- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 21, 2006

We have seen and heard Joe Gibbs speak many times over the nearly three seasons since his return to the Washington Redskins and in his years before that with the club and in NASCAR.

Rarely, however, do we get any insight into the man. He is so careful, so guarded — particularly this season.

But the Internet has changed everything since Gibbs’ first tenure with the franchise. Fans these days are much more demanding for information about the team and about its coach, this Washington icon.

The Internet appears to have changed Joe Gibbs, as well. This private person has his own Web site, (joegibbsonline.com) that he devotes to religious and spiritual themes relating to his experiences as coach of the Redskins.

“Welcome to my personal Web site,” Gibbs wrote in the introduction. “I hope it is an encouragement to you. I have included several items that I think you will find very helpful for your personal life. Come back weekly as we will continually add to our content.”

Gibbs offers what he calls “weekly spiritual game plans” in which he builds life lessons through his own personal, professional and religious experience.

“I want to thank y’all for joining me. And I want to invite you to take a little spiritual journey through the upcoming football season,” Gibbs said in his first entry, “The Game of Life” on Aug. 10. “I think yours may be a little calmer than mine.”

Gibbs delivers his talk in front of a camera each week throughout the season, and the video, audio and transcribed text are posted on his Web site. Many of his talks reference the troubles suffered by the Redskins this season.

“We’re now 4-9, and you can imagine a football coach in Washington, D.C., at 4-9. It’s a big deal,” Gibbs said in an entry called “Looking Through the Mountain” filed before the Redskins upset the Saints on Sunday. “I’ve got to tell you, you’re getting called a lot of nasty names here.”

In the Nov. 30 entry, “The Path to Success in Every Trial,” Gibbs said, “I was thinking a lot about the fact that when you’re 4-7 in football in a town where it’s super important, the amazing thing happens: There’s nobody just saying, hey, well we just didn’t play good this week. There’s going to be actually personal things that are written and said.

“And to be quite truthful, that’s part of my struggle as I kind of share with you. I’m going through an occupational struggle. I would have to say that many of you probably listening to me are going through things much more serious than this. But I can honestly say to you, this is a trial.”

Gibbs said he started the site to serve as something of lifeline to the outside world during football season.

“What prompted it was … when I start the football season, I spend about 41/2 months away from everyone, my wife and kids,” Gibbs said yesterday. “It’s really like being in prison. I’m here all the time, and I pretty much lose contact with everybody. … It is like you are on an island all by yourself, and it’s football all day long, seven days a week.

“Before the season, I was thinking, what can I do to stay in contact with people and share some of the things that I go through during the season and sort of come across your radar screen? Someone suggested to me the Internet — there are a lot of things you could do there. I thought about it and decided to give it a try.”

Some of the entries are intensely personal.

Story Continues →