In the words of Boyz II Men — my favorite in the early ’90s! — it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. Particularly when you are stuck in a traffic jam on the way to getting fired.
That’s the situation Mike Shanahan found himself in on Dec. 30 when a backup outside the Washington Redskins training facility — one convened by a paranoid edict from on high not to let reporters on the premises — led him to be late to a meeting where he was told he didn’t have a job anymore.
The firing didn’t come as a surprise to Shanahan, who, in the fourth year of a five-year contract, “led” the Redskins to a 3-13 record that included an eight-game losing streak to end the season. That dismal showing, coupled with his increasingly testy relationship with quarterback Robert Griffin III — Shanahan benched RGIII for the final three games of the year — made it a question of when, not whether, the coach would become the ex-coach.
Of course there’s a case to be made that Shanahan’s week wasn’t that bad after all. He was gracious and complimentary in his last news conference, he got the $7 million owed to him for the final year of his contract, and maybe most important, he doesn’t have to coach the Redskins anymore.
But the mystique Shanahan built up winning two Super Bowls in Denver is now gone. Need evidence? His name has been floated a total of zero times for the myriad head-coach vacancies around the NFL.
Mike Shanahan, for losing your mojo and possibly your career, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Chris Cillizza covers the White House for The Washington Post and writes The Fix, its politics blog.