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Why Joe Gibbs Will Be Successful

By Mark Solway | January 13th, 2004

Well we’ve all heard just about every opinion there could possibly be on whether or not Joe Gibbs can be successful in his second stint in the National Football League. He can, and not only can he, he will. And here’s why.

Joe Gibbs was a man that was ahead of his time. He was a man that succeeded despite defying conventionality. He was a man that won despite anything you threw at him. The statistic about winning the Super Bowl three times with three different quarterbacks is a telling one indeed. It speaks to the versatility that he possessed.

And in the modern-day NFL, a coach needs to be versatile. Detractors point to the salary cap and free agency and to other problems that stand before the coach, a coach who has not seen a sideline since Dubya’s dad was the head honcho around here. But they’re pointing to the very areas that will ensure his success. So let me get this straight… you can’t have success without mastering the complicated salary cap, getting more out of your players is more important than ever, and the game itself is more complicated now.

Golly, they all sound like things that Mr. Gibbs will struggle with, don’t they?

The most important aspect of the cap is being able to find, and harvest, ‘cheap’ talent, and to counterbalance that with some superstar mammoth contracts. It’s not bad to sign players to huge contracts, but you have to know that they will last the term of their contract, or you will pay the price in pro rated salary cap hit when you have to pay off the signing bonus on an early departure. (Call this the Sanders factor.) The media get caught up in the overall size of contracts, and that’s why the front office and agents design them that way. But signing bonus is the only guaranteed money and so that number, divided by the term of the contract, is the only thing that really matters about a contract. How much will it cost to CUT a guy?

The family environment that Gibbs creates might be the only way to keep a talent base for an extended time, and it might be the only thing that the NFL hasn’t tried yet. Critics say that you can’t keep teams together any more because free agency splits them up. Well maybe someone should try looking after their family better, before they go pointing to the almighty dollar as the only factor. Character players often take a lower salary for the sake of their team, and with parity as it is, any team with a few ‘good-valued’ contracts stands a good chance of winning the salary cap battle. That seems to lend itself to the family environment that Gibbs will create.

Gibbs will not only create a team environment, but HIS excellence ensures excellence around him. This will be seen in the quality of the coaching staff. Not only will Gibbs insist on having the best position coaches that you can get, Snyder will be happy to pay for them. And they don’t count against the cap. Due to the grandeur of Gibbs’ return, and his deserved reputation, the coaching list assembled will be impressive, as we have already witnessed in the positions already filled. Want evidence of how important raw coaching is in the NFL? Look at Bill Belichek and the job that he and his staff have done with the roster that they have been forced to field. Apart from the stigma [notoriety or reputation?] that a Joe Bugel brings when running an offensive line through its paces, there is the expertise that created that stigma [notoriety or reputation?] in the first place. Good coaching guarantees that you get the most out of the talent that you have.

And finally Mr. Gibbs, you can’t succeed because the game is more complicated.


The key to Joe Gibbs’ success ‘football-wise’ the first time around was his preparation and his ability to adjust. Nearly to a fault, his need to gain a small upper hand through planning kept him at the bottom of a pile of work through the week, but on top on Sundays. Much of Gibbs’ reputation as a coaching legend comes from his ability to make adjustments through the game that factor in its outcome. Adjustments facilitated by preparation. More of Gibbs’ reputation comes from his ability to single-handedly affect the outcome of a football game. Again, because of preparation.

The more complicated you make it, the harder Joe will have it.

So cast aspersions Gibbs’ way all you like, and if there are any more things that will lead to his ‘sure’ failure, maybe they are actually his keys to success, too. Because it doesn’t matter how different anything is in the modern day, one thing will remain the same for Joe Gibbs: success is not an option. No matter what it takes.

— Boss Hog

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Mark Solway

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