Mike Shanahan's Shot: Can the Washington Redskins Become the 2009 Saints?

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 27:  Mike Shanahan, Head Coach of the Washington Redskins  looks on during their preseason game against the New York Jets on August 27, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium  in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

It's quite normal to hear a buzz this early on in the season in regard to a possible championship repeat.  This time around, it is the New Orleans Saints who are the featured team, and as many of you have most likely noted, just about every sports magazine or media show has been discussing this debate quite heavily.

Historically speaking, the chances of a repeat are nearly a million to one.  So far only seven teams have been successful in reaching this historic feet, with the oldest being the the 1960's Green Bay Packers, and the most recent being the 2000's New England Patriots.

For the most part, it's fair to say that it takes a lot of character to repeat this momentous occasion.  Firstly, all things have to go right for said team in just about every regular season game, and to reach the big dance for the second year in a row requires tremendous work ethic along with a desire to win that cannot fade, due to the previous championship success.

More importantly though, it's the talent on and off the field that makes the chances of a repeat all that more likely, as obviously, a good quarterback and a great coach go hand in hand when it comes to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy high.

While we're on the topic of the New Orleans Saints, the past statement relates to the reigning Super Bowl champions in just about every aspect. 

It feels like years ago now, but realistically it was only four seasons ago that saw head coach Sean Payton take over a previously 3-13 franchise.  The days were dull in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, and much like the Detroit Lions of new, the paper bag aisle in the local Wal Mart was sold out for much of the season.

When Sean Payton originally took over this former tragedy of a team, his first step was to bring in what he deemed to be a "good" quarterback.  Therefore, the birth of Drew Brees fresh from the San Diego Chargers appeared in front of Saints fans' eyes, and from then on things continued to look up for a team that seemingly had no positive future.

However, the Saints story is complete.  Sure the city of New Orleans would love a shot at repeating, but at the end of the day the Saints have delivered their fans with a trophy, and have proven themselves to be a legitimate team in the league.

So on this note, it's time for a new team to step up to the plate.  It's time for a newcomer to shock the world, and grasp the Lombardi Trophy in five years time and have everybody saying "Wow, what a ride, I surely wasn't expecting that".

But who will this mystery team be exactly?

I mean, there are several likely candidates, and if I were to name a few off the top of my head, teams such as Miami, Green Bay, Dallas and Baltimore are all favorable teams to put forward the goods in the coming years.

Still, these teams I've just listed aren't exactly surprising.  No, for a real shocker to be seen by the whole world a team needs to rise from the ranks similar to the New Orleans Saints, and really take the world by storm.

And who better to fit that mold than the Washington Redskins?

Yes, the Redskins.  Say what you will about the team right now, they show very similar characteristics to the New Orleans Saints some four years ago.

Firstly, the Redskins have brought in Mike Shanahan.  I think we're all aware of this man's impact on the game of football, and when it comes to pure motivation and team leadership, the former Denver Bronco coach easily takes the cake.

When the Redskins went ahead and announced that Shanahan had become the leading man, I think everybody stood to attention.  Here was a guy that was renowned for winning, and for him to take over such a deprived franchise like the Washington Redskins, had fans sitting back in their recliners pondering the possibilities.

Secondly, the Redskins have also brought in a new quarterback.  As much as some Redskins fans may miss Jason Campbell, the arrival of Donovan McNabb from Philadelphia does look promising right now, even though he may miss the season opener this year.

Not only was this a right step toward winning, Mike Shanahan followed Sean Payton's thinking of "gaining a good quarterback" even though Shanahan more or less didn't intentionally copy Payton's original strategy.

Now I know what your thinking,  "Just because the Redskins have gained two promising characters, doesn't mean that they will be Super Bowl champions any time soon".  While this is for the most part true, there is also a case to be made for Washington, when it comes to the NFC East division.

Let's look at it plainly, the Giants have already won a Super Bowl.  Sure they could win one again sometime soon, but this is a very young team, who has notable struggles at the linebacker position, not to mention a barrage of very young and inexperienced wide receivers.

Eli Manning is a good quarterback, but the other factor here is that Tom Coughlin's days may be running dry.  The Giants have had a good stint with Coughlin, but sooner or later this team was going to enter a rebuilding stage, and the process of that has just begun this season.

Away from the Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles are also a very young side.  They are now minus a good quarterback, and with young Kevin Kolb stepping in, it is fair to say that the Eagles may be in for a rough year or two ahead, considering their tough schedule.

DeSean Jackson is still in the green and white, however it is hard to find much talent away from himself and Asante Samuel.  The Eagles have been known to rebound against the odds, but right now they look to be down a little.

Finally, we reach the Dallas Cowboys.  Perhaps this is the Cowboys year to win it all, and if it is, that's great for the Washington Redskins.  Dallas do have a overly talented side, but if New York and Philadelphia both slip a little, in slides Washington.

For years the Redskins have always been distant with their Texas rivals, and maybe in the next five years, we'll see the two move a little closer, and reenact the Green Bay vs. Minnesota rivalry that is currently occurring.

For those of you reading this and taking this thought extremely seriously, I suggest you don't.  This is merely just an idea to play with over the coming years, as the Redskins do resemble what the Saints set out to do four years ago.

Will fate reign true again?

We'll wait and see, but if all things go to plan and Mike Shanahan, Donovan McNabb and others excel not only this year but in the future, we may see ole' uncle Lombardi back in the nations capital in no time.


Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also an NFL columnist for Real Sports Net and a Green Bay Packers writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters. Ryan is also a contributing writer for Detroit Lions Talk, Gack Sports and Generation Y Sports.  Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.