NFL Conspiracy Theory: Truth Behind Mike Shanahan's Donovan McNabb Benching

Game DayDogContributor IINovember 3, 2010

DETROIT - OCTOBER 31: Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan watches the action during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Redskins 37-25.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

If they won't say it, then I will.

To maintain the integrity of the game, Roger Goodell should investigate Mike Shanahan and his entire family. Somebody profited from the benching of Donovan McNabb and it definitely wasn't me!

I will admit that I enjoy placing a small wager or two on NFL games. I'm in a pick 'em league, an office pool and I bet with buddies. When I saw that the Redskins were three point underdogs to the Detroit Lions, I took the Redskins. Vegas insiders told me that the Matthew Stafford's mom & one other anonymous individual took the Lions. My gut tells me that person was Mike Shanahan.

A quick game recap of moments that didn't make sense:

When the Redskins scored to lead 19 - 14, the Redskins went for two. For people that play Madden, it's understandable to want to be up by 7. In the NFL however, most defenses are happy forcing a team to score a touchdown instead of losing by a game winning field goal. There was more than 11 minutes left, they should have taken the extra point and made it 20 - 14.

The Detroit Lions proceeded to drive 47 yards and score a touchdown with approximately 9 minutes remaining. With the score 19 - 20, they attempt to go for two. This time, it's the proper call to prevent being beaten by a game winning field goal. If the Redskins had taken the extra point, the score would've been 20 - 20 and the Lions would've settled for the extra point to take the lead by one 21 - 20. Instead we have a 19 - 20 game, Detroit in the lead.

With 8:05 left in the fourth quarter, the Redskins return a kickoff 96 yards. This makes the score 25 - 20 Redskins and again, they attempt an unnecessary two point conversion. Even if you don't trust your offense, you have to believe that your defense will make a stop and they did on the Lions next possession. An extra point makes this 26 - 20 Redskins. Now, if the Lions manage to score a touchdown, it wouldn't matter if they went for 2 or not (making the Lions score - 27 or 28 points) because the Redskins could win with a field goal (29 points).

At this point, I can't believe that with so much time left on the clock, a two minute warning and timeouts, they were going for two point conversions. I'll have to check, but I'm positive this game set an NFL record for the most 2 point conversion attempts in a quarter, if not game!

The Lions intercept McNabb with 4:32 remaining and drive 36 yards in 7 plays. Forced to get a touchdown, the Lions go for it on 4th and goal and succeed. They now have the lead 25 - 26 and attempt a two point conversion, so a Redskins field goal would send the game into overtime. This time it is again, a proper call. The score is now 25 - 28, Lions in the lead. If the Redskins did the math, they would've taken the extra points and been down by 1 point. Shanahan has too much experience to leave extra points on the field in close games.

After a first down holding penalty that forced a first and 20, the Redskins went to the air and got a bunch of incompletions. Faced with a 4th and 10, McNabb gets sacked for an 8 yard loss. The Lions watch the Redskins burn thru their timeouts and kick a field goal after taking 20 seconds off the clock. The score is now 25 - 31 Lions and as a defense, this is what you want. Force the other team to drive the length of the field to score a game winning touchdown instead of losing to a 52 yard field goal.

With 1:45 remaining and the ball at the Redskins 30, the Redskins insert Rex Grossman. What? Quick name the QB's you want with the ball during a 2 minute drill. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers - are probably on your list & I actually named retired players as my mind raced to recall deadly QB's. Was McNabb on your list? Surely you could argue that McNabb could give you a chance to win.

It's automatic that you would have McNabb over Grossman. Many of us would take Sam Bradford, Josh Freeman and Matthew Stafford over Rex Grossman at this point. If McNabb was in a motorized wheelchair, I would put him in the shotgun formation and still start him over Grossman. Believe it or not, I'm a Dallas Cowboy fan at heart, respect is respect.

You know this doesn't have a happy ending. Grossman fumbles and Suh walks into the end zone for his first NFL touchdown. The score becomes 25 - 37, Lions on top and then they try for ANOTHER two point conversion. You're up by 12 points with 1:36 left and you're still going for two? That's a classless move by the Lions. I was expecting an onside kick after the two point conversion attempt.

The combination of unnecessary two point conversion attempts and the prevention of giving McNabb a chance to orchestrate a game winning drive leads me to believe that the Shanahan family was betting heavy on the Detroit Lions. I wouldn't have a conspiracy theorist attitude if McNabb had been injured or if Rex Grossman had entered the game for a trick play. But days later, the head coach still doesn't provide a firm, decisive or clearly logical explanation, I need Roger Goodell to investigate.

The final evidence has been Shanahan's wavering on the explanation of McNabb's benching. First, Grossman knows the two minute offense better. Survey Says - X! Next, McNabb had poor cardiovascular endurance and couldn't go down the field on a two minute drill. Survey Says - XX!

With two strikes on the board, there's only two answers that I'll accept at this point.

1. Shanahan needs to admit he had to make sure that the Lions covered the point spread.
2. A bunch of fans in Buffalo Wild Wings really wanted the Lions to win by 12.

Is there an answer from Shanahan that you can live with?