I distinctly recall the enthusiasm and optimism that surrounded the Washington Redskins in late July of 2004. It was tangible. They had just begun their first training camp since Joe Gibbs had returned as their head coach. The team's practice facility near Dulles Airport was jammed with fans on the first day of camp, and it mostly had to do with Gibbs.
He was all but pronounced as the team's savior. It was the first move that team owner Dan Snyder made that was not only not questioned, but hailed as pure genius. He brought back the architect for the team's three Super Bowl titles. Happy days were here.
Now it's 2007, the 'Skins have been to the playoffs once in Gibbs' tenure. He is 26-31 since he left NASCAR to coach the Redskins. The 'Skins will drop to 5-5 if they lose on Sunday at Texas Stadium. This would be like if Tom Landry had retired, then came back and things didn't go so well in his second time around. Gibbs is that big in the D.C. sports scene. The members of the greater D.C. sports media do not want to cut this guy to shreds because they remember the good ole days when his teams rolled at RFK. But RFK is no longer the home to the 'Skins, then-owner Jack Kent Cooke has passed, and the wrong kind of numbers are beginning to pile up on Coach Gibbs.
Venerable Washington Post sports columnist Thomas Boswell took a shot at Gibbs, and there may be a lot more to come if things don't turn around in D.C.
- Mac Engel