Mike Shanahan Fired as Head Coach of Washington Redskins

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2013

Getty Images/Jeff Zelevansky

Following a 3-13 season where nothing seemed to go right, the Washington Redskins have fired Mike Shanahan, the team announced.

ESPN's Adam Caplan (via Sulia) provided a statement from Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and executive vice president and general manager Bruce Allen:

“Redskins fans deserve a better result,” Owner Daniel M. Snyder said. “We thank Mike for his efforts on behalf of the Redskins. We will focus on what it takes to build a winning team, and my pledge to this organization and to this community is to continue to commit the resources and talent necessary to put this team back in the playoffs.” 

“We are going to take a smart, step-by-step approach to finding the right coach to return the Redskins to where we believe we should be,” Executive Vice President/General Manager Bruce Allen said. “We will analyze accurately and honestly all of the decisions that were made over the past year."

The Redskins and Mark Maske of The Washington Post documented Shanahan's press conference:

Mike Jones of The Washington Post was first to report the news:  

The Redskins entered the year with high expectations after winning the NFC East in 2012. Despite the fact that he had major knee surgery in the offseason, Robert Griffin III was coming off a stellar rookie campaign that catalyzed the fanbase, and he was able to return by the start of the season.

Unfortunately, the Rookie of the Year was not able to match his previous production, and it has led to poor play throughout the roster. 

Washington lost its first three games, and things never really picked up on the field after that. The team ended up finishing in last place in the NFC East for the third time in four years under Shanahan.

"You always want to compete and you’re disappointed when you lose. It’s not a fun profession when you lose," Shanahan said following the team's Week 17 loss to the Giants, per Brian Tinsman of Redskins.com. "To be in this situation is something I haven’t experienced before so I’m very disappointed."

Meanwhile, the problems off the field appeared to be just as bad. ESPN's Dan Graziano reported that the coach planned to leave at the end of the 2012 season due to conflicts with owner Daniel Snyder:

Disillusioned with the way Snyder was running the organization, Shanahan cleaned out his office in advance of January's wild-card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks and expected to leave the team whenever the season ended, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The report stated that Shanahan changed his mind after Griffin suffered his knee injury in the playoffs, as that would have appeared to be the cause of him leaving.

Daniel Snyder introduces Mike Shanahan as head coach in 2010.
Daniel Snyder introduces Mike Shanahan as head coach in 2010.Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

While the coach refused to comment on the report, Mark Maske of The Washington Post reported that this was enough to damage the relationship between him and the team's owner:

Members of the Washington Redskins’ front office are skeptical that the relationship between Coach Mike Shanahan and owner Daniel Snyder can be repaired to enable Shanahan to possibly remain with the team beyond this season to coach the final year of his contract, several people familiar with the situation said Sunday.

The last straw might have come prior to Week 15, when Shanahan decided to bench Griffin in favor of Kirk Cousins for the remainder of the season.

Clearly, the coach and management never repaired their relationship, and Shanahan was eventually relieved of his duties.  Not only that, but the Redskins also fired Shanahan's son, Kyle (via Chick Hernandez of CSN Washington):

Griffin talked about Shanahan following the announcement (via the Redskins):

The 61-year-old Shanahan has been a head coach in the NFL for 24 seasons with the Los Angeles Raiders, Denver Broncos and Redskins. In that time, he won four division championships and two Super Bowls, both of which came with John Elway as his starting quarterback in Denver.  

It is unknown at this time whether Shanahan will continue to pursue a career in coaching, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports previously reported that he could be a candidate to fill the vacancy with the Houston Texans if he were available, which he now is.

Either way, it is likely the experienced coach will be in high demand this offseason.


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