In our weekly post where we shine the light on a group or an individual that played through pain or sickness, we have tended to go the unconventional route. We talked about John Riggins and his famous hangovers. We talked about the Redskins fans that have girded their loins for a weekly dose of pain and suffering.
This week, it occurred to me that Mike Shanahan has muscled through this season in the face of some adversity. Let me start off by saying that Mike Shanahan is not without his faults. I am not even smart enough to correctly identify them all, but ego and stubbornness have reared their ugly heads at times this season. One could argue that without these things, Shanny would never have made it this far in his profession. But given the variety of issues he has faced this season, you could easily make the case that occasionally the road would have been smoother had there been less ego and stubbornness involved. Shanahan has earned his share of the blame for the circus that was in town for most of the season. Still, I do believe Shanahan has earned some kudos for soldiering on this season, and I do have some specifics in mind.
For a moment, try and imagine showing up on the first day of work and discovering that the previous person in charge had literally taken a huge dump in the middle of the office. Your job? Clean it up, get the smell out and try and make people forget that there was a huge pile of crap in the middle of the office. Shanahan's mystery crapper was of course Vinny Cerrato. While not everything was Vinny's fault, Shanahan must have been confronted DAILY with some vestige of the crap heap that Cerrato left for him. Lesser men would not have made it a year in this scenario.
Haynesworth...jeeeeeeeeeeeez. Sure, Cerrato helped get this one going, but Shanahan did a pretty amazing job of fanning the flames of this wildfire. Try wrapping your mind around the fact that a guy who just cashed a $21 million check refuses to show up for work. It makes no sense. Unemployment is raging in this country. People are losing their homes. Families are stressed about their future prospects and this douchebag won't show up to work for an employer who just stroked a mega-check? That is enough to cause complete brain failure all by itself. The Redskins had options here to be sure. They chose the option where they spent a whole year poking the bear. I kind of applaud that to be honest. Screw Albert. Make no mistake...it took a lot of mental resolve to navigate the daily slugfest that was "Shanahan-Haynesworth 2010." Does Vicks make an ointment for healing the pain of dealing with a dick like Haynesworth?
We have to also consider that when you are the head coach under Dan Snyder, you are going to be scrutinized heavily from the second you come on board. Questions like, "What makes you think you can work with this owner?" and "How many days a week will you be reviewing tape with Snyder this season?" were just the beginning. Dan Snyder goes through coaches like Charlie Sheen goes through prostitutes. The possibility that this could end badly is a very real one in this town.
Finally, we fans have saddled yet another coach with insanely high expectations, like finish at 0.500 or better, don't ever call two timeouts in a row, don't lose by more than 40 points and get the team colors right. We are an unreasonable bunch. In some cities, and you'll just have to take my word for it on this one, fans have had the same coach for more than 2 years. It's true. Google it. Shanahan has as good a chance as any to make it to Year 3 here, but it will not come without another two years of our over-the-top demands, like don't call two fake field goals in a row after the other team takes a timeout to get the right guys in place to stop it, or don't have a play-calling system that involves a relay that NASA couldn't handle. We are so high maintenance.
Here's to you Mike Shanahan, for powering through one hell of a year.