Lawrence Taylor dominated opponents from the moment he stepped onto an NFL field. In his second game of the 1981 season, the New York Giants rookie linebacker overwhelmed that day’s NFC East foe.

Taylor’s wrecking-ball performance did something else far more significant that Sunday at venerable RFK Stadium in the nation’s capital. It caused another newbie to reconsider his entire job approach.

Joe Gibbs arrived as the Washington Redskins’ coach after a marvelous stint as offensive coordinator for the Chargers. San Diego’s forward-thinking passing attack, labeled “Air Coryell” for coach Don Coryell, stood out for its production with quarterback Dan Fouts and an array of playmaking receivers.

Coming off a 6-10 season, Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke sought a spark. Following a three-and-a-half-hour introductory meeting that January with the bookish coordinator, Cooke knew he found the desired change.

“Joe…





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