Joe Gibbs remains the only coach to win Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks. Almost as remarkable, none of the three — Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien — has a Canton zip code.
More than two decades removed from his final Super Bowl, Gibbs is well-positioned to join Rick Hendrick as a NASCAR owner to win Cup championships with three drivers.
Gibbs' title pursuit is among several intriguing story lines in the most crowded and bizarre of racing's 10 Chase playoffs.
The weirdness you likely know. Even casual observers and those of us who wouldn't dream of changing our own spark plugs watched with bemusement and amusement as NASCAR altered its playoff field last week not once but twice.
Martin Truex Jr.: see ya. Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon: come on down.
Such were the governing body's iron-fisted decisions after myriad shenanigans — radio transmissions and lap data exposed all — at the regular-season finale earlier this month in Richmond.
And good for NASCAR. The organization has a rich history of changing the rules mid-stream, and winking at the Richmond manipulations that benefited Truex and cost Newman and Gordon would have bordered on negligent.
My only gripe: Spin doctor Clint Bowyer, one of the primary pawns at Richmond, suffered no real sanction, unless you believe having Truex, his Michael Waltrip Racing teammate, booted from the Chase and replaced by Newman is taxing.
"I consider Clint Bowyer to be one of the best people in this garage," driver Jeff Burton told NASCAR.com's David Caraviello. "Anybody that says otherwise doesn't know what … they're talking about. Actions can be looked at, but when you start talking about somebody and who they are to the core, and you really don't know them — you've got to be careful."
Burton has long seemed a salt-of-the-Earth guy, and his support is revealing. Still, docking Bowyer a few Chase points would have sent a stronger message.
Adding four-time Cup champion Gordon gives the field a record 13 drivers, four of whom are winless this season: Bowyer, Gordon, Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Point leader Matt Kenseth has won six times in 2013 — he took the checkered Sunday at the opening playoff race — and could join Tony Stewart as drivers to claim the Cup under the old and new systems. Gordon aims to do the same.
Also, Gordon could match Terry Labonte's record for the longest span between championships: 12 years. Labonte won his titles in 1984 and '96, while Gordon's most recent was 2001.
If either Kasey Kahne or Earnhardt win the Cup, Hendrick would have a fourth champ to join Gordon, Labonte and five-time winner Jimmie Johnson. But at 10th and 13th, respectively, in the standings, Kahne and especially Earnhardt are longshots with nine events remaining.
Gibbs has won Cups with Bobby Labonte and Stewart, and Denny Hamlin nearly became the team's third championship driver in 2010, when he lost the points lead in the final race to Johnson. With Kenseth and Kyle Busch (four wins and a circuit-best 12 top-fives) running 1-2 in points, Gibbs has his best title shot since.
Jack Roush also could join Hendrick as an owner to win a Cup with three drivers. He scored with Kenseth in 2003 and Kurt Busch in '04, and has Carl Edwards (fifth in points) and Greg Biffle (11th) this year.
Now with Furniture Row Racing, Kurt Busch is the lone single-car team in the Chase, a remarkable feat given the resources available to the likes of Hendrick, Gibbs and Roush. Next season, Busch will return to the mainstream, joining Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick with Stewart-Haas Racing — no telling what drama will transpire among those divas.
But at the very least, flying solo this year absolves Busch of any blame for the Richmond foolishness.
"Yeah, nobody can pin it on me," he said on a media call Tuesday. "We're scot-free and worked our way in independently to be a part of this Chase. There's different things you want to do as a team and to help a teammate, and then there's a line to be drawn."
The line was crossed at Richmond, and given NASCAR's response, probably won't be for the remainder of the Chase.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun