Former Redskins players said that Gibbs occasionally revealed hints of animosity toward the Cowboys or former Philadelphia Eagles coach Buddy Ryan. But they said Gibbs never privately sniped at Parcells or brought up his name before games against the Giants. "There was never anything said off the cuff," said former Redskins offensive lineman Mark May. "That was strange because you'd get a little bit out of Joe when it came to Buddy Ryan or the Cowboys."
In chance encounters, Gibbs and Parcells are very amiable toward one another. They share small talk during league's meetings each spring. Yet exchanges between the coaches were so rare that former assistants couldn't recall one vivid moment. The memories ranged from perfunctory handshakes at the end of games to nods beforehand if one coach came in the other's sight.
Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs.
(Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
"There weren't any flippant exchanges or many moments of perfect sincerity like 'Good luck, we wish you the best," Washington quarterbacks coach Jack Burns said. "It was very competitive."
Bubba Tyer, the Redskins' trainer for more than three decades, said, "It was more of a, one nods, the other nods, let's get on with the battle."
The most extensive interaction between the two occurred during a golf outing in 1999, Parcells's final season as Jets coach. The conversation was wide-ranging, with the biggest topic about diet habits. "I enjoyed it. It was good," Gibbs recalled last week. "I didn't think we had any social ties or anything. We did talk a lot about [diets] at the time. I think he had had a heart thing, and we kind of chatted about different things."
Parcells said of the outing, "We had fun."
Gibbs and Parcells have not communicated since the 11-word fax. They don't plan on it -- the silence of enemies renewing their great rivalry. The latest version is perhaps even more intense.
"I'm very happy that he's back in football," Parcells said. "I hope he's happy doing it, and I really mean that. I know it means increased competition. It's always meant that."