Redskins fans suffered enough in 2019. The team went 3-13 and head coach Jay Gruden got fired. A few good things, if any, happened until the end of the year when former team president Bruce Allen got fired.
So far, 2020 seems to be going much better for Washington fans. The team moved decisively to hire Ron Rivera as head coach and to put him in charge of changing the team's culture.
For the first time in a while, there is hope surrounding the Redskins. And that's great. The team's long-suffering fanbase deserves it.
But it doesn't change how hard next Sunday will be. Next week the San Francisco 49ers will play the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. That might seem innocuous, but both head coaches formerly worked for the Redskins.
Kyle Shanahan now coaches the Niners, and he famously served as Redskins offensive coordinator under his father, Mike Shanahan, from 2010 to 2013. The Redskins fired both Shanahans after the 2013 season amid an ugly fallout with former star quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Now, head coach of the Green Bay Packers, Matt LaFleur worked for the Redskins at the same time, serving as quarterbacks coach. He got fired along with Shanahans in 2013.
Now, both coaches have their teams 60 minutes away from the Super Bowl.
It's worth pointing out the Redskins didn't find any playoff success with LaFleur or Shanahan on the coaching staff, though the problem may be bigger than either coach. The Redskins haven't won a single playoff game in more than a decade. It's also worth pointing out how complicated the fallout from the 2013 season got in Ashburn. No coach or player was without blame, but no coach or player deserved all the blame either.
In 2014, the Redskins hired Jay Gruden to overhaul the coaching staff. For most of six seasons, Gruden ran the ship and continued to develop offensive assistant coaches, including Sean McVay. He also experienced tremendous success as a head coach, including last year's NFC crown.
No matter what the context is, or who cares about that, knowing that for the second year in a row a former Redskins assistant coach will be the head coach of a Super Bowl team is a little jarring.
Maybe it's a bit exciting, but considering the complete lack of playoff success in Washington, it's much more alarming than exciting.
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