News & Politics

Redskins Put Mike Shanahan Out of His Misery

Dan Snyder’s moveable feast continues onto its next course.

So long. Photograph by Flickr user Keith Allison.

Just a day after Washington capped a 3-13 season with a 20-6 loss to the New York Giants, Dan Snyder gave Mike Shanahan the boot in a Monday morning meeting. The widely expected move brought to an end Shanahan’s four-year tenure as head coach, during which he compiled a 24-40 record. After taking the team to the playoffs last season— they went out in a first-round loss to the Seattle Seahawks—this season was marked by reported feuds with Snyder over the team’s roster, particularly Robert Griffin III.

“Fans deserve a better result,” Snyder said in a statement released by the team. “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.”

In brief remarks at the team’s practice facility in Ashburn, Shanahan was mostly deferential. “I thought we’ve done a lot of good things,” he said. 

But after the promise of Griffin’s first season, this year’s squad was odious. In addition to tanking to the second-worst record in the NFL, Washington had the 23rd most productive offense and was tied for the second-worst defense in the league, to say nothing of the cringe-inducing special teams.

With Shanahan’s ouster, Snyder will now look for his eighth head coach since purchasing the team from Jack Kent Cooke’s family in 1999. Shanahan had one year remaining on his contract, and his early exit will cost Snyder about $7 million. The team will hold a press conference this afternoon, before embarking on the search for the next candidate to take up what is often considered one of the most frustrating coaching jobs in the NFL.

Shanahan, who won two Super Bowls in the 1990s while leading the Denver Broncos, joins other Snyder detritus like Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, and Jim Zorn, all of whom compiled losing records over their tenures. 

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.