Despite being an analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football and hosting his own television show each spring with NFL hopefuls, each telecasted to millions, it would have been understandable if Jon Gruden was nervous when he spoke to those in attendance at the 25th annual Burgundy and Gold Banquet. Joe Gibbs, three-time Super Bowl winner and founder and chairman of Youth For Tomorrow, accepted his Lifetime Achievement award just moments before he took center stage.
Big shoes to fill, right?
But he had no choke-ups. With former colleagues sitting just feet from the podium and his brother Jay, head coach of the Washington Redskins, looking on the former NFL coach was at ease.
And he let everyone know that he’s loves the burgundy and gold.
His intro was just spectacular. Turn up the volume, Redskins fans.
“I think we have something in common tonight—we all love the Washington Redskins, don’t we? Yes? Alright. My brother is the head football coach, how can I not love the Redskins? One of my best friends, Bruce Allen, is the general manager. Let’s hear it for Bruce. Hey, I grew up with Doug Williams. Let’s hear it for Doug. I mean when Joe Gibbs and Doug Williams left Tampa, a lot of people don’t know, Gibbs was the offensive coordinator of the Buccaneers in 1978, when [they] left Tampa we didn’t make a first down for nine years. Great to see you, Doug. Robert Griffin III, he was on my QB Camp show, Colt McCoy, had him as well [and Kirk] Cousins. Had them all. I’m a big Redskins fan, got a lot in common with you. Many of the coaches on this staff—[defensive backs coach] Raheem Morris, [offensive coordinator] Sean McVay, [director of football operations] Paul Kelly, [running backs coach] Randy Jordan, [wide receivers coach] Ike Hilliard—they were all on my staff. Let’s give the Redskins a hand. Let’s go Washington!
He also wanted to give his own testimony of the impact Gibbs has had and continues to have on his life and on those across the Washington, D.C. area.
“Joe Gibbs—let’s give him a hand one more time. This is a 215-acre facility. This is a residence for lost kids. They give them education, they give them counseling, and they don’t just give them education and counseling, they give them hall of fame coaching and care. As you think about our honoree tonight, Joe Gibbs, people associate him as a head coach of the Redskins; many people know he’s a NASCAR champion, but I associate coach Gibbs as one of the great offensive coaches in my lifetime. I used to steal the Washington Redskins’ beta tape in the early 1990’s as a younger receiver coach, and tried to steal his ideas. I didn’t do very well with that, by the way. But I got out of coaching and I got into broadcasting—it’s hard to make a first down in football, it’s hard to win a division, it’s hard to win a Super Bowl let alone three.
“Again, I am just mesmerized by your accomplishments and I congratulate you, coach. I love football and I love global franchises like the Redskins and I love football fans and I really love what coach Gibbs stands for. If I can be half of the man that he is, I’ll be very proud.”
Tags: bruce allen, Ike Hilliard, Jay Gruden, Jon Gruden, paul kelly, randy jordan, sean mcvay
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