As the season winds down and we begin the final quarter of the schedule, the Raiders are in danger of not only missing the playoffs but also having a losing record, as their remaining games pose no easy outs. The reality of the NFL is that there really are no easy games. Go back to the beginning of the season and review the schedule. Remember how each of us went through the schedule and mentally picked each win and loss before the preseason? Pretty unpredictable how things turn out. Teams that were good (Texans) are bad and teams that were bad (Chiefs) are good. Well, here we are at 4-8, and we're heading to New York...again. The difference this time? Besides the fact that snow is in the forecast and we're actually playing a different team? The din for Dennis Allen's head is getting louder.
There is no shortage of reasons or opinions from either side of the argument to keep or remove Dennis Allen as the head coach. Instead of rehashing all of these valid points from our rabid fan base, let's take a look at a hypothetical movie scenario in which Dennis Allen's coaching job hangs in the balance.
The setting is a tunnel in MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. The players are being led off the team bus. The loudspeakers are flatly stating to the visiting players that they have the option to turn back now and keep their dignity by forfeiting the game therefore cementing the fate of their head coach OR continuing on to the light at the end of the tunnel and being embarrassed on the field by the New York Jets and still cementing the fate of their coach. As a true historian of the game and being a true Raider, Matt McGloin has adopted the moniker "Snake" from his favorite former quarterback, Ken Stabler, and has become quite obsessed with only being referred to by it, even by his mom. As "Snake" is being led through the underground labyrinth we see a pair of large hands pull him in to a side room.
McGloin: "What the hell do you think you're doing? I'm getting back on the team bus and going back to California."
Reggie McKenzie: "Matt, we need you to stay and win this game..."
McGloin: "Call me ‘Snake'..."
Reggie McKenzie: (shaking his head) "...Mark Davis is really pissed about the lack of progress this year...I think he might fire the coach."
McGloin: "The coach of what...?"
Reggie McKenzie: "That's not funny. Matt, we need you to save his job. What do you say?"
McGloin: "Get a new coach..."
Reggie McKenzie: "Is that your final answer?"
McGloin: "I'm thinking about it."
Reggie McKenzie: "Matt, I think my ass might be on the line as well...I'm prepared to give you a 4-year deal, starting job, Raiderettes, all the perks...if not, I'm ready to kick your ass down to the practice squad and promote Tyler Wilson."
McGloin: "Now that's not funny. I'll take that contract right now...and I said call me ‘Snake'. "
Reggie McKenzie: "Do you take me for a fool? You go out on that field and win this game and this contract will be waiting for you."
McGloin: "And if I don't win this game?"
Reggie McKenzie: "Then maybe there's no more head coach and no more ‘Snake' McGloin!"
McGloin: (Grabs McKenzie by the collar) "I'll go and win this game, dammit, and when I head back to Oakland tonight, I'm bringing you and ALL the coaches with me." (Swings around and heads for the field, fists clenched.)
Reggie McKenzie: "Good luck, Snake."
McGloin: "Call me McLovin."
Does a win in New York guarantee job security for Dennis Allen? Does a loss guarantee job insecurity? Or is it enough that the players play hard and the team remains competitive? Does one game really mean that much within the broader narrative of an entire season? The iterations with four games remaining, particularly considering three of the four are against division rivals, are complicated. One thing is for sure, the debates will rage on.