American Football Wiki
Mike Shanahan
Mike Shanahan Redskins HC
Mike Shanahan as Washington Redskins Head Coach in 2012
Date of birth August 24 1952 (1952-08-24) (age 71)
Place of birth Oak Park, Illinois
Career highlights
Coaching Record / Statistics
Super Bowl
1998 Super Bowl XXXIII
1997 Super Bowl XXXII
1994 Super Bowl XXIX
(Offensive Coordinator)
Coaching stats Pro Football Reference
Coaching stats DatabaseFootball
Career player statistics (if any)
More stats at:
Team(s) as a player (if any)
Team(s) as a coach/administrator (if any)










(Offensive Assistant)
Northern Arizona
(Running Backs Coach)
Eastern Illinois
(Offensive Coordinator)
(Offensive Coordinator)
(Offensive Coordinator)
Denver Broncos
(Offensive Coordinator)
Los Angeles Raiders
(Head Coach)
Denver Broncos
(Offensive Assistant)
San Francisco 49ers
(Offensive Assistant)
Denver Broncos
(Head coach)
Washington Redskins
(Head Coach)

Michael Edward "Mike" Shanahan (born August 24, 1952) is an American profession football coach., best known as the head coach of the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL) from 1995 to 2008. During his 14 seasons with the Broncos, he led the team to consecutive Super Bowl victories in Super Bowl XXXII and Super Bowl XXXIII, as well as the franchise's first NFL title in the former. His head coaching career spanned a total of 20 seasons and also included stints with the Los Angeles Raiders and Washington Redskins. His son, Kyle Shanahan, is the current head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Early career[]

Shanahan played high school football at East Leyden High School, Franklin Park, Illinois, where he played wishbone quarterback for legendary Eagles coach Jack Leese's 1968 and 1969 teams. He held the single-game rushing record of 260 yards on 15 carries (which was set in a 32–8 win over Hinsdale South on September 20, 1969) until it was broken in 1976 by Dennis Cascio. He graduated from East Leyden high school in June 1970. And he owned a kamakes shop

Shanahan was an undersized quarterback at Eastern Illinois University, where he joined Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity. During a practice in the 1970s, a hard hit on the practice field ruptured one of his kidneys, which caused his heart to stop for thirty seconds and nearly killed him. A priest was summoned to read Shanahan, a Roman Catholic, his last rites.[1][2]

With his playing career abruptly ended, Shanahan entered coaching. After graduation, he served as an assistant coach at Northern Arizona University and the University of Oklahoma. He then returned to his alma mater as offensive coordinator and helped his school win the Division II football championship. Shanahan worked as the offensive coordinator for the University of Minnesota for a single season, before accepting the same position at the University of Florida under head coach Charley Pell in 1980. Shanahan stayed with the Gators through 1983.

NFL career[]

Shanahan served as a quarterbacks coach and later offensive coordinator for the Broncos under Dan Reeves in the 1980s and had a brief stint as the head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders in 1988–89. He went 8–12 with the Raiders in less than two seasons before being fired and returning to the Broncos as an offensive assistant again under Reeves. Shanahan was later fired by Reeves after finding himself in the middle of a growing feud between Reeves and quarterback John Elway.[3]

San Francisco 49ers[]

In 1992, Shanahan was hired as offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers on George Seifert's staff, capping his rise with a victory in Super Bowl XXIX after the 1994 season. The 49ers offense that year has been hailed as one of the greatest of all time, with the likes of Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Brent Jones, John Taylor, William Floyd and Ricky Watters. His years under Seifert placed him in the Bill Walsh coaching tree.

Denver Broncos[]

Shanahan's success with the 49ers earned him a head coaching spot once more, this time back in Denver with the Broncos beginning in 1995. Shanahan led Elway and the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl championships in the 1997 and 1998 seasons, during which time the Broncos set a then-record for victories in two seasons. He was the last coach to win two consecutive titles until New England's Bill Belichick did it during the 2003 and 2004 NFL seasons. Between 1996-1998, the Broncos set the NFL record for victories by going 46–10 over a three-year span. The 1998 Broncos won their first 13 games on their way to a 14–2 mark. Shanahan, taking his cue from West Coast offense guru Bill Walsh, was well-known for scripting the first 15 offensive plays of the game, and helped the 1998 Broncos set an NFL record for first quarter points scored in a season. In 2005, he passed Dan Reeves as the winningest coach in franchise history.

Shanahan is known for a run-heavy variation of the West Coast offense he coached in San Francisco. He has often found unheralded running backs from later rounds of the annual NFL Draft and then turned them into league-leading rushers behind small-but-powerful offensive lines. Examples of this phenomenon are Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, Clinton Portis, Reuben Droughns and Tatum Bell, all of whom have had at least one 1,000-yard season in a Denver uniform over the past 10 years.

After Elway's retirement and Davis' career-ending injuries, Shanahan went seven years without a playoff win (including three seasons when the Broncos didn't even make the playoffs), a drought which caused some criticism from fans. The playoff drought ended on January 14, 2006 when the Broncos defeated the two-time defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs at Invesco Field at Mile High.

In 1999, with the assistance of writer Adam Schefter, Shanahan penned Think Like a Champion, a motivational book about leadership. It was published by Harper Collins. In 2006, he cooperated with Stefan Fatsis's endeavor to spend a year as a Broncos place-kicker, and much of the resulting book A Few Seconds of Panic (2008) covers Shanahan's coaching from the player's point of view.

On December 30, 2008, Shanahan was fired after the Broncos failed to make the playoffs during the 2008 NFL season.[4] It was the third consecutive year in which Denver didn't make the playoffs and the Broncos had spent most of the season well ahead of their division.

Washington Redskins[]

File:Shanahan 05AUG10 at Redskins Open Practice.JPG

Mike Shanahan at an Open Practice on August 5, 2010 at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA

In the early part of the 2009 season, it was reported that the Washington Redskins were interested in naming Shanahan their head coach, replacing Jim Zorn. Although this was reported by several media outlets, the Redskins' Vice President of Football Operations, Vinny Cerrato, stated that a coaching change would not be considered until the end of the season.[5] On November 18, 2009 ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Buffalo Bills had contacted Shanahan about their head coaching vacancy after the team parted ways with former coach Dick Jauron.[6] The Redskins rumor resurfaced following the firing of Zorn on January 4, 2010.

On January 5, Shanahan was hired as head coach and Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the Washington Redskins. He has the final say in football matters, thus making him one of three coaches who also has the title or powers of general manager (along with New England's Bill Belichick and Philadelphia's Andy Reid).[7] Shanahan was signed to a five-year, $35 million contract.[8] A few months earlier, Bruce Allen was named the team's general manager. It is likely that Shanahan and Allen will split the duties held by a general manager, with Shanahan having the final say.[9]

Head coaching record[]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
LAR 1988 7 9 0 .438 3rd in AFC West - - - -
LAR 1989 1 3 0 .250 3rd in AFC West - - - -
LAR Total 8 12 0 .400 - - -
DEN 1995 8 8 0 .500 3rd in AFC West - - - -
DEN 1996 13 3 0 .813 1st in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Jacksonville Jaguars in AFC Divisional Game.
DEN 1997 12 4 0 .750 2nd in AFC West 4 0 1.000 Super Bowl XXXII Champions.
DEN 1998 14 2 0 .875 1st in AFC West 3 0 1.000 Super Bowl XXXIII Champions.
DEN 1999 6 10 0 .375 5th in AFC West - - - -
DEN 2000 11 5 0 .688 2nd in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Baltimore Ravens in AFC Wild-Card Game.
DEN 2001 8 8 0 .500 3rd in AFC West - - - -
DEN 2002 9 7 0 .563 2nd in AFC West - - - -
DEN 2003 10 6 0 .625 2nd in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Indianapolis Colts in AFC Wild-Card Game.
DEN 2004 10 6 0 .625 2nd in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Indianapolis Colts in AFC Wild-Card Game.
DEN 2005 13 3 0 .813 1st in AFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers in AFC Championship Game.
DEN 2006 9 7 0 .563 3rd in AFC West - - - -
DEN 2007 7 9 0 .438 2nd in AFC West - - - -
DEN 2008 8 8 0 .500 2nd in AFC West - - - -
DEN Total 138 86 0 .616 8 5 .615
WAS 2010 6 10 0 .375 4th in NFC East - - - -
WAS 2011 5 11 0 .313 4th in NFC East
WAS 2012 10 6 0 .625 1st in NFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to Seattle Seahawks in NFC Wild-Card Game
WAS 2013 3 13 0 .188 4th in NFC East
WAS Total 24 40 0 .375 0 1 .000
Total[10] 170 138 0 .552 8 6 .571


  • Posted the most wins in National Football League history during a three-year period (46 in 1996–98).
  • Won the most postseason games in history over a two-year period (seven, 1997–98).
  • Been undefeated and untied for three consecutive regular seasons (1996–98) at home, just the second team ever to be undefeated and untied at home in three consecutive years. The Miami Dolphins posted three consecutive seasons of untied undefeated home records from 1972 to 1974. Including playoff games, the Dolphins had won 31 consecutive home games from 1971 to 1974. Oddly enough, in 1999 on the opening Monday Night Football game, the Miami Dolphins ended the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos streak with a 38–21 win in Denver.
  • In 2004, he joined the exclusive club of head coaches to post 100 wins in his first 10 seasons with one club, finishing the campaign and decade tied for fourth on this list of 12 coaches, six of whom are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
  • Has the second most victories against the Oakland Raiders with a record of 21–7. Only Marty Schottenheimer has a better W–L record with a 27–6 record against the Raiders.
  • Joins Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Jimmy Johnson and Bill Belichick as the only six coaches to win back-to-back Super Bowls.
  • He is the second coach in history to win two Super Bowl titles in his first four years coaching a team (Shula did it first with the Miami Dolphins in 1972 and 1973).
  • Highest winning percentage in Denver history (.646) and most wins in Denver history (138).
  • Shanahan is among eight coaches in pro football history to post four wins in one postseason along with Tom Flores, Joe Gibbs, Brian Billick, Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Tom Coughlin and Mike McCarthy.
  • The all-time high of 636 points in a season came from the 1994 Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers, for whom Shanahan was the offensive coordinator. This was eclipsed during the 2007 season when the New England Patriots scored 589 points in the regular season and 66 points in the postseason for a total of 655 points.
  • During his NFL career, Shanahan has been a part of teams that have played in 10 Conference Championship Games, in addition to his three Super Bowl appearances, two with Denver and Super Bowl XXIX with San Francisco.

Coaching tree[]

NFL head coaches under whom Mike Shanahan has served:

Assistant coaches under Mike Shanahan who became NFL head coaches:

Assistant coaches under Mike Shanahan who became NCAA head coaches:

  • Greg Robinson, Syracuse (2005–2008)
  • Karl Dorrell, UCLA (2003–2007)
  • Troy Calhoun, Air Force (2007-current)
  • Tim Brewster, University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (2006–2009)


Shanahan is a practicing Roman Catholic.[1][11][12] He and his wife, Peggy, have two children — a son, Kyle, a graduate of the University of Texas and currently the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, and a daughter, Krystal, also a graduate of the University of Texas. Shanahan is also a Brother in the Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity.

In May 2008, Shanahan attended the wedding of George W. Bush's daughter Jenna Bush, who was the former college roommate of Shanahan's daughter.[13][14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Fatsis, Stefan. "Inside the Mind of Mike Shanahan", The Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2008. 
  2. Jenkins, Sally. "Albert Haynesworth has failed every test issued by Mike Shanahan", The Washington Post, August 23, 2010. 
  3. Freeman, Mike. "SUPER BOWL XXXIII: A Rivalry Beyond the Game; Rift Makes Reeves and Shanahan More Competitive", New York Times, January 24, 1999. 
  4. Broncos fire Shanahan after 14 seasons as head coach. (December 31, 2008).
  5. Sources: Mike Shanahan Turned Down Redskins Coaching Job. NFL Fanhouse (October 19, 2009).
  6. Sources: Bills contact Shanahan. (November 29, 2009).
  7. Shanahan to coach Redskins. Retrieved on 6 January 2010.
  8. Shanahan to receive five-year deal with Redskins. Retrieved on 6 January 2010.
  9. Maese, Rick "Redskins owner Dan Snyder concedes the stage to Mike Shanahan", The Washington Post, January 7, 2010
  10. Mike Shanahan Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks. (August 24, 1952). Retrieved on December 30, 2013.
  11. Mike Shanahan Background. My Fox DC (Accessed November 1, 2010).
  12. Article: Shanahan says he's not interested in Notre Dame position. HighBeam Research (December 10, 2004). Archived from the original on January 25, 2013.
  13. "Jenna Bush Weds Henry Hager at President's Ranch", Fox News, May 11, 2008. 
  14. "President Bush to play father of bride Saturday; Broncos' Shanahan to attend", 9 News Colorado. 

External links[]