ST. PAUL, Minn. — Hall of Fame former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs endorsed John McCain on the last night of the Republican convention, predicting that electing the Republican would spark a return to “God’s word” and a “spiritual revival.”
Mr. Gibbs, 67, an outspoken Christian, spoke to the partisan crowd about leadership that seeks guidance from God.
“God is our head coach,” he said. “The right game plan leads to what? Success. [A] bad game plan, falling away from Gods word, leads to disaster.”
Mr. Gibbs said he hoped for a political leader who, when making decisions, asked, “I wonder what God would think about this?”
The 72-year old Mr. McCain has been notoriously tight-lipped about his own religious faith. The southern Baptist views his faith as a private matter, but has been urged by supporters to speak more openly about it.
Mr. Gibbs, a three-time Super Bowl winner, diverted from prepared remarks that spoke about the role of faith in suffering and adversity, a speech that originally focused on Mr. McCain’s more than six years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
The football coach, who has gone on to manage a champion NASCAR racing team, did not talk about Mr. McCain’s own faith.
But he did say that electing Mr. McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, would cause “a return to God’s word that will lead America to a spiritual revival so that God can truly bless America.”
Thursday night was intended to introduce Mr. McCain to the country, culminating with his speech accepting the Republican nomination for president.
But it was unlikely that many football fans were watching.
As Mr. Gibbs spoke, the Redskins were playing their season opener against the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants.
Mr. Gibbs thanked the Minnesota crowd for hosting his team in 1991 during the last of his Super Bowl wins, but did not mention the game Thursday night, as he had originally planned to do.