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Bill Parcells’ Biggest Roadblock–Joe Gibbs

Posted by Stephen Czarda on August 4, 2013 – 12:00 pm

(AP Image)

(AP Image)

A picture’s worth a thousand words, or in this case a few thousand.

Legendary Washington Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs was a master at planning for his opponents, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that he’s considered one of 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Bill Parcells’ biggest thorns.

Peter King recently wrote a fantastic article well worth the read on his new startup website, The MMQB, highlighting Parcells’ career before his enshrinement yesterday.

It also gives a glimpse at the rivalry the two coaches had in the late 1980’s.

Entering the 1988 season, the Redskins-Giants rivalry reached an all-time high as the Redskins’ 42-10 victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXII meant that the last two Lombardi Trophies resided in the NFC East.

Both Parcells (hired in 1983) and Gibbs (hired in 1980) hated losing, especially when it came at the hands of the other.

As seen in recent seasons with Stephen Bowen, Barry Cofield and even the trade that brought Donovan McNabb to town, players relocate within the division on a regular basis. To ensure that the enemy wouldn’t get word of his intel, Gibbs color coordinated his game plans so that any player who had been let go by the team wouldn’t give away tips on his strategy.

As former offensive coordinator Dan Henning said, “Blue Day” was for Parcells’ Giants.

“Blue Day. Joe had a game plan for the first three teams of the year. And he would label them because he didn’t want to have a player who got cut be able to say, ‘This is the Giants’ game plan.’ So Joe would color-code the game plans to practice as we would go through the offseason and never say which teams they were for, but the blue one, of course, was for the Giants.”

While the game plan apparently backfired on Gibbs during the 1988 season opener (it called for a heavy dosage of stopping Lawrence Taylor before he was suspended prior to the game) it’s a perfect example of the chess matches the two Hall of Famers used to embark in.

At the end of the day though, Gibbs still has the last laugh.


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