By Ben Sullivan
You gotta to hand it to Ron Rivera:
Before he got down to brass tacks about the Redskins head coaching job, he did his homework:
He called former coach Joe Gibbs for some input.
“I took it upon myself to reach out to coach Gibbs, who was tremendous,” Rivera told Larry Michael, the voice of the Redskins. “He gave me at least 25-30 minutes on the phone, and we talked and we talked.”
Then after he met with Snyder, he visited Gibbs at home (the NASCAR team owner lives near Charlotte) for a longer chat.
“We spent a good afternoon going over a lot of stuff. Coach gave me so much insight, it was amazing,” Rivera said. “To be able to go into his home and spend time with him, that was cool. . . . Probably one of the coolest things that happened was he started drawing plays up. We started talking about how he did it and how he looked at things.”
Gibbs won three Super Bowl titles there, under the ownership of Jack Kent Cooke. After Snyder bought the team in 1999, things didn’t go nearly as well, and he eventually brought Gibbs out of retirement.
In four seasons, the Hall of Famer (both Pro Football and NASCAR) went 30-34 and went to the playoffs twice with his old team, which isn’t great but still better than Snyder’s 142-193-1 record (.423) in 21 seasons.
Gibbs also led them to their last playoff win, in 2005. In the years since, it’s been hard to find reason to think they’d ever get back to the Super Bowl level, or even sustained competence.
But Rivera apparently came away from his conversations with Gibbs and Snyder thinking he has a chance.