The two most chaotic NFL seasons in living memory were 1982 and 1987, when games were canceled because the players went on strike. Both of those seasons ended with Joe Gibbs bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Washington.
Gibbs clearly knows something about coaching under unpredictable and challenging circumstances, and so the Bills’ coaching staff did something smart: They reached out to Gibbs to pick his brain about how to coach a team in unusual times.
Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said today that Gibbs joined the coaching staff on a Zoom meeting and shared advice on how to approach this season. Via Sal Capaccio of WGR 550, Gibbs told the Bills’ coaches to embrace this year as an opportunity, as the teams that are the most prepared for how to handle it will win.
The 2020 season isn’t exactly like 1982 or 1987, but they’re similar in that there’s a great deal of unpredictability because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there’s the possibility of canceled games, and of an outbreak forcing a team to suddenly bring in a lot of new players — as Gibbs had to do in 1987, when he coached a team of replacement players to a win over a Cowboys team that was loaded with stars who crossed the picket line. Gibbs found a way to win during tough times. The Bills were wise to ask for his insight.