The headlines that came from former Washington coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to go on the record — in exhaustive detail — regarding the misadventures of the franchise that traded up to get Robert Griffin III raise eyebrows. But there’s one important body-language reaction from Shanahan’s remarks that largely have been missed: A shoulder shrug.
Shanahan’s decision to speak so openly and candidly — and critically — regarding one of his former NFL bosses reflects an acknowledgment that the two-time Super Bowl winners chances of getting another NFL head-coaching job are slim and none. Whatever they were before his comments were published, his prospects are dimmer now, because owners don’t want to have to worry about a former coach putting the organization on blast after walking out the door, voluntarily or otherwise.
It’s clear from Jason Reid’s item at TheUndefeated.com that Shanahan took strong issue with owner Daniel Snyder. While plenty of other owners may not be surprised to learn that the D.C. dysfunction traced to the man who scrawled a signature on the checks, most if not all other owners will be reluctant to embrace a coach who has shown a willingness to share chapter-and-verse details about private team business.
None of this is really new or surprising, beyond Shanahan’s willingness to attach his name to his quotes. It became obvious in December 2013 that things had gone poorly for Shanahan, Griffin, and Snyder when ESPN reported that Shanahan had cleaned out his office a week before the NFC wild-card game that capped Griffin’s rookie season in 2012.
Based on Reid’s article, the gesture apparently didn’t help Shanahan in his effort to ensure that the owner would not undermine the coach. If it’s true that Shanahan was ready to walk before the 2012 season ended, it’s amazing that he didn’t quit roughly a month later, when Griffin (according to Shanahan) aired a variety of grievances and demanded changes to the offense in a manner that caused Shanahan to conclude the messages had originated with Snyder. (Reid’s article doesn’t mention the ESPN report that Shanahan was ready to walk away weeks before that meeting.)
Regardless of what did and didn’t happen prior to and after the drafting of Griffin, Shanahan’s words make it clear that what won’t be happening in the future is the hiring of Shanahan to coach an NFL team. Then again, it’s possible Shanahan already knows that his time in the NFL has ended, and that he’s simply trying to give his son (and former Washington offensive coordinator) Kyle’s slower-than-expected rise to a head-coaching job a boost by absolving him of responsibility for the many things that went wrong in Washington.