So Gibbs and Beathard flew to New York, where Cooke had set up shop in a suite at the Waldorf-Astoria. When Gibbs arrived, Cooke was reading an article by Dave Kindred, a Washington Post columnist.
"I think he had floated my name out there to see what everybody was going to say: Would the Redskins be criticized for taking this guy, a nobody?" Gibbs said. "This article had talked about me being a genius, and I remember him dropping the paper and telling me, `Do you know there have only been two geniuses in the world?'
"I had to agree with him that they weren't in football. I think he mentioned Michael- angelo and somebody else. But I'll tell you they weren't offensive coordinators. Then he corrected everything I said. He said, `I don't think you meant what you said,' and I'm going, 'Geeezzz.'
"But that night, we hashed everything out. I had a legal tablet and I had everything listed on there. Who would be the film guy and a budget for that. Meals for the players I didn't want them going out at lunch. I had eight assistant coaches listed. I had everything listed, from practice equipment to fields. He said, `I'll get that.' `We'll get that.' `We'll get all the coaches.' I'm, like, there's no way. But we went and got all of them. We went through the whole list that night."
Although Cooke had decided to hire Gibbs, he refused to negotiate with Gibbs' attorney, Marvin Demoff. "The only lawyers Cooke liked were his own, and then only marginally," Demoff said in 1997.
In "negotiating" directly with Gibbs, Cooke told the coach that he wanted him to accept a three-year contract, at about $100,000 a season, with an option for Cooke to extend it for five more years. "It was the most ridiculous thing in the world," Gibbs said.
If Gibbs didn't work out after a couple of seasons, Cooke could fire him without owing him much money. If Gibbs turned out to be a great coach, Cooke could keep him under contract five more years at a relatively low NFL salary.
"It was the first time I ever got upset with him," Gibbs recalled. " I said, `You want me to put my financial future and my family's financial future in your hands?' He said, `That's right.' I said, `I'm going to do it but it's on you if this thing gets out of hand,'" alluding to the potential for a nasty disagreement if Gibbs were successful, deserved a big raise and didn't get one.