Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs was at Redskins Park today for the Kick-Off Breakfast for his Youth For Tomorrow organization; when he was done, he and Mike Shanahan came out and briefly addressed the media.
Gibbs began the talk by announcing that college football coaching legend Lou Holtz would be speaking at the Youth For Tomorrow Burgundy and Gold Banquet coming up in April. He thanked Coach Shanahan for speaking at today’s breakfast, and Redskins owners Daniel Snyder and Dwight Schar for supporting Youth For Tomorrow.
And he reiterated — as he always does — just how big of a Redskins fan he is these days. “We’re excited about this year,” he said, “and I’m just excited about being here, being around Redskin Park. I get jacked up when I get around here.”
Then, just before turning the mic over to Shanahan, he dropped this bombshell on the media throng. “I’m still coaching,” he exclaimed. “I’m coaching my eleven year old grandson, okay?”
But don’t think that Joe Gibbs — he of the three Super Bowl rings and the bust in the Hall of Fame — is now the head coach of a Pop Warner football team. Not at all.
“The first thing that happened to me was I got out there with them,” he explained. “My son J.D.’s the head coach, so he told me, ‘You’re the assistant coach.’ And I said, ‘Okay.’”
That’s right: he’s not even the head coach. He’s an assistant coach. A multiple-Super-Bowl-winning, all-time-great, Hall of Fame Pop Warner assistant coach.
So I get out there and I’ve got these kids all looking at me like this. They’re all over the place, picking their nose, they’re looking at everything. They don’t know who I am, they don’t care who I am.
Not that the team particularly cared about his pedigree. “I get out there and I said, ‘Okay.’ I said, ‘Everybody get in your stance and take your proper split here.’ And they all looked at me and went” — he made a befuddled face — “and I went, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m used to messing up thirty year-olds, not these guys.’”
Then he told this story:
“So the first thing that happens in the scrimmage, my grandson sprints out to his left — playing quarterback — he throws back across the middle, and when he throws he gets drilled right in the ribcage. So now he’s on the ground, tryin’ to get his breath, his dad walks over to him, J.D., and he looks up and he goes, ‘Is that legal?’
“And J.D. goes, ‘I’m afraid it is. You’re gonna get killed in football.’”
Yes. And after years of getting killed, if you’re very, very lucky, you’ll become a coach. At which point you’ll grind yourself with insane hours, working around the clock in the desperate hope that you can outscheme some other very hard-working men. And if you’re very good, and very lucky, and surround yourself with very talented people, maybe you can win a championship or three. And after that, after you become the savior of an entire franchise and a hero to a generation of football fans, you get to retire and become an assistant Pop Warner coach for a bunch of kids who don’t recognize you.
And believe it or not, that’s not even the biggest injustice. Assistant Coach Joe Gibbs had a reputation — back at his old gig, I mean — as an offensive guru. So you’d think he would at least be allowed to coach up the quarterbacks as a youth football assistant. But you would be very wrong about that.
All-time great quarterbacks coach Jerry Rhome, Gibbs told the media today, “I always thought was the best at working with quarterbacks, so J.D., my son, brought him in to work with [grandson] Jackson. So we’re bringing in Jerry to work with Jackson,” Gibbs asked, his voice rising with disbelief, “What am I, chopped liver?”
So that’s where Joe Gibbs is coaching now.
Meanwhile, if you’re the sort of person who’s more interested in what Coach Shanahan had to say about the signings of Larry Johnson and Rex Grossman and a few other notes about free agency, I heartily recommend Gary Fitzgerald’s piece over on Redskins.com, which has all of that.
Tags: Joe Gibbs, mike shanahan, youth for tomorrow
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