Washington Redskins: Eight Most Embarrassing Moments in Dan Snyder Era
It's unfortunately a long way from over, but the Dan Snyder Era that spans a little over the past decade contains plenty of embarrassing times for the Washington Redskins.
Because of countless free agency debacles and more than a handful of useless coaches, this article could push for more than 100 pages.
But, because I'm a true Redskins fan who understands the pain, I've consolidated it into 10.
1999: Dan Snyder Purchases Redskins Franchise
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Why not start with the root of all evil for the Washington Redskins of the past decade?
Snyder bought the Redskins franchise in 1999 for $800 million, with the deal including FedEx Field (previously Jack Kent Cooke Stadium).
Under Snyder, the Redskins are just 86-106 and the team has gone through seven coaches in 12 seasons. Whether it be signing washed-up free agents or suing the elderly for faulting on their ridiculously priced season tickets during a nationwide recession, Snyder hasn't given fans anything to love.
Last season, Snyder brought on Mike Shanahan as head coach and Bruce Allen as acting general manager. Hopefully, with Shanahan and Allen actually running the show, Snyder has learned what the role of an NFL owner is really all about.
Here's to Snyder limiting the embarrassment of himself and Redskins Nation by keeping his hands out of anything football-related.
1999: Divisional Playoffs
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Technically this game was played on Jan. 15, 2000, but it was a part of the 1999 playoffs...Snyder's first year of reign.
Led by rookie Shaun King, the Bucs were backed into a corner with the Redskins leading 13-0 in the third quarter. But, melting down like the typical Redskins of late, the Bucs were able to rally by holding the 'Skins to just 32 yards in the second half and forcing Brad Johnson into an interception and then a fumble late in the game.
It was almost as if the Redskins didn't show up for that fourth quarter, as six-play drives of 73 yards were pulled out by the Buccaneers and King put on his best veteran impression late in the game.
The Redskins had an opportunity to win the game in the final seconds with a 51-yard field goal. Unfortunately, then-center Dan Turk botched the snap to holder Brad Johnson and the Redskins failed to convert.
It was a tough loss for the Redskins team and the fans definitely felt it. But I don't know if any of us had any idea what was in store for the next 10 years under Snyder.
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Throughout his reign, Snyder has demonstrated as much skill at hiring coaches as he did at signing free agents. Close to none.
With seven coaches in 12 years, Snyder has very little to show for his hires. After inheriting Norv Turner in 1999, it didn't take long for Snyder to begin his tear,as no coach has ever lasted more than three years in DC under Snyder.
After firing Turner in 2000, Snyder promoted staff coach Terry Robiskie to become interim head coach. Although Robiskie posted a record of 1-2, everyone pretty much agreed that he wasn't the answer.
In 2001, Snyder hired long-time Kansas City head coach Marty Schottenheimer. After beginning his first season with an 0-5 start, Schottenheimer took hold of his Redskins team and finished the season 8-8, barely missing the playoffs.
If there was ever a good move made by Snyder in the past 12 years, it was hiring Marty Schottenheimer. But, because Schottenheimer was smarter than Snyder and he knew that then-general manager Vinny Cerrato was a cancer, Snyder fired Schottenheimer after just one season.
In 2002, Snyder hired the Ol' Ball Coach Steve Spurrier away from the University of Florida, giving him the most lucrative coaching contract in the NFL at that time.
Spurrier would go on to try and make the Redskins his Florida alum purgatory and he would quickly realize that the NFL was not college football. After going 12-20 in two seasons, Spurrier was, not surprisingly, shown the door (resigned...with force, perhaps fired)
The legendary Joe Gibbs returned in 2004 when Snyder offered him a five-year deal worth $25 million. Gibbs had been out of the game for quite some time, but it didn't stop Redskins fans from believing that the Messiah had returned and he was going to give Washington another Super Bowl.
Obviously it didn't work out, as Gibbs went 30-34 and left with one year remaining on his deal.
And then of course, we have the coaching debacle of the era. In 2008, Snyder needed a coach to take the place of Gibbs. However, before hiring his head coach, Snyder and Cerrato found it necessary to find their offensive coordinator first...hiring former Seahawks quarterback coach Jim Zorn.
With all potential head coaches knowing that Snyder was a kook and that the possible staff would already be implemented whether they liked it or not, Snyder couldn't find a head coach.
Snyder had nowhere to turn and eventually ran out of options, eventually leading to the promotion/hire of the inexperienced Jim Zorn as the new head coach of the Washington Redskins.
It sounded bad and it ended even worse. Zorn was fired after going 12-20 in two seasons.
So now we're here. With Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen running the show, we can all feel a little bit better for the first time in a long time.
Without question, I would say that this latest coaching hire is the most promising since Schottenheimer and it eventually could be the best under Snyder.
Missing DeSean Jackson in 2008 Draft
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It's understood that referring back to past drafts and discovering who your team could have selected is one of those "coulda-shoulda-woulda" moments and nothing ever really comes about besides frustration.
But the 2008 NFL Draft was a disgusting one for the Redskins. Blessed by Vinny Cerrato and without their first selection until 34th overall in the second round, the Redskins decided to go with wide receiver Devin Thomas.
Although Washington needed some help at the wide receiver position, the general consensus was that the one-hit wonder Devin Thomas was a bit of a risk. Transferring from a community college, posting crazy numbers in just one season and then forgoing his senior year didn't sound all that convincing.
Not to mention, there was a proven young man by the name of DeSean Jackson still on the board who just oozed with talent.
The Redskins picked again at No. 48, surely they wouldn't allow Jackson to stick around. No, they did. Washington selected tight end Fred Davis at No. 48, adding him to a team position that was held down by fan favorite Chris Cooley. Jackson was selected at No. 49 by the division rival Philadelphia Eagles.
Need I mention how this one turned out?
Devin Thomas was released by the Redskins in October 2010 for lack of production and reportedly because he was more interested in the extracurricular than the game of football itself.
Fred Davis remains with the Redskins and he's a definite talent. However, with Cooley on board, Davis has seen limited action, and the fans continue to wait for his production.
And DeSean Jackson? Oh, he's nothing more than a human highlight reel who floods the ESPN network with incredible plays and unmatched speed. Jackson is a two-time Pro Bowler already and was named an All-Pro in 2009.
We Did What for Brad Johnson?
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Although the transaction itself did not occur under Snyder's watch, I'm including this Brad Johnson robbery because he actually played under Snyder. I am not blaming Snyder for this trade, nor am I blaming Cerrato (who wasn't employed at the time) for Johnson...but it has to be said.
In 1998, then-general manager Charley Casserly traded a first-, a future second- and a third-round draft pick to the Minnesota Vikings in return for 30-year-old Brad Johnson. It was a move that was apparently necessary after Trent Green left for St. Louis.
In Johnson's first season in Washington, he earned a trip to the Pro Bowl and led the Redskins to the playoffs, throwing for over 4,000 yards and 24 touchdowns. Great!
The following season wasn't quite so peachy. Johnson was benched for poor play in 2000 and the recently-acquired Jeff George was given the reins. George sucked, obviously, and the Redskins eventually made Tony Banks the team's starter.
That's right, folks. We went from trading THREE draft picks to the Vikings to ultimately making Tony Banks the Redskins' starting quarterback. Tony Banks.
Countless Free Agent Signings
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Since taking ownership, Dan Snyder has earned a reputation for opening his wallet during every free agency period--going after the best has-beens available.
In fact, it was rumored at one point amongst NFL players that, if you wanted to get paid, you went to Washington. The results of Snyder's free agent signings have been minimal-to-none and they're nothing more than an embarrassment to the franchise.
Without explanation, let's just rattle off a few free agents under Snyder...
Jeff George (4 years, $18 million)
Mark Carrier (5 years, $15.9 million)
Bruce Smith (5 years, $25 million)
Deion Sanders (7 years, $56 million)
Jeremiah Trotter (7 years, $35 million)
Jessie Armstead (3 years, $4.5 million)
Michael Barrow (3 years, $3 million)
Adam Archuleta (6 years, $30 million)
Antwaan Randle El (7 years, $31 million)
Albert Haynesworth (7 years, $100 million)
DeAngelo Hall (6 years, $54 million)
And the list goes on, not mentioning ridiculous trades and acquisitions. Seriously, what NFL team's fan base could stand this?
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Speaking of Albert Haynesworth, this cat deserves some of his own recognition for being such an embarrassment to the Redskins.
On the first day of free agency in 2009, the Redskins signed Haynesworth to a seven-year deal worth $100 million--making him one of the highest-paid players in the NFL.
Haynesworth's production in his first year in Washington was despicable, as he was in such horrible shape that he appeared to miss more snaps than he played.
The following season, Shanahan came to Washington and brought on Jim Haslett as his defensive coordinator. With a newly-implemented 3-4 scheme, Haynesworth refused to play the nose tackle position due to his disliking of double-teams. Seriously.
And if that's not embarrassing enough, Haynesworth's actions off the field and away from football are just as bad. Since joining the Redskins, Haynesworth has punched a guy after a traffic dispute, felt up a waitress at a rooftop lounge and allegedly knocked up an exotic dancer in Miami and left her with no financial assistance.
The latest rumors regarding Haynesworth state that he will likely be released before the 2011 season.
What a steal this guy was!
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There's not a whole lot to say about Cerrato that hasn't already been said before. The guy was easily one of the crappiest general managers (or acting figures) in the history of the NFL.
After serving as a lead scout and Director of Player Personnel for the Super Bowl Champion 49ers, Cerrato was hired by Snyder in 1999.
Whether Cerrato was actually calling the shots or just serving as the "yes-man" for Snyder's wild and crazy wishes, his free agent signings, trades and acquisitions throughout his tenure in Washington are downright embarrassing.
But seeing as how Cerrato started his time in Washington with absurd transactions and ended his time in Washington with absurd transactions, one has to wonder how this guy stayed employed for 11 years.
Usually, if you suck at your job, you're fired. Not the case with Vinny.
Thanks, Vinny, for placing this team in a hole that the current regime is relentlessly working on to repair.