He’s been the coach of three teams, but made his mark with the Denver Broncos, winning back-to-back Super Bowls and tallying 12 seasons with a record of .500 or better.
He has since come to the Redskins and helped turn the franchise around from the laughingstock of the NFC East, to division champions.
There’s no denying that Shanahan has a impressive resumé, but what makes him a Hall of Famer?
First, you have to narrow down what makes a coach worthy of being inducted into Canton. Obviously, wins are very important, but coaching is much more than that. To have success in the NFL as a head coach, you not only have to be great yourself, but you have to be able to bring out the greatness in others.
In addition to wins and greatness, Super Bowls are obviously important. Consistency is also an important factor; the ability to sustain at least a solid and respectable win-loss record throughout a career.
When looking at these aspects of a Hall of Fame coach, Shanahan fits the bill rather well. He has a total win-loss record of 167-125, along with two Super Bowl rings, two conference championships and six division championships.
He now continues to develop his legacy with his new generation of Redskins, and will likely see more playoff success before he leaves the team.
While you can’t say, “Ah yeah, he’ll win a couple more Super Bowls,” with any sort of certainty, Shanny will likely get another shot at winning a championship before it’s all said and done.
Although his teams haven’t been particularly great since he last raised the Lombardi trophy, things are definitely looking up for him and the Redskins.
A big knock on Shanahan for a lot of people is that he never won a Super Bowl without the legendary John Elway. Well, Chuck Noll never won a championship without Terry Bradshaw, and odds are Bill Belichick won’t win one without Tom Brady. Think of it this way: Elway never won a championship without Shanahan.
He went to three Super Bowls and lost each of them, but once he and Shanahan linked up they found a winning formula and won two Super Bowls within Shanahan’s first four years as the team’s head coach.
There’s that “bringing the greatness out in others” thing again. Surely Elway was a great player, but his play and the play of his team elevated to new heights when Shanahan was at the helm.
The bottom line is that Shanahan deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but he probably won’t be a first-ballot candidate. The timing of his induction will depend on how his tenure with the Redskins pans out.
If he averages just ten wins for the next two years, then he will surpass Bill Parcells and push himself into the top 10 all-time winningest coaches (regular season only). At that point, there would only be one other coach who is in the top 10 and not in The Hall, and that would be Belichick, a definite lock. That’s pretty impressive company.
Even if he doesn’t break the top 10, he is still one of most established and decorated coaches to ever put on a headset, and we will see his bust in Canton one day.