I couldn’t sleep last night. It was one of those late Sunday night/early Monday mornings where I couldn’t get my brain to shut down long enough to fall asleep. Lots of stuff was floating around up there: why no one has asked Peyton Manning to pee in a cup yet, how Aaron Rodgers continues to flog the upper Midwest, whether or not Jerry Jones died years ago and the man we now know is some sort of super-robot, stuff like that.
My brain has the capacity to not give a shit when it’s time for bed. It’s a gift and a curse, for sure. I’ve come up with every great idea I’ve ever had (that’s two ideas to date) while in my nocturnal quasi-functional state. So, as I lay there last night with a limitless universe of ideas, thoughts, hopes and dreams at my disposal…imagine my disappointment when the Washington Redskins were the only thing on my mind.
This morning, around the time I was finishing my second massive cup of coffee, Dan Snyder asked Mike Shanahan into his office for the last time. After four seasons at the helm and an abysmal record of 24-40 in that time, Shanahan was relieved (and I do mean, he was incredibly relieved)of his duties as head coach, effective immediately. He made nice with the media on his way out, checked his bank account one final time, and got the hell out of town.
What’s there to say that hasn’t already been said? Shanny wasn’t the guy for the job? I knew that before we hired his sunburnt ass. Shanny and Dan Snyder didn’t get along? Tell me something I don’t know. The news of his termination is academic at this point, he wanted to be gone and he got his wish (plus $7 million dollars guaranteed for next year). With Shanny gone it will allow the organization a fresh start (albeit we go through this “fresh start” thing every three or so years).
Now it’s time for us, as a fan base, to look long and hard in the mirror and accept a few things.
- Robert Griffin III is not the savior of the franchise we thought he was. He’s not capable of carrying a mediocre team on his shoulders. He was hurt last year against the Ravens, played out the rest of the season on a bad wheel, and his knee injury was clearly an organizational failure from top-to-bottom.
- The subsequent marketing blitz by RG3’s representatives (along with the Redskins marketing team) put our young (and still very injured) QB in a situation to fail before he could even limp onto the field.
- Due to unfair practices during the uncapped year, our organization (in another full-fledged organizational debacle) lost $36 million in cap space over 2 seasons. That’s enough money to buy some safeties that can cover, or an actual second wide receiver, or maybe some steroids to keep London Fletcher young just one year longer.
So, if you’re keeping score at home, we went into this season defending NFC East Champions (quite on accident) with less money than every team in football, less talent on defense than (almost) every other team in football, a one-legged QB who was so full of himself he forgot he was human, and still the worst owner in professional sports.
And all of this was Mike Shanahan’s fault? I’m not sure I agree.
So, now I’m going to say something that needs to be said. It’s sure to be an unpopular opinion but the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one in the first place; and let me tell you guys, we have a big goddamn problem around here.
We, us, the fans are terrible. For all the trash talking I do about Steelers fans or Patriots fans, or even Cowboy’s fans, at least those fan bases know who they are and who their team is. Who are we? Who the hell is this team we field every Sunday? When your organization is constantly rebuilding itself it’s impossible to create any identity, any sense of team.
That being said, this season alone I’ve purchased a new Redskins hat, socks, two t-shirts, and a bottle opener (all for the low approximate price of $4,500). In other words I bought more pieces of useless team apparel than the team had wins this season…and Snyder took that money with a smile on his face.
Throughout this terrible season and it’s been god awful in every conceivable way, there was one silver lining that I hope everyone noticed. At halftime of the Chiefs game (when we were down something like 101-3) the CBS cameras flashed a shot of FedEx field and it was almost entirely vacant. The top bowl all the way down to field level was deserted; the national TV audience got a live look at Redskins fans saying “Enough is enough”.
Whether Snyder looked up from his gold-plated IPad long enough to notice our frustration we may never know. He’s slowly but surely turning into Jerry Jones 2.0; he’s younger, he’s somehow less football savvy, and he care’s even less for what his fans and team want. If there are any fans out there who don’t know this, listen up: Snyder is the one reason this organization can’t find consistency, he’s the reason I lost sleep last night.
As the news of Shanny’s inevitable firing came out this morning, no Redskins fans batted an eyelash, it’s commonplace for our team to make waves during the offseason. We pour our hearts and souls into each season; last season culminating in one of the greatest Week 17 finishes we could’ve hoped for, this season ending with a resounding and deafening thud.
Looking at the video of Shanahan driving away from Redskins park, he looked more like a free man on his way home than an unemployed man thinking where he’d gone wrong. Four years and forty losses later and this fan base still sees no signs of life from ownership. All we can hope is health for RG3 and our other remaining stalwarts; everything else is entirely out of our control.
You see, I lost sleep thinking long and hard about the context of this 3-13 season. My brain wouldn’t let me rest knowing there were ways we could’ve avoided this disaster, knowing there are still ways this team can climb out of hell. Sadly, something tells me Dan Snyder sleeps just fine not thinking about those things, and that’s the fucking problem.