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Joe Gibbs: Career of a Champion
Joe Gibbs, the head coach of the Washington Redskins who captured three Super Bowl victories in 12 years, was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Jan. 26. It marked the highest honor in his profession. Michael Wilbon offers a tribute to Gibbs and we provide a special look at Gibbs's career, beginning the day he was hired as the Redskins' coach.
'His Abilities Match His Ambitions'
After a 3½-hour meeting with Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke and General Manager Bobby Beathard, San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Gibbs was hired as the Redskins coach in 1981. Gibbs, 40, replaced Jack Pardee, fired by Cooke eight days earlier. Dave Kindred tracks Gibbs's career from San Diego State to the Redskins.
Building a Team of Super Bowl Heroes
After an 0-5 start in his first season, Gibbs and the Redskins won their first game Oct. 11, 1981, beating the Chicago Bears, 24-7. The next season, Gibbs and Cooke celebrated their first Super Bowl win with a call from President Reagan (pictured). A year later, the team's bid for a repeat title was shattered when the Los Angeles Raiders won, 38-9, in Super Bowl XVIII. They returned to the Super Bowl in 1987, when they routed the Denver Broncos. Gibbs's final Super Bowl win came after the 1991 season, when the Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills, 37-24.
Rumors of Burnout
In 1987, going into his 100th game with the Redskins, there were whispers that Gibbs was showing all the symptoms of burnout, yet Gibbs and Cooke forged a friendship and a winning tradition. While Gibbs kept his private life out of the news, he opened up in 1991, detailing his troubles before joining the Redskins. The year before, he had refused to entertain any questions about his future in coaching. Even in 1993, after four Super Bowls, Gibbs maintained a strong work ethic and humble ways.
'He Put Everything He Had Into It'
In an emotional news conference in 1993, (pictured), Gibbs cited a need to spend more time with family and resigned as head coach of the Redskins. He was succeeded by his assistant, Richie Petitbon. Read the Washington Post articles and columns following Gibbs's resignation.
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