I know you tried hard to believe that Dan had changed, that Joe Gibbs had taken him by the arm and illuminated the path to greatness – or at least the path to common sense. But Dan is what Dan is. However far Joe pulled him, when released to his own devices, Dan swung back to his equilibrium. As the sign in the Oracle’s kitchen says, ‘Know thyself’. Dan Snyder knows himself. He is what he is, and there’s not much we as fans can do about it, except grit our teeth and hold on tight, or get off the ride. Eat a cookie, you’ll feel better.
Am I letting him off the hook? No. I’m just trying to rationally see the situation for what it is. I expect to throw up my hands in frustration and sigh many times before Dan Snyder gives up control of the team. And you have to place a good part of the blame for this coaching debacle on a man who, to many, is above reproach: Joe Gibbs.
It’s been stated repeatedly that one cannot blame Joe for his decision to leave coaching, despite his promise to get this franchise back on track. However, the timing of the announcement was extremely poor. I would have liked to see him be more involved in the coaching selection before he left for good. And so here’s Dan Snyder, left without a prom date a few days before the big event, and he has to scramble to find another date. Granted, one doesn’t usually buy the dress and the corsage before you have the girl, but given the abruptness of Joe’s departure, I can see why an owner would panic.
The media attention and rumors attached to this process didn’t help. The Post and Times can write whatever they want about Dan and what a disgrace he is, but they cannot deny that they stoked the fire quite a bit. Fueled by a dislike for Snyder that was developed long ago, they were only to happy to vilify him every day the selection process dragged on. We may never know if Dan hosed Fassel by practically offering him the job, then pulling out. He wanted a look at a Superbowl coach, and so he had to wait, which just left more time for speculation and rumors. Had the Giants been beaten in an early playoff round, we may have ended our search weeks ago.
While my vote was for Gregg Williams, I can somewhat understand the reluctance to give him the head coaching gig. His arrogance and seeming lack of respect for authority would give any owner pause. Don’t get me started on Jim Fassel. I didn’t like him in New York, and, at 60-something, I certainly didn’t like the idea of him coming here to be the ‘future’. We already had an older coach who supposedly put this franchise back on track, we don’t need another one. Mooch would have been okay with me – he’s a high energy, smart guy, and I think he would have done well.
In the end, Dan decided to take a chance on a relatively young guy, without a whole lot of head coaching (or coordinator…or play-calling) experience. If the Redskins flop the next few years, then Dan was an idiot. If Jim Zorn turns out to be a smashing success….well, let’s face it, to many of us, Dan will still be an idiot who just got lucky. But that’s the game. Do you think that Bob Kraft knew he was getting three Superbowl wins (and possibly more to come) when he hired Bill Belichick? He HOPED he would, but he was taking a chance, especially with Bill’s dismal coaching record at Cleveland. Same goes for many coaches in the NFL – you don’t know what you’re getting until you’ve got it. Who would have ever expected Steve Spurrier to fail?!? (Just kidding). The simple fact is that we don’t know – and we won’t know for awhile – whether this is a good hire, or a bad one.
Now, my metaphor falls apart here, because Dan ends up taking the dress (sans girl) to the prom, which is a bit weird, in a Norman Bates kind of way, but you get the idea. But if that pink, frilly dress ends up leading us to greatness, then perhaps one day this soap opera of a coaching search will end up being just a funny story, and we can cut Dan some slack. That is, until the next soap opera.