“It looked like a high school breakup,” Carmen Young said. “It looked like Allen knew at that point that he was not going to be back in any capacity, because no one just ignores their boss like that.”
“That was a very good sign,” said Amela, who woke up early Monday with the express purpose of checking Twitter for news about Allen’s job status.
The couple’s intuition was correct. When Amela saw that Allen had been fired just after 7 a.m., she roused her husband and started screaming.
“We were sooo excited,” she said. “It’s the best day ever as a fan.”
Redskins fans across the country, many of whom had used the #FireBruceAllen hashtag that swamped every social media post from the team, exchanged virtual high-fives Monday. The hashtag became popular in 2014, after Allen famously told reporters that Washington was “winning off the field” at the end of a 4-12 season. It resurfaced when the Redskins fired former general manager Scot McCloughan in March 2017, and it gained steam over the next three playoff-less seasons. Its goal accomplished, it now figures to become a relic from a low point in franchise history.
With the NFL regular season complete and no more content to produce, ESPN fantasy football guru and die-hard Redskins fan Matthew Berry slept in for a change Monday. After celebrating his birthday with family Sunday night, he awoke to congratulatory texts and messages, including several related to his favorite team.
“I realized that of all the gifts I got, perhaps the best one was my Washington Redskins announcing that Bruce Allen is no longer with the organization,” Berry said in a video he posted on Twitter. #FireBruceAllen actually worked. So, I’m back. I’m back as a fan, baby.”
Danny Rouhier, co-host of the “Grant and Danny” midday show on 106.7 the Fan, joined the cause after the Redskins fell to 0-3 with a 31-15 loss to the Chicago Bears in September.
“Day 1 of the thread,” Rouhier tweeted Sept. 24. “Bruce Allen is 59-90 (39.5 winning %) in charge of the Redskins. He was given a larger role this offseason. #FireBruceAllen”
Rouhier added to the thread with a single tweet every day for the remainder of the season. The thread featured statistics and other evidence to support the wide-held belief among an increasingly disgruntled fan base that after the franchise failed to produce a single playoff win during Allen’s 10-season tenure, it was time for change.
“It’s easy to want to give yourself a lot of credit, saying, ‘Well, I used a hashtag every day for almost 100 days, and that must have done it,’ but that would be naive to think that,” Rouhier said. “But was it a factor? I really do think so."
Two years ago, the Youngs vowed to stop attending games and buying Redskins merchandise until Allen was fired. Others threatened to give up their season tickets or even root for another team if a change wasn’t made.
“I felt so bad for the players because there was no fans there to support them, but this was the only thing left for us to do to show Snyder that [Allen] needs to go,” Amela Young said of the number of empty seats and opposing teams’ fans at FedEx Field over the past two years.
“I think the fans’ voice is stronger than they realize,” former Redskins running back Clinton Portis told Rouhier’s co-host, Grant Paulsen, on Monday. “Often the fans have a movement or ask for something, and then all of a sudden they get it. Just the attendance at games, and constantly the hashtag, I think eventually it happens. … Once the attendance slips and you’re not putting a winning product on the field, someone has to take the blame."
While some fans saved their money to protest Allen this season, retired banking executive Chuck Coltman paid $1,600 to fly a banner over Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium for two hours before the Redskins played the Dolphins in October. “Help Skins Fans Fire Bruce Allen!” the banner read.
“I’ve certainly determined it was worth every dollar, even if it only impacted it slightly,” Coltman, who has followed the Redskins since 1956, said in a phone interview Monday. “… I’m a happy camper. I was worried that he would stay in some form and still have Mr. Snyder’s ear, so to hear that he’s out of the organization made me very happy.”
“I’m happy that he’s gone,” said 44-year-old Shawn Gaines, whose late father, Palmer Gaines, played for the Redskins during the 1974 preseason. “You hate to see someone lose his job, but this is the business of sports. I think Dan did the right thing, and I’m hoping that Dan is learning from his mistakes, because we’ve been down this road before.”
Gaines has traveled from his home in Connecticut to one Redskins home game each of the past four years and was determined to end the tradition if Allen remained in the front office next season.
“Now that he’s gone, the plans are back on,” he said. “I’ll be there.”
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