Wednesday, September 21, 2005

8 and 10...

…that is Joe Gibbs’s record since his return from retirement.

I can think of a dozen NFL franchises that would love to have had that record in their past eighteen games. Yet, if you listen to the MNF, ESPN, or Fox pre-game and announcing crews, you would think Gibbs has been a dismal failure. If you read the sports sections of major newspapers, you would think Gibbs has ruined his Hall of Fame credentials.

Apparently, most NFL fans get their information from these sources. As of midday, about 100,000 votes were recorded on on the question: “Which 2 – 0 team is the biggest surprise?” The Redskins were number one in the poll with a five-point lead over the Bengals.

What is surprising to me is that several of the experts’ favorites to win or surprise in 2005, including Arizona (6 – 12), Carolina (8 – 10), Minnesota (8 – 10), the Giants (8 - 10), Dallas (7 – 11), and Tampa Bay (7 – 11), all have the same or worse record as the Redskins in their last eighteen games. Three other "favorites" this year--Kansas City, Cincinnati, and New Orleans--are 9 - 9 in their last eighteen. The Redskins' record when examining the last game that they played against any of the experts' favorites in the past two years is 4 - 1. The only loss was against Cincinnati in November 2004, by a score of 17 - 10. I can somewhat understand how the experts overlooked what was essentially a 0.500 team, but I cannot understand it when the experts pick other 0.500 teams to do well and overlook a 0.500 team that has outperformed virtually all of them.

5 and 2…

…that is Joe Gibbs’s record in his last seven games.

In 1981, in Joe’s first year as Redskins coach, he started 0 – 5; was humbled; adapted; and worked his butt off to finish 8 and 8 (that’s 8 and 3 in the last eleven games of 1981). The momentum that the team generated in those last eleven games was built game-by-game as the confidence of the players grew. That momentum led to Gibbs’s first Super Bowl championship the following year. If you do the math you will find that 5 and 2 and 8 and 3 (the streak in 1981) are approximately the same winning percentage. I think it portends good things for the near future of the franchise.

Finally, here is a clue why Gibbs has been so successful. After a dramatic win on the road against an arch rival that the team has lost to 14 times in 15 games, a win that put his team in first place in the division, and a win Gibbs called one of his most memorable in sports (which is saying something when you’re a Hall of Fame coach who won three Super Bowls and two Winston Cups), Gibbs is not satisfied:

"We need to be tough on ourselves," Gibbs said. "[The Dallas game] was a very emotional and great win, but there are a lot of things we have to improve on."


At September 21, 2005 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

get off the Kool Aid


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