10 Days of Bruce-Mas! No. 9 - McNabb Mania!
Yup! Your eyes aren't deceiving you! Instead of the 12 Days of Christmas, we here at Redskins Maven and SI.com are honoring Bruce Allen's ten years of leadership with the Redskins with a countdown to his ten-year anniversary on December 17th.
You've heard of "Stras-mas" for the Washington Nationals. Welcome to the "10 Days of Bruce-Mas!"
Here's how we're celebrating: Our team of Rick Snider, Bryan Manning, Ivan Lambert and myself along with some help from a secret contributor, ranked the top-ten moments in in the Bruce Allen era as President/General Manager/Executive Vice President of the Washington Redskins.
Only we're not doing it in the nice way. No. This is a list of the ten worst moments of Bruce's reign. Sorry, in advance. Oh and one more thing: We're extending this baby out over the next week plus, which might catch up to us if Dan Snyder hasn't calmed down yet and pulls the plug.
Away we go!
No. 9: McNabb-Mania was running wild! Until it wasn't!
Donovan McNabb was traded for on Easter Sunday of 2010 just several months after Mike Shanahan was hired with full control and authority over the roster.
The only problem is this: If you believe Shanahan and many others, they didn't want him.
The Shanahan clan wanted someone who wasn't that good either, but was a lot cheaper in Marc Bulger. Many don't believe this theory because of timing but it was indeed possible that Shanahan wanted Bulger but didn't want to pay a certain price that was being asked by the Rams. Which was smart, especially if it was a costly one.
As it turns out, the Redskins paid the No. 37 overall pick (2nd round) and a conditional 3rd/4th round pick in a later draft for McNabb.
I must admit at the time that I thought McNabb would be a much better fit with the Redskins than he turned out to be. Instead it was a debacle nearly from the start.
McNabb was hurt in training camp. There were highs such as season opening win over the Cowboys on an electric Sunday night to start the Shanahan/McNabb era. There was a big right win in McNabb's return to Philadelphia and a good victory at Soldier Field in Chicago.
But then it was an all-out disaster as McNabb was benched at the end of a bad loss in Detroit for being in poor cardiovascular shape, partially because of a hamstring injury.
It only got worse after that. That benching was in the final game before the team's bye. When they returned 15 days later, McNabb received a contract extension right before a home Monday Night Football game against.....the Eagles.
Who do you think thought it was a good idea to calm the masses down by giving McNabb an extension and re-affirming the teams' public commitment to him?
Per ESPN: The Redskins gave McNabb a "five-year contract extension nominally worth $78 million -- but the only thing it guaranteed was that the quarterback would receive an extra $3.5 million this season. The deal contains a clause that allows the Redskins to cut McNabb before next season with no further financial obligation."
It was a creative extension done mostly to calm everyone down and make the organization look better on a prime time stage.
That game became known as the "Monday Night Massacre" as the Eagles crushed the Redskins on a national stage. At home.
McNabb, armed with a contract extension would struggle off-and-on for the rest of the year and clearly - he did not have much talent around him.
With three games remaining in that season, McNabb was benched by Shanahan a second time before a road game in Dallas and for good.
I remember running into McNabb and his brother at the team hotel in Dallas the night before that game and having a few drinks and a few laughs with them. Some of the things I heard that night opened my eyes to just how chaotic everything really was.
Fletcher Smith, McNabb's agent who in fairness to the Redskins did the contract extension with them, told ESPN that Shanahan's decision was "disrespectful to Donovan. He has not been more disrespected his whole career than he has this season. It's absolutely ridiculous."
McNabb was traded to the Vikings over that off-season, where he also struggled and was soon out of the league. He was not very good in both places and completely out of gas.
Andy Reid had completely pulled the wool over the eyes of Bruce Allen, Dan Snyder and the Redskins for the first time.
It's hard to imagine that if Shanahan truly had 'stood on the table' to acquire McNabb that he would have treated him with such little regard. Shanahan did and said a lot of things, but he wasn't ignorant.
He also never had complete power and control as his contract reportedly said he had. At Redskins Park, if you fight the powers that be - you wind up in divorce court very quickly. Shanahan was trying to make this opportunity and the dirty politics that reek inside Redskins Park work. It didn't.
You don't have to believe Shanahan. I do, for the most part. I don't believe he was completely innocent but I don't believe he was guilty. Nothing makes sense that McNabb was Shanahan's guy.
It was a debacle of epic proportions, even by Redskins standards.
Chris Russell is the Publisher of Maven & Sports Illustrated's Washington Redskins channel. He can be heard on 106.7 The FAN in the Washington D.C. area and world-wide on Radio.com. Chris also hosts the "Locked on Redskins" Podcast and can be read via subscription to Warpath Magazine. You can e-mail Chris at russellmania09@Gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @Russellmania621.