team has ever had to face, and what did our coach do? He gathered his staff and his team around himself and he brought them all through it. What did the Falcons coach do? He ran away, in the middle of the night no less, to take a job elsewhere, just a few hours after saying that he was here to stay. Now, obviously, it's not the fault of the Falcons that their ex-head coach was a scumbag, but the fact that they signed the guy in the first place, despite his penchant for screwing over his employers, in my opinion, speaks to the character of the organization.
It will be interesting to see who the Redskins pick as the new coach. Obviously, my choice would be someone who is already in the organization, so that we can continue to build on the bonds that formed this year. Whoever they decide to interview, I hope Snyder takes his time rather than rushing to make a decision. He said in yesterday's press conference that Gibbs taught him patience, so hopefully we'll see some.
While we're on the subject of hopes, I hope that Joe's grandson comes out of this fight OK, and gets to have a normal and happy childhood. I hope that the team sees that the bonds they formed this year can exist off the field and serve as a testament to Sean Taylor's memory. I hope that Joe is content with his decision, and still comes around to provide advice and support as needed. Growing up, there were plenty of Redskins to be excited about, guys like Theismann, Riggins, Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Art Monk, Doug Williams, Darrell Green, Dexter Manley and Ernest Byner to name a few. For me though, my favorite Redskin has always been Joe Gibbs, and I don't see that changing any time soon.
Thanks for everything Joe. Best of luck and please don't be a stranger.