Gibbs, Redskins to open at home vs. Buccaneers

Washington will play four times on national TV

April 15, 2004|By Ryan O'Halloran | Ryan O'Halloran,DAILY PRESS

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Joe Gibbs will make his official return to the NFL on Sept. 12 when the Washington Redskins play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field.

The complete 2004 NFL regular-season schedule was released yesterday. Washington - despite its 5-11 record - will make four national television appearances.

Gibbs was hired to coach the Redskins in January after an 11-year absence.

The Redskins' 13 opponents had a combined 100-108 record in 2003. Washington will play six games against playoff teams, two each vs. the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys and one meeting apiece against the Green Bay Packers and the Ravens.

During Gibbs' first season in Washington - 1981 - the Redskins started 0-5 and finished 8-8. He doesn't want a repeat.

"I remember some of the things that were written and said," Gibbs said last month. "Pat [Gibbs' wife] made a video of some of those things, and she played it at the Hall of Fame ceremony [in 1996]. You should have seen some of that stuff. When they were watching it, guys were saying, `I can't believe they're saying that.' I said, `I can believe it. We were 0-5, and I was an idiot.' "

An 0-5 start would be shocking. In the first six games, the Redskins play only two teams with winning records last season.

Highlights of the schedule include: a Week 3 Monday night game against Dallas (Sept. 27), two Sunday night home games - Oct. 10 against the Ravens and Dec. 12 vs. Philadelphia - and the team's first home game against Green Bay since 1979.

The Redskins will open at home for the fifth time in six years and finish at home - Jan. 2 against the Minnesota Vikings - for the sixth consecutive year. The last four games appear to be the toughest stretch of the schedule, starting with a home game against Philadelphia, followed by games at San Francisco and Dallas and the Minnesota finale.

Because Christmas falls on a weekend, the NFL will have one game (Green Bay at Minnesota) on Friday, Dec. 24, followed by the league's first Christmas Day doubleheader since the 1971 playoffs - Oakland at Kansas City and Denver at Tennessee.

All regular-season games on the final weekend will be played Sunday, Jan. 2, to avoid conflict with New Year's Day bowl games.

The Daily Press of Newport News, Va., is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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