Friday, September 18, 2009

Almost - Part Two

Free advice is worth what you paid for it

In the wake of New York's Super Bowl 42 victory over the Patriots, Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was a hot property. And Dan Snyder wanted him. Curly R concludes its two part series on Steve Spagnuolo's 2008 brush with the Redskins.

Part One: How Steve Became Spags
Part Two: Almost the Redskins Coach


In the wake of Joe Gibbs' retirement following the 2007 season, Redskins owner Dan Snyder inquired after Steve Spagnuolo, the first mention of Steve's name in the media was 21 January 2009, nearly two weeks after Joe's announcement and nearly two weeks before Super Bowl 42.

For the next ten days coverage of the Redskins coaching search is pregnant with Steve Spagnuolo.

Committing the tactical error of not requesting an interview with Steve for the pre Super Bowl bye week, Dan would be stymied by league rules as Steve would otherwise be unable to talk to the Redskins while the Giants were still in the playoffs, being that the Giants went all the way to the Super Bowl, Dan was forced to wait until 3 February 2008 to announce Steve would be interviewing for the head coaching position.

The following day Steve has a phone interview with Dan, then flies in to Washington the day after that, spending the night at Dan Snyder's palace at Xanadu. After three days of interviews in which Washington conventional wisdom has annointed him as the next coach, Steve leaves Washington without a contract.

Steve Spagnuolo would not be the Redskins coach after all.

Reports, confirmed locally but vigorously denied by league sources, indicate Steve and Redskins leadership came away from the interviews agreeing that Steve was still a year or two from being ready for an NFL head coaching position.

By noon the next day Steve was in possession of a new three year contract to stay on board as defensive coordinator in New York.

Stories swirl around the circumstances of Steve not taking the Redskins job, anecdotally it seems equal parts Steve honestly not being sure he was ready and the Redskins sensing this, and Steve hoping to wring a bigger payday out of the team he never wanted to leave, the Giants.

No small amount of speculation also has the pre existing condition of the Redskins coordinators, Greg Blache on defense and Jim Zorn on offense as a condition Steve was not eager to accept, all parties have denied this was a factor in the process.

Steve Spagnuolo would stay one more season in New York, then take the Rams head coaching position in the wake of the firing of Scott Linehan. That the Rams are a reclamation project is something of an understatement.

It is a final irony of the infamous Redskins 2008 coaching search that it was in fact Steve Spagnulo, during his 28 hours of interviews with Dan Snyder and the sycophant brigade, that first cast Jim Zorn as a legitmate head coaching candidate, rationalizing that like Steve himself, Jim's lack of experience in the top spot was offset by his experience and pedigree. In fact, the very night Steve left Washington is the night Jim Zorn had his first interview for the Redskins head coaching position.

When Steve Spagnulo, the last serious candidate pursued before the Jim Zorn endgame, declined, the Redskins took Steve's advice and hired Jim Zorn. For better or for worse we have Steve to thank for coach Zorn.

Reference: Curly R's Chronology of a New Redskins Head Coach

Steve Spagnuolo: AP photo from here.