“What I remember was that the relationship is only viewed questionably by people from the outside if you are not winning,” David Shula said. “From a son’s viewpoint, if you are proving your worth and contributing each week, you are viewed as any other staff member. But if the owner or others have a feeling you are being coddled, then it’s not going to work.
“I have tremendous respect for Coach Shanahan and what he has accomplished in his career,” David Shula said. “They had a remarkable season last year. You hate to see it fall apart.”
His father Don basically said you’ve got to be cold-blooded, even with a family member. “If it doesn’t work out, then you’ve got to make another decision,” he said. “You can’t make decisions because of the relationship. But it’s never easy to fire anybody, and if it’s a relative, it makes it all the more difficult. But you can’t let that get in the way.”
No father dreams about firing his son.
Then there are the Griffins, and the protective, perhaps interfering, father.
Bob Griese had a son that played in the NFL — Brian, at quarterback, who, in fact, was drafted and played for Mike Shanahan in Denver from 1998 to 2002. If there was ever a father who had the right to speak up about the way his son was being coached, it is Bob Griese, a Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Dolphins to two Super Bowl titles.
“I never spoke publicly about the way he [Brian] was used,” Griese said. “It just wasn’t my place to do that. I never got involved in talking to coaches or stepped in. … By the way, I think Mike Shanahan is a great coach.”
If you don’t think this is all about fathers and sons, look no further than the vacant parking space at Redskins Park with the sign that reads, “Reserved Gerald S. Snyder.” — owner Daniel Snyder’s father, who passed away in 2003.
They shared a passion for the Redskins.
Fathers and sons.
• Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,”noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 radio and espn980.com