Redskins coaching great Joe Gibbs has been a familiar face in recent weeks, attending the Week 13 victory over the Giants, and recently attending Redskins Park to teach rookies about planning for their financial future.
Based on what he has seen so far this season, he is "thrilled" for what lies ahead for his favorite football team.
"One thing about pro sports is you don’t luck into it—you have to be really good," Gibbs said. "I think we’re building something good here right now with [head coach] Mike [Shanahan], [general manager] Bruce [Allen] and [Redskins owner] Dan [Snyder]."
Like most around the NFL, Gibbs has taken notice of Redskins rookie quarterback
“It goes back to the very first game against the Saints," Gibbs said. "What impressed me about that game was the even-temper he seemed to have; nothing seemed to shake him up. He was very relaxed and played a great ball game.
"What I saw there was a lot of poise in a young guy. To me, I think that’s what he’s carried all of the way through: 'I belong up here, I should be playing up here, and I feel right at home playing here.'"
During Gibbs's time in Washington, the best athlete he had at quarterback was Joe Theismann, who was a punt returner for the Redskins his rookie NFL season.
Griffin III has taken quarterback athleticism to a new level, breaking the NFL rookie quarterback rushing record in 12 games and rushing for 748 yards in 13 games.
"He’s such a great athlete," Gibbs said of Griffin III. "He’s got everybody excited and the coaches should be congratulated. They’re using him in a totally different style offense. As a consequence, you’re seeing defenses having a tough time with that right now."
With Sunday's 31-28 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens, Shanahan earned his 172nd career victory, moving him past Gibbs for sole possession of 12th all-time for NFL coaches.
Gibbs was nothing but supportive after the game, but couldn't help joking with Shanahan about his legacy with the Redskins.
“I congratulated Mike [Shanahan] on those, I know how hard that is," he said. "To win that many games--that’s a great effort for him to do it in two places and win that many games. We couldn’t be prouder of what he’s doing with the Redskins right now.
"I was fortunate because we had great ownership, great fans and everything I had going for me that makes it easy to win games.
Then Gibbs noted with a smile: "The only thing I said was, 'Mine were all with the Redskins.'"
With respect to the current surge toward the playoffs, Gibbs reminisced about his playoffs runs with the Redskins in the 1980s and 90's, and again in 2005 and 2007.
"The Super Bowls, you can’t get a better experience than that in a lifetime," he said. "Going through it with the fans here, the front office and everybody. It was an absolute thrill.
"I loved coming back the second time, we had a ball with everybody. Dan [Snyder] was a great partner with all the stuff he was able to do. We went to the playoffs a couple of times and weren’t able to go all the way. It’s a thrill when you do that."
Now that Gibbs's run on the gridiron is over, he is the proud owner of the Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR team, and spends his free time with family in North Carolina.
But when the Redskins game is on, Gibbs can usually be found near a television, watching the game or looking for updates. He will also be at the games, for as much as his schedule allows.
"It’s great getting a chance any time I can, to come back and be with the Redskins fans," Gibbs said with a smile. "I love it, and I’m one of them."