Ron Rivera wanted to get back into coaching quickly, that much was clear.
But anyone with his kind of resume would reasonably have questions about working for Washington owner Dan Snyder.
Snyder’s best salesman, it turns out, was Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, who was eager to talk to Rivera about what could be — if not what the team has become under Snyder’s leadership.
Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post talked to the three-time Super Bowl champion about the process, and the former coach said he was eager to tell Rivera about the greater meaning of the job.
“It’s the most powerful city in the world, and that football team means the world to that town,” Gibbs said he told Rivera. “It’s one of the very few things that brings everybody together. There’s no Democrat, Republican. It’s everybody for 3½ hours is going to cheer for that football team. . . .
“That fan base is battle-tested. Most of them have been there forever in that stadium. And I said, ‘There’s nothing like it. They’re going to cheer like heck if you get it going. And they’ll let you know if you do bad stuff, too.’”
Lately, there’s been far more bad that good.
Gibbs went 30-34 in his four-year second stint with the team, making the playoffs twice. That’s far better than average under Snyder, as the team is 142-193-1 in his 21 years since buying them.
Snyder’s admitted fandom of the team and Gibbs has led the two to have a friendly relationship, and Gibbs acknowledged there is a bias.
“Dan and I are real friends,” Gibbs said. “And he was so good to me in the four years I was there, so good to my family. I felt like I could tell Ron what it was like. I tried to do that because I felt like it was really important for him. . . .
“When he and I talk, it’s friends. We’ve been through four years. That develops a real relationship because you go through the highs and the lows and all the things that go on for a coach and an owner. We developed that friendship, so when we talk, it’s mostly a common-sense conversation. He would kind of relate to me some of the people that he was really interested in.”
That was obviously Rivera, as soon as the Panthers fired him (since Snyder had an even earlier start by firing Jay Gruden earlier in the year.
So Gibbs and Rivera spoke, since they were both near Charlotte, with Rivera visiting Gibbs at home for a sales pitch.
It obviously worked. When or whether the buyer’s remorse kicks in remains to be seen.