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Joe Gibbs on the return of Crispy M&M’S and the forgotten Redskins’ dynasty

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For an unknown reason, NFL history has robbed the Redskins dynasty of the 1980s and early 90s of the recognition it deserves. But the real question is, why?

NFL fans remember the Packers championship teams of the 60s, the Steelers of the 70s, the 49ers of the 80s, the Cowboys of the 90s, and the Patriots of the present day. But no one remembers the Joe Gibbs-led Redskins.

From 1982 to 1991, the Redskins appeared in four Super Bowls and won three of those games, and in each game, they won with a different starting quarterback and a different starting running back.

Not content with one of the most successful coaching careers in NFL history, Gibbs created his Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR team in 1992. The team has won three Sprint Cup championships since 2000 with stud drivers like Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart.

At this Sunday’s Daytona 500, the Joe Gibbs Racing Crispy M&M’S #18 car will return to the track after a 10-year absence, piloted by Kyle Busch.

We spoke to Coach Gibbs about flourishing in both sports, the upcoming Daytona 500, his relationship with Jack Kent Cooke, and why he thinks his success with the Redskins has been largely ignored. You can listen to the interview via the audio player or read the full transcript below.


Click to download audio

Let’s talk about Crispy M&M’S making their return to the track after a 10-year hiatus, kind of like you making your return to the Skins the second time.

Just about the same; I was 11 years, Crispy’s been out 10 years. We’re excited to have them back. And on Sunday’s Daytona 500, every time that Toyota Camry comes off the corner with Kyle Busch driving it, it’s going to be bright green and it’s gonna represent the return of Crispy. So we’re excited about that and I’m excited to be part of the M&M’S team.

It just occurs to me that the Skins dynasty doesn’t get the props it really deserves. Why do you think that is the case historically?

“Well, I’m glad that you mention that because I feel strongly about that. And I think you’re right. We went to four Super Bowls in 11 years. And we had great players; I think that more of our players should be in the Hall of Fame. You’re right, for some reason that era gets left out. Obviously, the 49ers were in there, the Giants… there were some other real good teams. But I feel just like you, you voiced the opinion, which I agree with. What it takes to be able to get to a Super Bowl, and to do it four times, that says a lot about our ownership, our front office and our players. So, I agree with you and I appreciate you bringing it up.

Well, I’ve thought about this probably more than I should’ve, but it’s almost like the legacy is punished because of your versatility. You’ve got three different quarterbacks that you won a Super Bowl with, three different starting running backs. Defense has a couple of stalwarts, but there’s a lot of personal changes there as you’d expect over an 11-year period. Do you think the success you had with so many personnel changes has been detrimental in hindsight, if that is even a possibility?

Well, you bring up an interesting point. I’ve never looked at it that way. But I think we had a lot of those players that went to two, three, four Super Bowls. And I think that for that period of time, we did have three different quarterbacks. But I think that says a lot about the surrounding players we had with them and those three guys. People always say, “Hey, you won three Super Bowls with three quarterbacks.” What they leave out is three great quarterbacks. You got Theismann, you’ve got Doug, and you’ve got Mark Rypien. I mean, those guys were special; we had special players. But I appreciate you bringing it up this morning, you made me feel good! Okay? Because I think we need more attention on what we were able to accomplish, that team, in that 11-year period.

Read the full interview here. 

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Sammy Watkins on growing up a Bills fan, Pepsi Halftime and facing Darrelle Revis

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Rochester, New York is now the most hyped hometown in America thanks to Pepsi and stud wide receiver Sammy Watkins, a lifelong Bills fan.

This past Sunday, over 7,500 fans celebrated Rochester’s win in the Pepsi contest with their own ultimate Super Bowl halftime experience headlined by popular singing/songwriting duo Nico & Vinz, and appearances by new head coach Rex Ryan and Watkins.

Watkins was the NFL Rookie of the Week three times during the 2014 season and was the NFL Rookie of the Month for October. He also set single-season franchise rookie records with 65 receptions and 982 receiving yards, while scoring six touchdowns.

Talk about the work you did with Pepsi.

I worked with Pepsi on the “Hyped for Halftime” contest, which was a contest to find the best fans in the NFL. Rochester, NY did a great job as fans and I’m happy to say we won. They did it! They’ve been leading us for 30 to 40 years, helping us on and off the field, so this is a great treat for them.

One word to describe Bills fans is “crazy.” When we’re hitting at all points on offense and defense, the stadium gets crazy. Sometimes, we have to quiet them down so we can get the play call in. Pepsi was looking for the best fans and this proves we’ve got the best fans. And, Rochester got their own Pepsi Halftime Show, just like the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show with Katy Perry.

What’s your favorite play from your rookie season?

Winning the game against the Vikings when I scored on the goalline with one second left. It was a great play call. Coach Moore (former 10-year veteran wide receiver Rob Moore) put me in the position to make the play. He basically said, “This game is going to come down to the wide receivers. Get ready because it may be you.” He called the play, and I made a great play at the end of the game.

Who is the best defender you’ve faced?

Darelle Revis, the guy who I think is the best corner in the league.

Read the full interview here.

The Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show is the most-watched musical event of the year. Click here for more details.

Desmond Howard and Aflac Team Up

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Heisman Trophy Winner, Desmond Howard, partnered with Aflac to celebrate the launch of their new ad, “The Paymaker,” and teach the Aflac Duck a thing or two about the game.

The video offers a humorous look at the Aflac Duck and highlights that, while the Aflac Duck may not be good at football, he pays claims fast.

Are you the ultimate college football fan? If so, Aflac has an #AflacSweeps is for you. Three lucky fans will win a trip for two, a pair of tickets to one of three college football games in early November, a chance to meet Desmond Howard and more.

To win the Ultimate College Football Experience Sweepstakes, enter once per 24 hours on Facebook; for bonus entries, share on Twitter.

Enter here: http://afl.ac/ANis9

Terry Bradshaw talks Pepsi Halftime, the Super Bowl and the “Immaculate Reception”

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40 years ago this month, fifth-year NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw came of age. The former #1 overall draft pick in 1970 had struggled in his first five regular seasons, averaging just 1,504 passing yards per season, while throwing 48 touchdowns and 81 interceptions.

But in the 1974 playoffs, something clicked. In wins over the Buffalo Bills, the Oakland Raiders, and finally, in the Super Bowl IX against the Minnesota Vikings, Bradshaw played the best football of his career, steadying himself long enough to let a powerful running game and legendary “Steel Curtain” defense dictate the tempo of games and slowly bleed out opponents.

We spoke to Terry about his progression as a quarterback, the Super Bowl and the Steelers dynasty of the 1970s.

Talk about your experience working with Pepsi on the Pepsi GRAMMY Halftime Show.

“This is just great, man. My agent called me and described the script and it sounded like so much fun, I couldn’t wait to do it. It was so much fun to make. And Deion (Sanders) and Shannon (Sharpe) were all laughing at each other. And coach Ditka was a hoot! Just four old guys out there showing off our stuff!

As a rookie, you were the first overall draft pick, and in the ensuing season, you threw a league leading 24 interceptions and split time with Terry Hanratty. What are your thoughts on that year in hindsight, after all the success?

“Well, I came up out of a small school where I was not exposed to the media, not exposed to fans, what it was like to have a bad game and the repercussions. So being booed, being ripped in the papers, this was all new to me. I had to learn how to be a professional, I had to learn how to study, I had to learn defenses. It took me a while. I wasn’t a real student of the game, I never really was one even as the years went on. I was never a guy that could sit down and just pound out tape after tape. Now, it’s a lot easier. Back then, tape would break and you’d have to glue it back together. I could sit there and my coach could tell me the coverages they would use, take all that information and put it on a piece of paper, go through all the plays and everything, and I would know what to do. I learned how to be a professional and it was brutal. Being booed and being called all those horrible things left a lasting impression on me. I never forgot it.”

Read the full interview here.

Early Super Bowl money being placed on Denver over Seattle

The early lines for the 2014 Super Bowl were all over the place last night. At first Seattle was favored on many sportsbooks and then the money came flooding in on Denver. Now we’re seeing the Broncos as 1.5 to 1 point favorites in most places.

In the video above, Howie Long makes a great point – that the officiating will play a big role in this game regarding how much Seattle defenders can get away with versus Denever receivers, and likewise whether Denver can run their pick plays with impunity. NFL officiating has become a disgrace, so expect plenty of controversy.

Also, we’re seeing two completely different quarterbacks. Peyton Manning is a classic drop back passer and one of the all-time greats. Russell Wilson is a mobile quarterback who makes big plays but also huge mistakes with his improvizing. Frankly, Wilson is a bit overrated – he’s riding the Seahawks bus to the Super Bowl, not driving it.

It should be a great game.

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