As you may have heard, Dan Snyder finally dropped his ridiculous lawsuit against Dave McKenna and Washington City Paper after admitting that he’d never actually read the article in question. The story probably would have been buried a bit in the wake of today’s game, but now we have a whole new thing to talk about. And it’s all thanks to Mike Wise.
This morning’s Washington Post features a column that details the courting process between the Washington Redskins and the Shanahan clan. It’s a fantastic piece that I will quote from at length after the jump, but I urge you to click through for the whole thing.
Trudging down the stairwell of one of his private planes in the hangar of the Dulles Jet Center, burgundy-and-gold striped necktie askew, he mouthed an expletive passengers behind him could clearly hear. In that moment, hours after the Redskins had lost to the lowly Lions — the worst team in pro football — in Detroit, Snyder resembled less of an NFL owner than an exasperated day trader.
Turn those machines back on!
While watching NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game between the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts, the four men drank glasses of Sassicaia, a bold Tuscan red that is a Snyder favorite, those who were present said.
Drowning your sorrows in a wildly expensive Super Tuscan? Must have been a tough day.
They added that Snyder eventually graduated to Crown Royal.
How do you go from drinking a world class Italian wine to pounding the official hard liquor of the Dead Tree Crew?
Finally, Snyder turned to the others. “Let’s go get Mike Shanahan,” he said.
It’s even more fun when you imagine him slurring his words like a 13 year-old at a Bar Mitzvah.
Within minutes of Snyder’s request at the airport hangar, calls began flying back and forth between representatives of the Redskins owner and Shanahan. About two hours later, Shanahan had agreed to meet with the Redskins’ brain trust — but when?
After you fire Jim Zorn?
“Let’s not wait for him to change his mind,” Snyder said, those who were present recalled. “Let’s go now.”
Or not. You’re the boss, Mr. Crown Royal.
Snyder’s confidantes still marvel at the impulsive decision, yet they say it encapsulated the way in which they often did business.
“A lot of calls, a lot of booze that night,” one participant said. “We were just like four college roommates drowning their sorrows with alcohol after our team lost. The difference was, one of our college buddies was the owner of the team. And he called an ex-coach to make him feel better.”
Zorn and Portis had clashed repeatedly during the  season, but as the Redskins prepared to play the San Francisco 49ers on the final day of the season, Snyder received a call from Portis’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus. He was told Portis would no longer play for the Redskins if Zorn wasn’t fired, according to Snyder’s close associates.
Portis would go on to rush for 494 yards in 2009.
Zorn and Portis had exchanged words in practice that week when Portis refused Zorn’s request that the running back take his hands out of his pocket during a drill.
This is the best reason a player has ever had for trying to get his coach fired in the history of professional football.
Fed up, Snyder got off the phone call from Rosenhaus and told Cerrato: “Vinny, you handle this. Fix it. Tonight.”
This is exactly how I always pictured the organization working. A player bitches to his agent, who bitches to Snyder, who summons Sergeant Antonelli to browbeat the coach they no business hiring in the first place.
“Vinny kept telling Jim to apologize,” Smith said in a telephone interview. “And Jim was like: ‘For what? I just wanted him to take his hands out of his pocket.’ ”
SHUT UP AND DO AS YOU’RE TOLD.
[Snyder] arranged to have his plane pick up Mike and his son, Kyle, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where the Shanahan family was spending its annual vacation, and bring them to Los Angeles.
I only interrupt this portion to remind you that Kyle was still very much under contract for the Houston Texans.
Snyder was in Los Angeles to attend the Golden Globe Awards, which the Snyder-owned Dick Clark Productions were contracted to put on.
Not terribly relevant, just a reminder that Snyder is involved in a few other beleaguered franchises.
Zorn managed to survive that offseason largely because of an internal discussion at Redskins Park that centered on one question: What would the public reaction be if Snyder were to jettison another coach, his sixth in less than 10 seasons, not to mention one who just finished 8-8?
This confirms every suspicion we’ve ever had here in DC. Not only is Dan Snyder a bad owner, he’s a bad owner who surrounds himself with terrible advisers.
The basement of Shanahan’s home included a bowling alley and lounge, a poker room, a video-golf room, a racquetball court, a shuffleboard table and four bedrooms.
New rule: If you have an entire room in your 35,000 square foot home dedicated to Golden Tee, you don’t need Dan Snyder’s money.
All told, there were six fireplaces, a six-car garage, a pool, waterfall, two bridges and two guesthouses. “You’d never seen anything so big,” said one of his guests, who had been to Snyder’s French chateau-style estate in Potomac many times.
It was like shoving the world’s most beautiful business card in Patrick Bateman’s face.
The next morning, everyone got up about 7:30. Peggy Shanahan, Mike’s wife, went out and bought breakfast burritos for the group, one of the participants remembered.
Oh, do you not have a personal chef? If you come coach the Redskins you can have one of mine.
“It wasn’t, ‘When can you start? How much is it going to cost?’ It was more, ‘What do you think? Can Zorn do it? Would you do it?’ ” one of those present recalled.
Also, when can you start and how much is it going to cost?
The five men sent out for sandwiches at a local deli for lunch before Snyder and his party left Denver
Seriously, you’re living like animals out here. Back at the Chateau I have one guy whose job it is to man my panini press. I’ve never even had one of them.
After the tail of the Redskins plane was spotted at the Denver airport, there was immediate speculation about a secret meeting between Snyder and Shanahan.
I told you we should have taken the invisible plane.
The Redskins put out a story saying the plane was on loan to a private company, and that Snyder was not on it.
That’s all it took?
“Everybody bought it,” one of the participants said. “I still remember [Sports Illustrated’s] Peter King calling Vinny on his cellphone, telling Vinny he knows we’re in Denver. Vinny says, ‘Peter, we’re not in Denver. We’re at Redskins Park right now. Go look in the parking lot. All our cars are there.’ And I hear Peter on the other end say, ‘Oh yeah, I didn’t think you guys would be so [expletive] obvious.’ And he hung up.”
Hitler: Invading Czechoslovakia? Nein, nein. We are in Austria.
King: Figures. [hangs up, watches baseball]
As Shanahan and Sandy Montag, his agent, were preparing to leave Snyder’s house on the way to his introductory news conference, they saw an assortment of 10 burgundy-and-gold ties arrayed on a table beside the front door. Snyder explained to his new coach that not just any burgundy would do. “There’s a Redskin burgundy,” Snyder told him, dead serious, “and you gotta make sure it’s right.”
If only he’d displayed that kind of selectivity when hiring Jim Zorn to lead his $1.3 billion enterprise.
Your late games, in order of watchability…
San Diego vs. Minnesota
Washington vs. New York Giants
San Francisco vs. Seattle
Arizona vs. Carolina
I want more like this!
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