Glory Years: The Joe Gibbs Era In Washington Redskins History

These are hard times for Washington Redskins fan, a group of which I’m proud to consider myself a member. But it wasn’t always that way, and Glory Years is the celebration of the greatest era in Washington Redskins history.

Joe Gibbs Washington Redskins

Most fans remember and younger fans have surely heard, there was a time when the Washington Redskins were a part of the NFL’s elite. It was during Gibbs’ “first term”, his 12-year run as head coach from 1981-92. That run produced four trips to the Super Bowl and three Lombardi Trophies. Even more impressively, Gibbs won his Super Bowls with a different starting quarterback each time.

Glory Years recaptures that 12-year run in all of its detail. Each individual season is a separate article on The twelve different pieces are pulled together and edited to form a cohesive read, a game-by-game narrative of this great period of Redskins history.

In Glory Years, you’ll see how the Gibbs Dynasty was really three separate mini-dynasties, broken down from 1981-85, 1986-88 and 1989-91, with an epilogue in 1992. Gibbs turned over his quarterback, his best running backs and you’ll see that even the famed “Hogs” had different faces moving in and out of the lineup, while still plowing holes and protecting quarterbacks.

You’ll read about the 0-5 start to Gibbs’ first year that made it look like this whole era would never get off the ground. Then the rebound and Super Bowl run of 1982 that included consecutive postseason victories over coaching icons in Bud Grant, Tom Landry and Don Shula. There was the explosive offense in 1983 that came up just one victory short of a repeat title.

1984 saw one more NFC East title on a thrilling final week win over the St. Louis Cardinals, the last big high point for quarterback Joe Theismann and running back John Riggins. 1985’s team missed the playoffs and a re-tooling for a fresh run began.

Jay Schroeder took the reins at quarterback and George Rogers stepped in at running back. The winning started again in 1986 and led to another Super Bowl victory in 1987, although after repeated controversy it was Doug Williams who ended up at quarterback for the postseason and Timmy Smith was a Super Bowl hero in the backfield. A missed playoff year in 1988 marked the time for another retool.

Now it was Mark Rypien’s turn to step in at quarterback and Earnest Byner was acquired for the backfield. The 1989 team went 10-6 though missing the playoffs and in 1990 a return to the postseason party was at hand. It set the stage for Gibbs’ greatest team, one of the best champions in NFL history as the 1991 Washington Redskins destroyed all comers and won the great coach a third ring.

1992 saw one more playoff run and then Gibbs hung it up. The Glory Years were over, a part of history. Gibbs returned for a second term from 2004-07, and while the two playoff appearances made it a success by the standards of Dan Snyder’s ownership, things have never been the same.

They were great years for Redskins fans, when the team we follow not only win games, but was a model for organizational success in the way it turned key personnel over and kept coming back to the top. There were the role models, players like Darrell Green and Art Monk that would make their way to Canton as icons both on and off the field.

It’s all here—every game, every Pro Bowl player and the head coach who oversaw it all. Download Glory Years today and live through the first Gibbs era all over again.