Why is the #NFL’s Mike Shanahan so Overrated?

This is the question everyone is asking after the Washington Redskins got blown out and embarrassed at home by the Kansas City Chiefs. Why is Mike Shanahan such an overrated coach?

mike shanahan madI, as a devout and devoted Washington Redskins fan, don’t get it. Yes, I liked the hire when Dan Snyder got Shanahan to sign here. But, it was because Shanahan had won 2 Super Bowls earlier in his career and could have possibly brought back this historic franchise from languishing in despair and embarrassment.

Instead, we got a headache and a drama-queen story even worse than this scene from Mean Girls:

More and more, I realized the Mean Girls is A) overrated and B) the Redskins are just as dysfunctional and the media is hoping they’ll self-destruct.

But, here’s Shanahan’s track record (via Pro-Football-Reference.com):

Year

Age

Team

League

Games

Win

Loss

Ties

W-L%

Playoff Games

Playoff Wins 

Playoff Losses

W-L%

Rank

Notes

1988

36

Los Angeles Raiders NFL

16

7

9

0

.438

3

1989

37

Los Angeles Raiders NFL

4

1

3

0

.250

3

1995

43

Denver Broncos NFL

16

8

8

0

.500

3

1996

44

Denver Broncos NFL

16

13

3

0

.813

1

0

1

.000

1

1997

45

Denver Broncos NFL

16

12

4

0

.750

4

4

0

1.000

2

Super Bowl Champions
1998

46

Denver Broncos NFL

16

14

2

0

.875

3

3

0

1.000

1

Super Bowl Champions
1999

47

Denver Broncos NFL

16

6

10

0

.375

5

2000

48

Denver Broncos NFL

16

11

5

0

.688

1

0

1

.000

2

2001

49

Denver Broncos NFL

16

8

8

0

.500

3

2002

50

Denver Broncos NFL

16

9

7

0

.563

2

2003

51

Denver Broncos NFL

16

10

6

0

.625

1

0

1

.000

2

2004

52

Denver Broncos NFL

16

10

6

0

.625

1

0

1

.000

2

2005

53

Denver Broncos NFL

16

13

3

0

.813

2

1

1

.500

1

2006

54

Denver Broncos NFL

16

9

7

0

.563

2

2007

55

Denver Broncos NFL

16

7

9

0

.438

2

2008

56

Denver Broncos NFL

16

8

8

0

.500

1

2010

58

Washington Redskins NFL

16

6

10

0

.375

3

2011

59

Washington Redskins NFL

16

5

11

0

.313

4

2012

60

Washington Redskins NFL

16

10

6

0

.625

1

0

1

.000

1

2013

61

Washington Redskins NFL

13

3

10

0

.231

4

27 yrs

 

   

305

170

135

0

.557

14

8

6

.571

2.0

Avg Finish
18 yrs

 

DEN  

224

138

86

0

.616

13

8

5

.615

1.9

 
4 yrs

 

WAS  

61

24

37

0

.393

1

0

1

.000

3.0

 
3 yrs

 

SFO  

0

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

 

1.0

 
2 yrs

 

RAI  

20

8

12

0

.400

0

0

0

 

3.0

 
Games over .500: 35
Super Bowl Wins: 2
Overall Championships: 2
Conference Championships: 2
Division Championships: 5
So, in a 27-year career, Shanahan has gone 170-135 with a 0.557 winning percentage and 2 Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998. He’s won 2 conference titles, both during the Super Bowl-winning years and 5 division championships, 4 in the AFC West and 1 in the NFC East.
jake plummer
He’s had only one great quarterback during that time, who was John Elway (and won those Super Bowls for Shanahan). Others? Jake Plummer, Kyle Orton, John Beck, Rex Grossman and now, a young Robert Griffin III. But, let’s take a look at the past 6 years:
2007 — Denver Broncos, 7-9, 0.438
2008 — Denver Broncos, 8-8, 0.500
2010 — Washington Redskins, 6-10, 0.375
2011 — Washington Redskins, 5-11, 0.313
2012 — Washington Redskins, 10-6, 0.625 (1 playoff appearance, a loss at home to the Seattle Seahawks)
2013 — Washington Redskins, 3-10 (ongoing), 0.231
Wild Card Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v Washington RedskinsSince 2007, Shanahan has had ONE winning season. He’s gone 8-8 once and 10-6 once, with a 7-9, 6-10, 5-11 and a current 3-10 season to boot. Some could say that last season with the Redskins was a fluke season for sure. Overall since 2007 (and note he was unemployed in 2009), Shanahan is 36-54, which is a 0.400 winning percentage. His overall record with the Redskins? 24-37 with a winning percentage of 0.393. That is not good enough for the Redskins, and nor should it be for any NFL franchise (except maybe the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars or Tennessee Titans).
redskins stadium empty
It is inevitable that Shanahan will be fired, but the question is when and who will come to replace him in Washington.
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About Spencer Irvine

Fun loving, D.C. area sports fan, which means I'm frustrated and still can't get a grip on what a win truly means (or a championship for that matter).

2 responses to “Why is the #NFL’s Mike Shanahan so Overrated?”

  1. Matt Higham says :

    Spencer: Great info, but I’m still not clear on whether you think Shanny is overrated as a coach, or you’re acknowledging that that opinion is out there and maybe has merit. IMO, he’s at best an average coach. Take away the first four years of his Denver tenure, when it can be argued he was guiding a team someone else built, with one of the best QBs ever in the final years of his career and highly motivated to lead his team to a championship, and you have a very pedestrian career.

    Outside of the two Super Bowl years, Shanny had five seasons in Denver when his team had a double digit total of wins in the regular season. Those teams went a combined 1-5 in the playoffs. Despite playing in one of the weaker divisions of the NFL, Shanny only managed to lead Denver to three division titles in 14 seasons.

    He hasn’t demonstrated anywhere that he can build a winning team or win consistently. Average coach? Yes. Genius? Not even close. (Not suggesting that you said he was; just refuting the reputation he has.)

    • Spencer Irvine says :

      The reason I didn’t come on one side of the fence or the other is that I have flip-flopped over the course of the season and I felt it’d be dishonest to come down one way or the other. That’s why I tried to give it a good shake without being flip-floppy. I tried to give a good basis for people to judge for themselves, but I honestly agree with you for the most part. I only worry about undergoing another rebuilding project, but even that argument is floppy too. You’re probably right, I just didn’t feel it was right to offer an insincere opinion.

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