With OTAs officially underway this week, the Washington Redskins are preparing to bring a second straight NFC East crown to the Nation’s Capital behind head coach Mike Shanahan.
Thursday afternoon trivia question: When was the last time the Burgundy and Gold won back-to-back division crowns?
Answer: 1983-1984 when Joe Gibbs led the Redskins to 25 wins during that span and a Super Bowl appearance.
To pay homage to the greatest teachers/mentors/coaches in NFL history, ESPN’s Rick Reilly has sifted through league annals to give his thoughts on the 20 greatest to ever call X’s and O’s.
Three Redskins greats have been ranked as follows:
19. Ray Flaherty – Don’t start with me. Just because he coached before Netflix doesn’t mean he wasn’t great. Invented the screen pass. Invented situational substitution. Won two NFL titles and a bunch of division titles in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), which was a very big deal despite TMZ never having heard of it.
When the franchise decided to pack its bags and head south to the warmer (and more humid) weather in our Nation’s Capital they brought Flaherty with them to lead the cavalry after a 7-5 record in 1936.
In a town that had yet to experience professional hockey and no championships to speak of in years from its baseball team, Flaherty ended the drought with a NFL Championship in year one.
He would go on to win 54 games and topped off his seven-year stint with a second NFL Championship.
15. George Allen – Would’ve been a great general. He’d find a way to beat you if all he had was two right tackles and a spatula. Never had a losing season. Won 71 percent of the time. OK, so it never happened for him in the playoffs. Sue.
Yes the fact that Allen was able to win on average seven out of every ten games is amazing, but when you dig deeper into his tenure it becomes evident that he is quite possible the most underrated coach of all-time.
When he took over for Bill Austin following the 1970 season, the Redskins hadn’t posted a record above .500 in 15 years.
In Allen’s first season in our Nation’s Capital he led the Burgundy and Gold to their first playoff appearance since 1945 behind a 9-4-1 record.
Stories of coaches having “beginners luck” in the NFL come and go every year as they’ll complete revolutionize a franchise only to flounder later. Don’t count Allen as one of those men.
In his seven years with the Redskins Allen accumulated 67 wins and five playoff appearances.
2. Joe Gibbs – OK, here’s where you start throwing shoes. But it goes back to quarterbacks. Nobody has ever come close to doing what Gibbs did, which is win three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks, none of whom are in the Hall of Fame. That’s like crossing the Pacific in a Little Mermaid floatie.
Speaking of playoff appearances let’s focus in on this Gibbs fella for a moment. When longtime general manager Bobby Beathard selected Gibbs as the 20th head coach in franchise history, few knew of the offensive guru.
Despite the fact that Gibbs failed to win a game in his first month in the DMV he would go on to win 154 games, ten playoff appearances, three Lombardi Trophies and the number two spot on Reilly’s top coaches list.
Need I say more?
Hail to the Redskins!
Tags: george allen, Joe Gibbs, Ray Flaherty
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