Wilbon on the Redskins melodrama

December 30, 2013

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Bearing in mind that many of you will immediately discredit everything that comes after the words “Wilbon said,” here’s what Michael Wilbon said about the ending of the latest unsuccessful Redskins season.

Wilbon — who was openly skeptical of the Mike Shanahan hire — was on Tony Kornheiser’s ESPN 980 radio show on Monday, where he was discussing the Bears-Packers ending and the crazy race for the final AFC wild-card slot. That conversation, which included lots about the Steelers, then transitioned to something more locally relevant.

“It’s interesting, two teams that started off as badly as the Redskins – worse! – [were] the Giants and the Steelers,” Wilbon said. “But you know what, their seasons were not dominated and preoccupied by drama. They were terrible, they stunk, but they kept playing. It was just about whether or not they were any good. The drama of the day was, we stink, how do we get better, which always seemed like it was in fourth place for the Redskins. You know, we stink, how do we get better was behind like four different storylines at all times.

“And you know what, the Giants and the Steelers pulled themselves together,” Wilbon said. “And for franchises with recent Super Bowl trophies in their cases, they had sort of failed seasons, but those seasons were not dishonorable. Ultimately you could say ok, we played, we came back, we got back in it. It was so different from the Redskins’ season, which started off bad and got worse, and melodramatic, like a 1940s post-war movie. Every single day of every single week. My God. It was never even like a football season: it was just like something starring Joan Crawford. What is this?”

Say what you will about Wilbon: “It was never even like a football season” is an accurate way to describe the past four months. And “what is this?” is a question that many devoted Redskins fans were asking themselves. The Joan Crawford thing was over my head though. Mildred Pierce is a defensive back, right?

Anyhow, Kornheiser then asked Wilbon what his gameplan would now be, were he the owner of the Redskins.

“Oh God,” Wilbon groaned. “I would meet with the people who allegedly run the football operations, and I would try to identify a coach that’s not necessarily a celebrity. Which is never going to happen there. And that’s why I laugh at the reports – and you get on me about it – I LAUGH at the notion that the owner is not involved. This is always, to me, the dumbest thing I hear, that the owner’s not involved. The owner has managed to be involved quietly, and not in the obvious trainwreck sort of way that was going down for the first 10 years.

“But the selection of the coach will tell us to what degree the owner’s involved in what I call football operations,” Wilbon continued. “The selection of the head coach. I understand that the owner owns the team, and he wants to have the final say in this. Just about every owner has some input. But I would actually go to my football people and try to identify a guy who can be a great coach. And that might even entail going out and getting a guy who used to be at San Diego State, who was then a coordinator for the Chargers, who nobody in town ever heard of, named Mr. Gibbs. It might even entail that — hiring a guy who has never been a [head] coach. Not a celebrity. But that’s not going to happen.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · December 30, 2013