Mike Shanahan among 4 NFL head coaches fired
Veteran bench boss led Redskins to 24-40 record in 4 seasons
Mike Shanahan's plan to restore order, professionalism and consistent success to the Washington Redskins disintegrated quickly in 2013, costing him his job Monday a day after the team finished a 3-13 season.
Shanahan's firing comes a midst number of decisions by NFL teams to clean house on Monday. The Detroit Lions fired head coach Jim Schwartz, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired head coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik and the Minnesota Vikings fired bench boss Leslie Frazier.
Shanahan was fired after a morning meeting with owner Dan Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen at Redskins Park, a formality expected for several weeks as the losses mounted and tension rose among Shanahan, Snyder and franchise player Robert Griffin III.
Shanahan went 24-40 in four seasons in Washington and had one year remaining on his five-year, $35 million US contract.
Shanahan's career regular-season record is 170-138 over 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Raiders, Denver Broncos and Redskins, but his two worst years have come in Washington — 5-11 in 2011 and this year's 3-13. He captured Super Bowls titles with quarterback John Elway and the Broncos after the 1997 and 1998 seasons, but he won only one playoff game over his final 10 years in Denver and was fired after the 2008 season.
"Four years ago," general manager Bruce Allen said, "we thought we did the right thing. ... Unfortunately, today, our results aren't what we hoped."
Allen also announced a new power structure, saying the team's next coach will not have the all-encompassing role held by Shanahan. Allen said he has an "open list" as he begins the search for a replacement, including NFL and college coaches, but that he will assume of the duties of having final say over the roster.
"That power will be with me," Allen said.
The selection of Heisman Trophy winner Griffin with the No. 2 overall draft pick and a season-ending seven-game winning streak propelled the Redskins to 10-6 record in 2012, their first division title in 13 years.
But Griffin was injured in the playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks and required major knee surgery days later, setting the stage for a conflict filled 2013 season as the quarterback returned in record time and felt empowered enough to openly challenge some of Shanahan's decisions.
Griffin returned for Week 1 of the regular season, but he wasn't the same dynamic player who won the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2012. Shanahan eventually benched Griffin for the final three games of the season. Even though Griffin was medically cleared to play, the coach said the move was best for the organization because it was important for the quarterback's development that he be healthy for the upcoming off-season. Griffin was clearly unhappy with the decision.
Snyder will now be seeking his eighth head coach for his 16th season as an NFL owner, a span that includes just four winning seasons, two playoff victories and seven last-place finishes in the NFC East.
The Lions fired Jim Schwartz one day after they ended their late-season slide with a loss at Minnesota.
Detroit flopped to a 7-9 record this year after a 6-3 record start put the franchise in a position to win a division title for the first time since 1993.
Schwartz was 29-51 over five seasons, including a 10-6 mark in 2011 that lifted the Lions to their only post-season appearance this century. The former Tennessee Titans defensive co-ordinator was hired in 2009 when Detroit was coming off the NFL's first 0-16 season. Schwartz had the team going in the right direction during his first three seasons before it took a step back the next two years.
Vikings' Frazier let go
The Minnesota Vikings turfed coach Leslie Frazier Monday morning, one year after they made the NFL playoffs and one day after they finished a 5-10-1 season.
After going 10-6 in 2012, the Vikings regressed this year, done in by a leaky defence and an ongoing inability to find stability at quarterback. Frazier finished 21-33-1 in three-plus seasons.
Quarterback Christian Ponder sputtered and produced three straight turnover-plagued performances to start the season. The Vikings lost all three, on last-minute touchdowns to Chicago and Cleveland.
They lost two other games and tied one in similar fashion, squandering leads inside the 52-second mark in all five of those. Though veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield was cut before the season to save space under the salary cap, the defence that has been Frazier's expertise faltered badly.
The 54-year-old Frazier had one season remaining on his contract.
Tampa turfs Schiano, GM Dominik
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking for a new head coach and general manager after firing Greg Schiano and Mark Dominik, respectively, following a 4-12 finish.
The Bucs made the announcement Monday, a day after a season-ending 42-17 loss to the New Orleans dropped Schiano's record to 11-21 over two seasons.
Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer said in a brief statement that the team has "not lived up to our standards" over the past two years and "we believe the time has come to find a new direction."
Tampa Bay lost the first eight games of the season while going through a messy split with former quarterback Josh Freeman and an outbreak of staph infections in the locker room.
Dominik was promoted to general manager in 2009. The team went 28-52 in five years under his direction.