WASHINGTON, D.C. - Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, didn't need to fire Mike Shanahan on "Black Monday." Shanahan isn't the problem. He's a winning coach with two Super Bowl championships to prove it. No, Snyder needs to fire himself.
Snyder's the problem, not Shanahan. And he's a big problem. If the Redskins are going to do anything in the world of professional football, Daniel Snyder needs to get out of the game. He's a horrible owner and is a disgrace to the NFL.
His big dilemma seems to be pressure by Native Americans to change that gawd-awful name of his ball club, which he says he'll never, ever do.
Native Americans find the name of this team deplorable. I mean say it aloud to yourself. Doesn't it sound just a wee bit racist?
The truth is, the good faithful fans of the Washington team don't really care what their NFL team is named for, they just want a winner.
Finishing off the season with a 3-13 record is more than unacceptable. It's enough to make any District of Columbia aficionado of the pigskin move to Pittsburgh. At least they have a winner there, even during bad footballing years. And even though 2013 wasn't a good year for the Steelers, they almost got into the playoffs.
Now that's one helluva ball club! Being a winner even in a down year.
If the Washington team was named the Washington Ballerinas or the D.C. Fruit Flies and finished this year at 13-3, the Redskins' faithful would be a lot happier than keeping to the same-old, same-old of having that horribly racist name and another bleak season of ennui and angst. Having about as many wins as Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton have duck-calling whistles in their pants' pockets is not a crowd pleaser.
Yes, breaking into double digits in the winning column for the Redskins seems as tough of a challenge as a 5-foot-9 guy on The Biggest Loser going from a gargantuan 795 pounds to a svelte 354.
And if the Washington ball club actually made it to the Super Bowl and won, Washington's fans wouldn't care what their team was named after - even if it was called the Washington Bolsheviks. Everyone in D.C. would be wearing sports gear with a sickle and hammer gracing these garments. Vladamir Putin would most likely have boxed-seat, season tickets, too. Think what this could do for international diplomacy!
But sadly, Shanahan was greeted by a comedy of terrors on his last day on the job. Most likely shivering with apprehension in his black Audi on Monday, the poor guy had a hard time at the entrance gate, trying to get into the stadium's parking lot, according to FOX Sports and The Washington Post.
- There was a long line of reporters' cars idling there at the early hour of 9 a.m. ready for this firing of the Washington Redskins' head coach. Yes, all the sharks were there for the feeding frenzy.
- It's all a very stark view: Shanahan's idling car, far in back of this mess of steel, plastic, and glass....
- And although he most likely knew that nothing good was going to happen that morning, at least Coach Shanahan had a long "quiet time" to relax and get right with his universe of missed passes, fumbles, and stupid penalties. At least the endless Sundays of nightmarish catastrophes were over for the time being.
One day after last Sunday's NFL games, five NFL head coaches had been fired; with Cleveland Browns' Rob Chudzinski let go Sunday night after the Browns' 20-7 loss to the Steelers. Even though his job was on the line, the head coach of the New York Jets, old what's his name, was kept on to keep trudging onward and probably, sideways, and backwards, too.
It's a mean time all around. Fired on "Black Monday" were Detroit's Jim Schwartz, Minnesota's Leslie Frazier, Tampa Bay's Greg Schiano, and Shanahan, of course, who is no stranger to NFL successes, after having won two back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1990s with the Denver Broncos. While there, he put together a 14-year record of 146-91.
Shanahan was with the Redskins for four seasons and had another year left on his contract. According to reports, Shanahan was earning about $7 million per season.
NFL coaches make enviably high salaries but if there are few wins in the win column around this time of the year, coaches always get a belated Christmas present in the form of being fired.
NFL coaches are a lot like construction workers, there's a lot of feasting when times are good but much famine when things aren't going well.
"A great organization," Shanahan said during a brief and unprepared statement after which he answered no questions. "This is the best, if you look at what the franchise has done."
Snyder and Redskins' General Manager Bruce Allen did the firing during an early morning meeting on Monday. They ordered sanctions intended to keep the media at bay, according to The Washington Post, but in typical Syder-esque fashion, these measures backfired and stirred up a whirlwind of a media blitz.
In what would've created no controversy and mayhem at all (what's so newsworthy about an NFL coach being fired after a dismal season?), Snyder's weirdo ways yet again created absolute bedlam in the form of media interest.
Instead of just reporting on Shanahan's firing, reporters zeroed in on the oddball paranoid tactics Snyder and his minions used in running Shanahan's "letting go" campaign.
- Like how reporters weren't allowed to stand in the parking lot between the media building and the team facility after both Snyder and Shanahan arrived at Redskins Park.
- There were even two "public relations interns" using walkie-talkies patrolling the compound, with stiff commands from Head Warchief Danny to make sure the doors and windows were closed.
- This didn't stop the indefatigably arduous and creative news teams, however, who shot video through uncovered windows and slits between the curtains and sills. "When one of the shades came detached from the doorway, a team employee tried to reattach it with several strips of Scotch tape," The Washington Post reports.
It all sounds like Watergate revisited.
Daniel Snyder, you're about as paranoid and as crazy as Richard Millhouse Nixon. You're completely out of tune with what Washington needs in an NFL owner and you're a disgrace to professional football.
Replacing Shanahan will be Daniel Snyder's sixth hire as Redskins' owner since he bought the team in 1990. Marty Schottenheimer was fired after one season of going 8-8. Steve Spurrier went 12-20 after only two seasons (Spurrier wasn't fired, he resigned). Jim Zorn went 12-20 in two seasons. Then there's Mike Shanahan's 24-40 in four seasons.
Is there a pattern emerging here?
Before Snyder took over, the team enjoyed a proud winning tradition. They won three Super Bowls and played in five overall, having stellar teams in the 70's, 80's, and 90's. Before there was even a thing called The Super Bowl, the ball club won two national championships (both over the Chicago Bears) in 1937 and 1942.