"I remember sitting on a plane and saying to the Lord, `You know what I want. I've been trying to do this on my own. I'm going to turn this over to you. If you want me to be a head coach, I'll put it in your hands.' Two weeks after that prayer, Ray Perkins, who had the offensive coordinator job in San Diego, went to the Giants. Don Coryell called me in the next day and said, `Do you want to be the offensive coordinator here?' Two years later, I was the head coach of the Washington Redskins."
At the Chargers, Coryell and Gibbs made Air Coryell part of the football lexicon. With an 11-5 record in 1980, they went to the AFC title game, but they lost to Oakland. After that game, Gibbs, his wife Pat and their sons, J.D. and Coy, went out for a pizza. "When I got home, Bobby was on the phone, saying, `Mr. Cooke wants to meet with you tomorrow night,' " Gibbs said.
It was no surprise. Pardee had been fired six days earlier, and Beathard had quickly flown to California. Beathard was not supposed to talk to Gibbs until the Chargers' season ended, but he didn't need a formal interview to get word to Gibbs. The Washington Post had interviewed Gibbs the week before the Oakland game and already had reported that he might be the next Redskins head coach.