No doubt the 2020 Chicago Bears season will be different than any other. Stadium attendance will likely make a big difference to many players. And just how the players, coaches, and programs will be affected is unknown. I suspect more than any other factors the teams will be challenged to get prepared under extreme time-constrains. So the 2020 season may be more like previous strike-shortened seasons as opposed to those seasons that were played during the war or under times of other great national disaster and suffering (the Great Depression or the Dust Bowl). I am making the assumption that no major calamities destroy the season in one full swoop, but certainly that could happen.

In our book, Pillars of the NFL, we look at the history of the top 10 coaches in the NFL and one coach stands out at as remarkably successful during shortened seasons: Joe Gibbs. Gibbs won the NFL Championship for the 1982 and 1987 seasons. In 1982, Gibbs’s Redskins posted an 8-1 shortened season record. The Redskins beat the Cowboys in the NFC Championship game. They went on to beat Don Shula’s Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII. In 1987, a players strike caused the NFL to cancel one game as the strike began and play 3 games with “replacement players.” Gibbs once again won another NFL Championship under the season’s disruptions. The Redskins beat the Vikings in the NFC Championship and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.

Gibbs was a remarkable coach who always made the best out of the talent he had.  Gibbs work ethic was punishing, but he always had a passion for life and living right. Gibbs was also great at adjustments–sometimes his teams seem to be having an a bad year, but quite often were competing with the best by the end of the season.

Gibbs is the owner of Joe Gibbs Racing and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

See more about Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships in the product section on this site.