With Washington holding former coach Jay Gruden accountable for the current mess that is the football organization, many are wondering why current president Bruce Allen continues to escape scrutiny.
Yes, the #FireBruceAllen crowd has returned, and their logic has plenty of appeal. In the ultimate results-oriented industry of sports, Allen simply hasn’t generated enough wins.
The facts back that up, in stark terms. Since Allen arrived in 2010, the team has a record of 59-89-1. Excluding the two years that unfolded after Allen failed upward from G.M. to president and Scot McCloughan racked up a record of 17-14-1, the team under Allen’s watch is 42-75.
That’s a winning percentage of 35.89 percent, roughly one victory in every three games. The Decade of Bruce also has included a pair of look-what-I-found playoff appearances, with no postseason wins. In today’s NFL, with that kind of performance over the course of a full 10 seasons, anyone else would be and should be fired.
Making things worse, ostensibly, for Allen is the general dysfunction that has riddled the team during his tenure, from the decision to give up way too much to get RGIII to the clumsy exit of coach Mike Shanahan to the clumsy exit of RGIII to the clumsy handling of Kirk Cousins to the shameful termination of McCloughan with cause to the ongoing holdout of Trent Williams (and the stubborn refusal to get value for a player who by all appearances is never coming back) to some other things I’ve probably forgotten about thanks to all of the other stuff.
So why is Allen still there? He’s still there because he has become, essentially, the surrogate owner, handling aspects of the job (like today’s press conference) that Daniel Snyder would prefer to avoid. For all the criticism that Snyder has absorbed in 20 years as owner of the team, he’s not stupid. And he’s smart enough to realize that the only thing better than being rich and famous is being rich.
With Allen serving as the front man, Snyder has slid into the background, taking a backseat while Allen, whose father was one of the franchise’s most beloved head coaches, takes the heat.
It’s become well established that Commissioner Roger Goodell serves as the pincushion for all owners. Allen serves as the pincushion for one of them.
That’s why Allen is still there, and that’s why he’ll stay until Snyder finds another pincushion. Boosting Allen in this regard is the fact that there really isn’t anyone else who would both be regarded as ideal for the job and willing to hitch his or her wagon to Snyder and his team.
Thus, even though Snyder may be able to hire a much better head coach if he’s willing to give the new coach full control of the football operation (and the right to fire Bruce Allen), Snyder won’t be getting rid of Bruce Allen unless and until Snyder identifies and hires the next Bruce Allen.