- The Washington Times - Monday, December 30, 2019

ASHBURN — The Washington Redskins fired team president Bruce Allen on Monday, putting an end to a 10-year tenure that featured years of losing, consistent turmoil and an era in which the team’s fans grew increasingly uninterested and apathetic.

Allen’s removal happened at the end of another playoff-less season for the Redskins, a once-proud franchise that made the postseason just twice in Allen’s tenure. Washington went 62-97-1 in 10 seasons under Allen, the son of iconic Redskins coach George Allen.

Though there had been some rumors about his staying on in a different role than team president, Allen will no longer be with the organization.

Like our passionate fan base, I recognize we have not lived up to the high standards set by great Redskins teams, coaches and players who have come before us,” owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “As we reevaluate our team leadership, culture and process for winning football games, I am excited for the opportunities that lie ahead to renew our singular focus and purpose of bringing championship football back to Washington D.C.

Over the decade, Allen became the focal point of fans’ frustrations as his critics blamed him for his talent evaluations, his managing of player relationships and a lack of transparency. Fans even launched a “#FireBruceAllen” social media campaign, repeatedly calling for his dismissal.

Each year, however, Allen avoided unemployment — and in some cases, wrestled power back from others in the organization.

But this season was different. After Allen declared Washington as “close” to contention in the offseason, the Redskins were anything but when the year began. Over the first five weeks, the Redskins went 0-5 with a -78 point differential — leading the team to fire coach Jay Gruden. At a press conference explaining the decision, Allen faced pointed questions about his tenure, defending it by telling reporters: “The culture is actually damn good,” a comment which was highly criticized.

The coaching change, however, did not make a massive difference as Washington still lost eight of its next 11 games. Just as troublesome for Washington, the team’s fans stopped showing up to games. This season, the Redskins averaged 65,488 fans per game, actually a 7.3% increase from last year — but a 21% fall from the start of the decade. At FedEx Field, the Redskins have grown accustomed to seeing swaths of empty seats and opposing fans invade each game.

Off the field, Allen faced scrutiny for his handling of left tackle Trent Williams’ months-long holdout. When the seven-time Pro Bowler returned to Washington in October, Williams disclosed the Redskins had failed to adequately treat a cancerous tumor on his scalp and said he had lost trust in the organization. In various interviews, Williams, who did not play for the Redskins this year, has publicly questioned how Allen still has job and said a bridge had been burned for “smearing him.”

Throughout the saga, Allen remained stubborn. He refused to trade Williams and did not seek offers for the left tackle until a few days before the trade deadline, the latter of which Williams felt was meant to “embarrass” him. “Try to make it feel like, ‘Ain’t nobody want you; You’re not good enough for us to trade for,’ ” Williams said.

Factoring in the circumstances, Snyder began to “understand the gravity of the situation,” according to CBS Sports, and acted on changes to the front office.

While Snyder has hired six head coaches since purchasing the Redskins in 1999, he has only hired one other head executive. Ironically, that man — Vinny Cerrato — also almost lasted a decade, and his dismissal occurred Dec.17, 2009.

Snyder, whose record is 142-193-1 in the last 20 years, will have to find an executive who can find the right talent to produce winning football. Over the past few months, Snyder has met with a small circle of advisers who have weighed on football matters. He’ll also have to hire a new coach, a process that has already started with Ron Rivera emerging as the favorite. Rivera will interview with the Redskins on Monday. 

Allen’s presence in the front office was also said to be a deterrent to possible candidates, according to multiple reports.

For more on what went wrong in Allen’s tenure, read here.

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