Your Favorite Coach Sucks: Mike Shanahan

Here we go again, Nate. Another easy column. “Oooh, look at me, I’m making fun of Mike Shanahan, the coach of a terrible team!”

Hold on to that bitch button, people, because I’m not just attacking Shanahan’s season. I’m not just criticizing his Washington tenure.


It makes sense that certain coaches and quarterbacks are linked. It’s hard to think about Brady without Belichick. Brees without Payton. And because of that link, it’s hard to analyze either side of the link without the other. There are examples: the 11-5 year without Brady, Brees’ solid-yet-unspectacular career in San Diego. But for the most part, the link is what people think about, and it’s what people build their legacy on. And for some coaches, they are lucky that link exists, because without it they’re just a bad coach.

Tell me you think about Mike Shanahan, even now, without thinking of John Elway. For me, it’s inescapable. I can’t think of the perpetually-constipated visage of Shanahan without thinking of the braying, horse-face of Elway. Their link was built on more than just bad faces, though.

Is it too late to vote these guys for Most Punchable Faces?

They won two Super Bowls. They only should have won one (although part of me is glad they didn’t, because imagine how big a dick Favre would be with TWO rings). And through those two years, Shanahan built a reputation for having a strong-yet-balanced offense. And it was assumed that when he went to Washington, that offense would return.

Instead, Shanahan showed us that he should be writing thank you cards every year to Elway and Terrell Davis.

If you look at Shanahan’s jobs excluding his time with Elway, you’ll see a trend. In Los Angeles, he was a head coach for Steve Beuerlin and Jay Schroder. He went 8-12 and was fired 4 games into his second season. As an offensive coordinator for the 49ers, he won a Super Bowl while presumably giving Steve Young advice such as “throw the ball” and “be good.” And in Washington, he has had a cavalcade of suck, from Donovan McNabb last year to the one-two combo of John Beck and Rex Grossman.

It is clear that Shanahan’s success is tied to a successful quarterback. And that wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that Shanahan is an entitled asshole who tries to reassure everyone that his tough love style of coaching  will ultimately right the ship in Washington. Let’s look at the mistakes he has made in Washington.


Shanahan arrives in town a few minutes after Dan Synder writes a 100 million dollar contract to the 100 million pound man. Shanahan obviously thinks the decision was a bad one. But does he make lemons of this lemonade? Fuck no. He does the meanest thing you can ever do to a fat man.

He made him run.

That’s just cold

Worse than that, he didn’t even try to experiment with ways to make Haynesworth most effective. He could have asked his DC to mix up packages that Haynesworth had excelled in for most of his career, but instead he told Albert to shape up or ship out. As shaping up is physically impossible for the fat man, he shipped out.

Haynesworth has since proven he isn’t worth any sort of money, but Shanahan didn’t even try to see what he had. What he really did was waste more of Dan Synder’s money. Not that Synder minded with the way he loves throwing money around.


“McNabb wasn’t smart enough to run the four minute offense…was that too mean?”

I’m going to admit that all of these things he did were to players who have since proved to be ineffective. But that doesn’t mean Shanahan did anything right with McNabb. He gave shitty interview after shitty interview, giving shitty excuse after shitty excuse for benching McNabb. And bottom line is that McNabb will still be better than Grossman when he’s 50. That’s how bad Grossman is.

2011 season

What I’m about to say isn’t a joke, but a real question: Do either of these guys even LOOK like quarterbacks?

They were looking great this preseason, and even for the start of the season. But the first sign of trouble, Shanahan starts to juggle his quarterbacks. It’s rumored that Shanahan is going to start Grossman again after John Beck steadfastly continued his NFL winless streak. And with the rest of their schedule looking like it is, I’m not sure they’ll win another game.

So Shanahan sucks because he only won with superior talent; without it, his teams aren’t just average, but bad. Shanahan sucks because he is mean to fat people. Shanahan sucks because he doesn’t know how to deal with bad quarterbacks. But most of all, Shanahan sucks because no one thinks he sucks.

Amazingly, there’s still this aura around Shanahan. This idea that it isn’t his fault that the team is so bad. That he just needs another few chances to turn this team around.

That’s John Elway’s fault, and that along with his horse-face is one of the reasons I hate him.


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One response to “Your Favorite Coach Sucks: Mike Shanahan

  1. Luke J.

    John Elway has a Lifetime Achievement Award for Most Punchable Face.