Redskins’ coaches statement sets back coaches’ cause

Getty Images

Rosenthal recently posted the news that all 17 Redskins coaches applied their John Hancocks to a statement disavowing the brief filed by the NFL Coaches Association and expressing support for the owners in the labor dispute with the players.

Regardless of whether the move was instigated by head coach Mike Shanahan, owner Daniel Snyder, or by someone else within the organization or whether the coaches crafted the statement on their own, the decision of the Redskins coaches to affirmatively and unanimously break ranks from the NFLCA represents a significant departure from the coaches’ long-term self-interests.  The NFLCA brief, which we’d be shocked to learn each man who signed the statement read and understood, argues that the legal tactics the owners are using against the players eventually could be used against coaches.

That said, the unwillingness of the Redskins’ coaches to allow their names to be associated with the NFLCA legal brief submitted in support of the players represents a recognition that their short-term self-interests are tied to embracing the folks who sign the paychecks.  The speed and zeal with which the Redskins’ coaches reacted to the NFLCA brief demonstrates the true power that NFL teams continue to have over their coaches.  Given that there are far more men with the skills to coach players at a high level than there are players to perform at a high level, any uprising by coaches would be handled faster than Ronald Reagan firing all of the nation’s air traffic controllers.

The ultimate message:  “If you guys don’t want to do the job for the money we’re willing to pay, we’ll find someone else who will.”

Thus, to the extent that the NFLCA brief represented a trial balloon from an organization that has been toying with the concept of taking a stand on behalf of all coaches, possibly through the formation of a union, today’s development confirms that there’s a long way to go before the coaches will jeopardize their ability to coach by trying to collectively fight for more money or greater benefits or better terms.

Though the move has given the owners a leg up when it comes to their relationship with coaches, the Redskins could — key word, could — face a specific consequence at some point in the future.  When the labor dispute ends, and end it eventually will, players could be less likely to join the Redskins, if they have options elsewhere.  As a result, Snyder and company possibly will have to overpay for free agents in order to lure free agents to D.C.

The specific impact, if any, on the ability of the Redskins to attract players against whom the coaches have necessarily taken a stand depends on various factors, including whether and to what extent the NFLPA* makes a stink about the move.  (Given that NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith is a lifelong Redskins fan, it’ll be interesting to see whether a stink is indeed made.)

Finally, the statement from the Redskins’ coaches illustrates a point that we recently made regarding the filing of a “friend of the court” brief by the so-called “Sports Fan Coalition.”  Any group that purports to speak for all members of a class absent clear and complete authorization to do so necessarily doesn’t speak for all members of a group.  If other coaching staffs follow the lead of the Redskins’ coaches, there’s a chance in this case that the NFLCA ultimately will have spoken for no members of the group it purports to represent.

41 responses to “Redskins’ coaches statement sets back coaches’ cause

  1. “The NFLCA brief, which we’d be shocked to learn each man who signed the statement read and understood,”

    According to Rosenthal, no one signed the brief. Is it not possible no active coaches even knew about the brief?

  2. Do we really have to go out of our way to constantly make the Redskins look bad?

    I mean I know they do enough of that themselves, but we’ve definitely been reaching lately

    >>Redskins fan by the way

  3. Did anyone see the NFC East standings last year. Of course Shanahan doesn’t want to get back to football. The sooner they get back to football the sooner he is out of the league.

  4. HAHA did they really expect support out of egotistical Shanahan and his staff? He wont even support his players. But wiht that said, no coach, if he wants to keep coaching should publicly support the NFLCA brief. But the premise of the brief is correct.

    Still laughing, long as he is SKins coach they will be last. Illegal schemes and Elway are history. Not a good coach, never was.

  5. Maybe, just maybe, these coaches are thankful for the opportunity given to them by the owners to coach a sport they love at the highest level, and thankful for the large salaries and benefits they get, and disagree with the tactics of the NFLPA and wish not to be associated with this legal mess. Just a thought.

  6. Some people blame the players and some blame the owners for this mess. Now the coaches are taking sides.

    I’m starting to blame the commissioner. I think he should be the commissioner OF the NFL, not the commissioner FOR the owners. Yes, I know he’s hired and paid by the owners. But that should change.

    I think the players should start demanding that the commissioner should be selected by both the owners and the players. If they disagree on it, a system can easily be worked out to name a commissioner, just as two sides can get a mediator. The commissioner would be paid by both the owners and the union in equal shares. Either side could fire him.

    That way the commissioner would have a personal stake in getting a deal done. And you better believe it would be a lot closer to getting done than it is now. As it is, Goodell is nothing more or less than a shill for the owners and does nothing to make them move off their position while doing what he can to make the players move.

  7. DeMo is a Skins fan??? That explains it…this whole mess has Redskins stank all over it…figures.

    All 17 coaches signed it…yeah that sounds really genuine. In their defense, they did have to coach Haynesworth…

  8. ok i have no respect for the shanahans but to say they made this decision because the owners sign their paychecks and they are viewing short term is unfair. maybe they honestly agree with the owners based on principal and because the owners are acting professionally. to say they did so they wouldn’t anger their bosses isn’t fair to them. but still the shanahans should be fired. they’re terrible coaches.

  9. This is all a bunch of BS. Instead of fans arguing about why their division rival sucks big time, we’re arguing about why the owners and players, and now coaches can’t act like professionals and supposed businessmen to do what is best for the conglomerate that pays the bills, which is the NFL. I’d rather be called a d bag for not liking a particular team or player than because I support the players or the owners. At least I know why I hate a particular team or player. I’m really not sure on why these “professionals” are fighting because they won’t talk to each other and an adequate amount of information from either side really hasn’t been released.

  10. Sigh, another embarrassing example of Daniel Snyder’s tyrannical grip and influence. As a former season ticket holder and life-long fan, I am inching closer and closer to rooting for ‘gasp’ Baltimore.

  11. There’s a different mentality amongst coaches. When the last time you heard a coach say “I gotta get mine”? When’s the last time a coach held out mid-contract for more money?

    It’s lower pay and longer term employment in a field that spans pro, college, and even high school levels. If you can coach effectively, you’re going to have a job….period…..and you’re going to continue to have a job for several decades.

    And, frankly, the coaches union is full of intelligent 40 and 50 year old men who don’t just need to memorize plays, they need to invent the plays. The players union is full of big dumb kids who think 50% of the pie is fair and 48% of the pie is equivalent to being a slave and who can’t manage their finances well enough to keep from dumping billions of dollars a year into depreciating assets and ending up broke by age 32 after having made more in 5 years than most people will make in a lifetime.

  12. Midget Dan must have twisted their arms: “if you don’t sign this statement, I will make a hell of your life”. He might even accuse them of anti-semitism.

  13. When free agency begins, available players won’t hold these statements against the Redskins. Coaches have to do what they have to do just like the players will have to make some concessions after the June 3rd hearing. Job security is important no matter what work you do.

    I can’t wait until we actually get football back so we can read updates about REAL news.

  14. It is also true that the league doesn’t necessarily speak for all the owners. A few owners have already broken ranks and expressed their frustration with the lockout.

    Good luck with Shanahan finding any top coaches to join the Redskins. With such a chickench*t group there, they must be last on any competent coach’s list.

  15. The Skins are not the WORST team in the NFL. They just aren’t afraid to make changes and take risks. Snyder had nothing to do with the coaches’ decision. Again, people continue to overestimate Snyder’s influence on the team. Schottenheimer, Gibbs and now Shanahan had/have full control of the team. Idiot Cerrato had it during the other years….but not Snyder.

  16. Someone else said what i have said for years. The comish should be paid for by both sides. And Should not be beholden to either side. Though i am a “socialist” and think that pro sports have such an effect on society as a whole that i think Football and baseball comishes should be voted on by the people. And if the owners don’t like it, well then they can stop taking tax payer money and tax breaks and anti-trust exemptions. Of course i am still waiting for the goofs that run this site to do some real reporting and stop reporting on what Vick is doing or what low rent full backs have to say about the lock out.

    How bout looking up what right we have as tax payers that have payed for these stadiums and give these tax breaks and Anti trust exempt statuses to these teams to force these people to settle now. I know we don’t want government involved and I think for the most part they should stay out. that being said i payed in for the stadium here in philadelphia and we give tax breaks to the team witch takes money away from things that could be good for the people on my city, and we do that so we can have the distraction from our crappy working man lives. So I wanna know if we have any recourse as a country, state, and City?

  17. Hells bells! even the coaches can’t decide which side to be on. They are as stupid as the players and none of them are making the kind of money the players already are. Enough of this garbage.

  18. andyreidisfat says:May 26, 2011 5:56 PM

    So I wanna know if we have any recourse as a country, state, and City?

    This might be a little far-fetched to a lot of you folks, but, DID YOU EVER HEAR ABOUT THE BALLOT BOX IN ELECTIONS?

    If you are not happy with the actions of your representatives, and think that you have better ideas, either run for their positions, or vote them out and get one who more closely aligns with your views.

  19. If you are not happy with the actions of your representatives, and think that you have better ideas, either run for their positions, or vote them out and get one who more closely aligns with your views.


    This is the biggest lie they’ve been telling for generations. If you vote them all out and vote brand new ones in, you’d have the same problems; because the new ones would be paid off by the same guys that’s paying off the old ones now.

  20. @ sickcuz

    Is that cynicism I detect…lol..

    certainly, you are not referring to yourself in the sell-out category? IF you ran for office and were elected, you are telling us that you would sell your butt to the highest bidder? Right?

  21. It seems to me, that as long as the owners agree to pay the coaches 100% during the lockout, the coaches should return the favor by backing the owners.

    I can understand coaches who are taking paycuts backing the NFLCA statement. The rest of them owe their owners.

    To the extent that some of the owners are actively debating whether or not to provide full pay, the NFLCA could be the straw that breaks the camels back.

    (And if Snyder told Shanahan that he was planing on doing this, I’d guess that the coaches under Shanahan would all gladly get together and sign a letter backing the owners in exchange for keeping 100% of their salaries.)

  22. @ sickcuz

    I ran and got only slightly more votes than Ryan Leaf got in the hall of fame balloting 🙁

    But I am gonna run again…gotta prove those other 3 people that they were right the first time.

  23. I am sure when one of these coaches move on to another team they will be welcome with open arms, take your pick, do we smell a rat or a scab. Bill

  24. At the end of the day, the coaches need to get the players to respond to them. how are players going to respond to guys who were against them? if players dont trust their coaches, that’s going to be a tough locker room.

  25. You have a commissioner who “governs” the NFL. He has authority to fine players and set policy, but he’s selected and paid by the owners. Consequently, he’s really just a mouthpiece for the owners.

    This is wrong. He should be selected and paid for by both sides, owners and players.

    The government should get involved in this mess. Why? Because the taxpayers are supporting the owners’ quest for riches. How? By financing all or part of their stadiums. Here where I live the state treasury ( taxpayers ) pays the local NFL team millions of dollars to play in the state-owned stadium. Taxpayers are subsidizing the team owner’s private business enterprise which is engaged in interstate commerce.

    Taxpayers have a substantial interest in this business, so Congress has the duty to protect the taxpayer.

  26. Mike Shannahan is certifiably nuts period. By the end of this season, he’ll be fired and put out to pasture. Dan Snyder will pay consequences with players for this strong armed tactic.

    The faces of the lockout are quite clear, Robert Kraft, Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson, The Packers President, Pat Bowlen and Steven Ross.
    Players can blame these particular owners for taking their income and benefits. Dallas owner Jerry Jones and Panthers owner Jerry Richardson are the most offensive men of greed. Free agents and players can take revenge once the matter is settled. Give them have hearted effort for the money they lose.

    Fans already saw Jerry Jones in action during the superbowl hosting event, where he ruined fans day and tried to oversell seats for a buck. No wonder is team never plays up to their talent level.

    To all the free agents out there…. you can dictate teams in the playoffs by which teams you instruct your agents to visit. Give the player friendly teams like Cleveland a chance. Our owner is invisible and Mike Holmgren is a player’s president. We may not be flashy as a city, the fans go above and beyond for players.

    Ask Josh Cribbs about fans putting up billboards that said pay the man. Ask Peyton Hillis about the fans who saw to it he got on the cover of Madden, after being plucked off the unwanted Denver Broncos bench.

    Ask Clay Mathews Sr, Brian Sipe, Bernie Kosar, Handford Dixon, Reggie Rucker, Kevin Mack, Dick Ambrose, Doug Deiken, Greg and Mike Pruitt, Dave Logan, Joe Haden, TJ Ward, Colt McCoy, and even Lawrence Vickers and Jerome Harrison, how the fans treat their players like gold.

    Come to Cleveland where there’s a real challenge to do something special. Reward the fans they patiently supported teams for 46 years without a title. Give us a chance in Cleveland and stick it to Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft, like they are sticking it to you right now.

  27. Once again Mike’s comments show he is firmly in the owner’s corner. The reality is with only one team signing the statement, it looks like the coaches were bullied by an owner with a less than sterling reputation. That isn’t the drastic issue Mike is making it out to be.

  28. Given that there are far more men with the skills to coach players at a high level than there are players to perform at a high level
    I can’t believe no one thought this statement was questionable…at best. I couldn’t DISAGREE more.
    Almost every team has at LEAST 2-3 really good players. If a team is LUCKY they have 1-2 good coaches counting the entire staff.
    I haven’t bothered to do the math but I bet % wise there are far fewer guys who are able to be great coaches than there are great players in the league.
    Do I agree that coaches get better with more talent available to them? ABSOLUTELY…talented players are valuable. But great coaches be they position coaches or coordinators or head coaches are very very rare. Look at teams’ histories and I also bet you will find far fewer great coaches than you will players (% wise). Just as a good coach can make a player look better, a player can do better or worse based on coaching or system etc. See Branch, Deion, etc. If you give me Belichick and 53 UDFA’s I put their chances of winning as better than a mediocre coach and better (say 8-8 level) talent.

  29. I know it is hard to come up with news items and analysis during the strike, but this is a new low for this webite. What basis do you have to speculate on how this will affect the team’s ability to attract free agents? Put yourself in the position of an highly paid (but likely financially irresponsible) 25-year athlete. In the scheme of things, are you going to say: “Hmmm, I like the team and the location and the money is good, but I am really cheesed about how the coaches reacted to that amicus brief. No! Absolutely not!”)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.