Joe Gibbs knows a thing or two about NFL lockouts.
Twice the legendary coach won Super Bowls during shortened seasons due to labor strife between the owners and players. He has spoken out against the current lockout of the players, saying the situation could have major detrimental effects on the most popular sport in the country.
He may not like it now, but Gibbs has certainly benefitted in the past from labor strife, so it’s no wonder current New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has reached out to the current NASCAR team owner for advice.
“He said take this time to get better,” Ryan said to the New York Post about his conversation with Gibbs. “Take time to gain an advantage on your opponents and whatever you think that is. He gave me some ideas and I followed them to a tee.”
The 1982 season was cut to just nine games and the Redskins took advantage of the revised 16 team playoff schedule. Winning six of the final seven games, the Redskins ended up cruising through the playoffs and a 27-17 Super Bowl win over the Miami Dolphins.
The 1987 was shortened by just one game, though weeks 4-6 were played by replacement players. Still, Doug Williams made a name for himself in franchise lore with his incredible demolition of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.
Two labor strife situations, two Super Bowls for Gibb’s Redskins. Whether Gibbs really had an advantage in strategizing for shortened seasons is irrelevant to the Redskins for next season since Mike Shanahan is the coach now. What’s important is how the players are able to come back to prepare and focus on the season is what really matters.
The players have held three workouts at area high schools so far, with 41 players showing up to prove their dedication. Unfortunately, these workouts amount to little more than glorified scrimmages. And that’s being generous to the word glorified.
The workouts signify little more than player unity during the lockout. There are no coaches to rectify mistakes, no cameras to film the practice which the players could look at later, and no true direction for what to expect. We still don’t know whether we will see NFL games this fall, a depressing fact to deal with.
Maybe the Redskins had the best teams in the shortened 1982 and 1987 seasons, maybe they just got lucky. Maybe off-season workouts gave Gibb’s teams a leg up on the competition, maybe this years players-only workouts will too.
Nevertheless, we won’t know anything about real football until the lockout ends and the players are able to report to the training facilities in preparation of the new NFL season. Until then, good luck dealing with the grueling hours of closed door meetings and players-only workouts.