Bruce Allen (American football)

Bruce Allen (born 1955 or 1956[1]) is an American football executive. In his career, Allen served as general manager for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins.[2] He got his NFL start as a senior executive with the Oakland Raiders.[3] He is also the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame coach George Allen and brother of former Virginia governor and United States Senator George Allen.

Bruce Allen
refer to caption
Allen in 2015
Personal information
Born:1955 or 1956 (age 63–64)
Career information
High school:Langley High School
College:University of Richmond
Career history
As executive:


Allen is the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame coach George Allen and brother of former Virginia governor and Senator George Allen. Allen attended high school at Langley High School in McLean, Virginia in the early 1970s, and attended the University of Richmond, where he played football for the Spiders from 1974–1977. In his junior season, he ranked 16th nationally and broke the school record for punting, averaging 42.9 yards a kick; those numbers resulted in him being named to that year's All-ECAC and All-South Independent teams. He was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 12th round of the 1978 NFL Draft, but did not play for the team.[4] In July 1979, Allen was hired as the head football coach at Occidental College, a small NCAA Division III school in Los Angeles.[5]

Oakland RaidersEdit

Allen first joined the Oakland Raiders organization in 1995. He won the George Young Executive of the Year award with the club during their AFC Championship year in 2002.

Tampa Bay BuccaneersEdit

Following the 2003 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released long-time general manager Rich McKay, whose relationship with Super Bowl XXXVII winning coach Jon Gruden had deteriorated. The Glazer family, which owned and oversaw the Buccaneers, hired Allen to replace McKay, as Allen had previously worked with Gruden in Oakland.

Allen immediately began looking for a more youthful team. This included releasing long-time Buccaneer John Lynch and allowing Warren Sapp to leave for free agency, along with drafting Auburn running back Cadillac Williams in the 2005 NFL Draft.

The Buccaneers performance during Allen's tenure was mixed. His first year there, the team went 5-11. The next year however, they were 11-5 and won the NFC South division in 2005, but went 4-12 in 2006. The team rebounded to a 9-7 record and another NFC South title in 2007, after which Allen (and Gruden) had their contracts extended to 2011. Following a second 9-7 record in 2008 and missing the playoffs after four consecutive losses in December, however, both Allen and Gruden were released.

Washington RedskinsEdit

On December 17, 2009, the Washington Redskins announced that they had hired Allen as their general manager shortly after executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato resigned.[2] Allen's father coached the Redskins to its first Super Bowl appearance in 1972. Shortly after Allen joined the Redskins, Jim Zorn and his staff were fired, allowing Mike Shanahan to be hired as head coach and executive vice president of football operations. While Shanahan had the final say in football decisions, he and Allen split the duties of general manager, working in an arrangement similar to how Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli operated with the New England Patriots at the time. For the uncapped season in 2010, the League had advised all teams to not explicitly use it as a method to create cap room in the future when the salary cap would return. Allen and the team failed to heed the warnings of the league and did so anyway. As a result, Washington suffered a US$36 million salary cap penalty split between the 2012 season and 2013 season seasons.[6]

After Shanahan was fired following the 2013 season, Allen took over his role and had final say on football operations, choosing Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to replace him at head coach.[7][8] While general manager, Allen attempted to bridge the connection between the modern Redskins and the glory years of past, include hosting golf tournaments with former players and coaches, to bringing back the gold pants that his father's team had used in the 1970s.[9]

In 2014, Allen was officially given the co-title of president.[10] Allen abdicated his title of general manager after the Redskins hired Scot McCloughan to be their new one on January 7, 2015,[11] later becoming the de facto general manager again upon the firing of McCloughan after the 2016 season.[12] Allen's tenure with the team was met with heavy criticism and disapproval, with a popular "FireBruceAllen" hashtag campaign being used on social media throughout the latter half of the 2010s, before he was fired following a 3–13 season in 2019.[13][14] The team had only made two postseason appearances under Allen, winning neither of them.


  1. ^ "Bruce Allen, 23, Older and Wiser as a Head Coach". The Los Angeles Times. November 10, 1979. p. 9. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Vinny Cerrato resigns Archived February 8, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, WTOP-FM, December 17, 2009.
  3. ^ Svrluga, Barry (December 17, 2009). "Redskins Insider - Bruce Allen replaces Vinny Cerrato with Redskins (updated)". Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  4. ^ Svrluga, Barry (December 17, 2009). "Redskins Insider - Bruce Allen on board; is Jon Gruden next?". Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  5. ^ "Bruce Allen named Occidental coach". St. Petersburg Times. July 11, 1979. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  6. ^ Fitzgerald, Jason (December 10, 2013). "The Redskins, Bruce Allen, and Mike Shanahan…". Over the Cap.
  7. ^ Boyer, Zac (January 9, 2014). "Jay Gruden hired as Redskins coach". The Washington Times. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  8. ^ John Keim (January 9, 2014). "Jay Gruden to coach Redskins". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  9. ^ Steinberg, Dan (September 12, 2010). "Redskins wearing gold pants". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  10. ^ Florio, Mike. "Redskins name Bruce Allen president and G.M." Pro Football Talk. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  11. ^ Orr, Conor. "Washington Redskins make Scot McCloughan GM". Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  12. ^ Keim, John. "Scot McCloughan fired as Redskins' general manager after two years". ESPN. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  13. ^ Gaydos, Ryan. "Washington Redskins fire Bruce Allen after years of mediocrity". Fox News. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  14. ^ Allen, Scott. "For some Redskins fans, Bruce Allen's firing was 'the best day ever'". Washington Post. Retrieved January 5, 2020.

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