Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Guest Post: The Case Against Mike Shanahan

We post good takes

With all the hubbub swirling around Redskins coaching and management, how much power will Bruce Allen actually have, was Bruce Allen picked by Dan Snyder or Mike Shanahan, did secondary coach Jerry Gray interview for Jim Zorn's job before it was vacant, etc. etc., Redskins fans are beginning to consider seriously what will happen in this offseason.

Below is what DC Greg, one of Curly R's most loyal readers and commenters had to say about it all.


The Case Against Mike Shanahan

Take a look at the following list of names:

Mike Ditka
Bill Parcells
Mike Holmgren
Jimmy Johnson
Vince Lombardi
Hank Stram
Don McCafferty
Tom Flores
George Seifert
Dick Vermeil

What do they have in common? They are all coaches that have won Super Bowls…with one team and one team only. The sad fact is that none of these men have been able to duplicate their earlier success at subsequent stops in their careers, with only Parcells and Holmgren able to even make a Super Bowl appearance on the losing side.

In fact, only one coach in NFL history has been able to win championships with two different teams and that was Weeb Ewbank, who won two pre-modern NFL titles with the Colts (1958 & 1959) before capturing Super Bowl III with the Jets.

And Parcells, Holmgren, and Dan Reeves are the only coaches to even make Super Bowl APPEARANCES with different teams; Reeves lost three with Denver and one with Atlanta

Bottom line: no head coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two different teams. NFL History, it seems, isn’t kind to retreads, at least not at the championship level.

I bring this up to make an argument against the hiring of a coach like Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, Tony Dungy, or even Brian Billick; All Super Bowl-winning coaches.

As a quick aside, I realize that it may be unfair to include Vince Lombardi on this list, as he only had one season with the Redskins. His untimely death denied us the chance to see if his plan would have come to fruition, but I included his name anyway for posterity. You could make an argument that Joe Gibbs belongs on this list, but I didn't include him because he didn't attempt his comeback with a different team. But I digress...

Oddly enough, it IS possible for a Super Bowl-LOSING coach to come to a different team and have greater success. Don Shula and Dick Vermeil both lost their initial appearance in the big game, only to find Super Bowl glory elsewhere. This would suggest that the Redskins’ best bet might be to consider coaches such as Jeff Fisher, Bill Callahan, Ken Whisenhunt, Jim Fassel, Mike Martz, and John Fox. All of these men, like Shula and Vermeil, lost their first appearance in the Super Bowl. I’m not too keen on Martz or Callahan, although the latter is a WCO disciple, for what that’s worth. Fassel is interesting because I was dead set against his hiring in the ’08 offseason. I may have to reconsider that position. I would be good with Fisher, Fox, or Whisenhunt, if the Redskins went in that direction.

What this means for the Redskins is that if Mike Shanahan is named head coach, the odds of winning the Super Bowl don’t really change that much, if history is any indication. Oh sure, Shanny will make them respectable, maybe even contenders. They’ll always be in the conversation and will be enjoyable to watch. In the ways that matter most, however, Shanahan’s tenure would likely be a repeat of the George Allen years; Almost…but not quite.

The most ideal scenario involving the 57-year-old Shanahan is a repeat of the best aspects of Gibbs 2.0. He spends a few seasons righting the ship, all the while grooming a successor, and then turns things over to that successor when he retires.

Whether Snyder can keep from screwing up the full cupboard Shanahan leaves him remains to be seen. Let’s not forget that Gibbs left him a playoff team and a hand picked successor and we all know how that went.


While Redskins fans have no way of knowing whether this is a done deal or will happen at all, Sport Illustrated's Peter King wondered in a Monday night interview if Mike Shanahan is not punking Dan Snyder for a better deal with the shovel ready Cowboys, we should not necessarily annoint Mike the savior of the team, there will be other qualified coaches out there, there always are, and maybe for once the Redskins could do without so much drama.

Thanks DC Greg, keep em coming.

Kansas fencepost: Don Palmer