For an unknown reason, NFL history has robbed the Redskins dynasty of the 1980s and early 90s of the recognition it deserves. But the real question is, why?
NFL fans remember the Packers championship teams of the 60s, the Steelers of the 70s, the 49ers of the 80s, the Cowboys of the 90s, and the Patriots of the present day. But no one remembers the Joe Gibbs-led Redskins.
From 1982 to 1991, the Redskins appeared in four Super Bowls and won three of those games, and in each game, they won with a different starting quarterback and a different starting running back.
Not content with one of the most successful coaching careers in NFL history, Gibbs created his Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR team in 1992. The team has won three Sprint Cup championships since 2000 with stud drivers like Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart.
At this Sunday’s Daytona 500, the Joe Gibbs Racing Crispy M&M’S #18 car will return to the track after a 10-year absence, piloted by Kyle Busch.
We spoke to Coach Gibbs about flourishing in both sports, the upcoming Daytona 500, his relationship with Jack Kent Cooke, and why he thinks his success with the Redskins has been largely ignored. You can listen to the interview via the audio player or read the full transcript below.
Let’s talk about Crispy M&M’S making their return to the track after a 10-year hiatus, kind of like you making your return to the Skins the second time.
Just about the same; I was 11 years, Crispy’s been out 10 years. We’re excited to have them back. And on Sunday’s Daytona 500, every time that Toyota Camry comes off the corner with Kyle Busch driving it, it’s going to be bright green and it’s gonna represent the return of Crispy. So we’re excited about that and I’m excited to be part of the M&M’S team.
You’re an absolute titan in two of the biggest sports in North America, in the NFL and NASCAR. It’s almost like you’ve lived two different lives, really. What’s it been like for you?
I realize I’m one of the most fortunate people in the world. Because rarely does anybody get to have a dream as an occupation, and I’ve had two of them. It’s a thrill for me. I know how fortunate I am and I appreciate being a part of two great sports.
And what I’ve found, is they are very similar, football and racing. Amazingly, they’re almost exactly the same because it’s what? It’s people. It’s picking people, putting them on a team and getting them to sacrifice their individual goals for the goals of the team. It’s teamwork. And that’s a big part of life. I’m thrilled to be a part of the M&M’S team and it’s a thrill for us to race in a place like the Daytona 500 this Sunday.
Can you talk about (former Redskins and Lakers owner) Jack Kent Cooke and what it was like to work with him?
Mr. Cooke I think was a great owner, and for this reason: Many times he had a strong opinion. He’d stick that finger out and say, “You need to do this.” But what he always said before I left the meeting was, “But it’s gotta be your decision; you decide.” Many times, if I did something and it turned out to be he was correct, he’d definitely let me hear about it. But Mr. Cooke always said to me, “It’s gotta be your decision; you make the decision.”
The other thing about Mr. Cooke, he was always at his best when things were at their worst. He would come in, he would visit me, I figured he was going to be upset when we’d be going through a bad streak of losses and he would say to me, “Hey Joe, we’re going up and we’re going down together.” He had a favorite saying: “I’m going to lay down and bleed a while, and then we’re gonna get up and fight again.” He was special, I think, for me, just like Dan Snyder was the second go-around for me. I had two great owners.