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Joe Gibbs: Modern-Day Teddy Roosevelt

… I admit it. I was one of those folks who thought Joe Gibbs was unwise for returning to the Redskins. Sure, I was rooting for him. Sure, I believe he is a winner and that winners win. But, from a PR standpoint, I never thought he should take a chance in tarnishing his legacy.

I mean, how can you beat the way he ended his career? He went out on top. One of the rules of show business is to “know when to get off stage.” Michael Jordan shouldn’t have come back a third time and Gibbs, having had two tremendous careers in football and NASCAR, shouldn’t try either, I reasoned.

I was wrong.

Joe Gibbs is a man to admire. He is a decent man, a winner — and a leader. In returning to Washington, he took Teddy Roosevelt’s famous advice about being, "The Man in the Arena."  I underestimated him.

Gibbs’ return has injected passion and energy to this city. I know, the experts say that sports teams don’t really inject money into a city. But the city of Washington, DC is on cloud nine, right now. And it’s largely because of Gibbs and his team.

After last night’s victory over Dallas, I was listening to the post-game show on WJFK. One of the callers remarked how focused and passionate the Redskins played, yesterday. The caller asked show host Charles Mann if Gibbs gives a pre-game Knute Rockne-type speech to the team. Mann said that Gibbs does not rely on a pre-game speech to inspire the team. That’s what he does every day, all day. Mann said that if you wait until right before the game to start inspiring people, it’s too late. Leaders inspire their team daily. They don’t try to come up with some emotional act just before the game. Winning is an everyday thing.

Yesterday’s Redskin’s game rocked. But I’m disturbed by the fans who think just beating the Cowboys is enough victory for them. There’s no time to gloat … I’m already focused on the New York Football Giants. My bet is Gibbs will let the team celebrate for about five minutes.

Written By

Mr. Lewis has managed political campaigns and served as director of grassroots for the Leadership Institute, as well as political director for GOPAC. In 2002, Campaigns & Elections magazine selected him as a "Rising Star of Politics." He is the author of "Teaching Elephants to Talk." His blog can be read at MattLewis.org.

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