I wrote a long column today about Joe Gibbs, who wants very much to have a second chance in life to make up for the time he lost as a work-aholic football coach.
Gibbs believes he has found that second chance with his eight grandchildren. He never coached one of his sons' athletic teams -- he was too busy -- but now he coaches his 11-year-old grandson's football team (and even has been holding offseason film and Bible studies with the group).
What isn't in the story -- because it wasn't the focus of this piece -- but what I always have found interesting is that Gibbs could have been Carolina's first coach. How would the Panthers' history have changed then if Gibbs had decided to return to coaching in 1995 at the behest of Jerry Richardson (who wanted him)?
Instead, Gibbs said "No, thanks" -- he was early into his career as a NASCAR owner then and, even though he lived in the Charlotte area, he wasn't ready to make a move back into coaching then. The timing just wasn't right.
Gibbs would have been fantastic for the Panthers, of course -- although Dom Capers wasn't a bad first coach by any means and had one great season here (in 1996). He would have run a different offense (more one-back sets) and likely not have been so veteran-driven in the early years, for he would have felt less pressure to win early than a guy going into his first head-coaching job (Capers) undoubtedly felt.
Anyway, it's all speculation now, but I have always wondered a little at how far Gibbs might have taken the Panthers had he taken the job.