Shanahan fired: Three reasons Washington cannot sustain coaching success

The Redskins cannot seem to catch a break when it comes to hiring NFL head coaches. Here is a list of the top three reasons why. Photo: Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder/AP

WASHINGTON, December 31, 2013 — The Washington Redskins have hired seven head coaches under Daniel Snyder’s ownership. Some have been proven winners, others have been fill-ins or unproven hires. One thing has remained constant, high expectations mixed with low results. Here are three reasons the Redskins cannot seem to catch a break at the head coach position:

Hiring based on name alone: Most people achieve success as a result of the contributions of others and the overall system in place. Usually, successful people achieve organizational success not just because they are “the guy.” Joe Gibbs was an excellent head coach throughout his career. His overall success, however, was partly due to his talent around him. Former Redskins General Manager Bobby Bethard was just as much of a catalyst for success as Gibbs during the Redskins’ glory days in the 80s. If an owner is looking to hire a guy because of name recognition, that helps, but age, hunger to win more and the big picture need to be considered.

SEE RELATED: NFL 2013 Black Monday coach firings and analysis

Stop looking for a Savior: Finding leadership starts by looking in the mirror. No single person can come in and change an entire organization. Not Joe Gibbs, not RG3, not Mike Shanahan. Leadership and excellence are not purchased. In fact, it almost always starts from the top. It is rarely, if ever, obtained in a single hiring of a coach or quarterback. Success is the by-product of an entire organization committed to doing the right thing- because it is the right thing to do and not simply because it looks good or is good for ratings.

What is getting in the way? If seven coaches have all failed miserably under Dan Snyder’s ownership, something must be getting in the way. Putting money, media and marketing above football seems to be that one thing getting in the way. In today’s NFL there are many distractions and temptations. It takes discipline and patience to enforce a culture that puts football first. As an owner, it also means delaying short-term profits and market saturation for the long-term reward of establishing a sound football organization. 


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John Heibel


Born in Southern Maryland, 34 years old, John Heibel grew up a Washington DC  sports fan, playing pretty much all sports. Heibel served in the US Coast Guard for 7 years and has two bachelors degrees.
The writer currently lives in Kensington, MD covering all DC Sports for Communities.

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