First off, I hate the use of "gate" added to a word to signify scandal. In fact, I knew the moment this came out that this would be the name of it. Now that I have cleared that up, on to the important details. That being that Raiders new head coach was on the Saints defensive staff for the first two seasons of the scandal.
For those unfamiliar with what "Bountygate" is; a quick explanation. Apparently, according to a long and detailed NFL report, the Saints coaches and players have been placing bounties on opposing players heads. Without going into great detail, the idea is that they collect a pot of money, usually around $10 or $15 thousand and whomever "knocks out" a specific opposing player, wins the money.
The NFL has been investigating this for a while now and the primary names mentioned as the guilty parties are Saints GM Mickey Loomis, head coach Sean Payton, and defensive coordinator Greg Williams. Saints indeed.
If the investigation goes much deeper it would begin to include position coaches, which in turn would have Dennis Allen answering some questions-- if he hasn't already.
As soon as the scandal broke, Allen was contacted by several media outlets and had no comment on the investigation.
Dennis Allen coached with the Saints for five seasons from 2006 to 2010. The final three seasons he was the team's defensive backs coach. And while there is no evidence to link him to the bounty program there, he will none the less be connected with it.
The elephant in the room in all this is Allen is head coach of the Raiders. I heard one prominent sports writer take a cheap shot at the Raiders immediately after the scandal broke and it had nothing to do with Allen. It was simply making an association with attempting to cause physical injury on an opponent and the Raiders.
That is a reputation that the Raiders have had for nearly their entire existence. Despite the fact that the Raiders as the "bad boys of the NFL" hasn't really been true since the early 80's. But it just goes to show you how long a reputation can stick with you-30 years and counting for the Raiders.
The Patriots were caught up with Spygate and that reputation may never leave them either. There is no doubt the Saints will have the stink of this on them for the foreseeable future. The question is if that scent will follow Allen with the Raiders. It just might.
When you combine the Raiders being the most undisciplined team in the league with much of that lack of discipline attributed to personal foul penalties, it certainly doesn't help to have their new head coach associated with a scandal about headhunting.
Allen preached discipline from the moment he walked in the door. And with the league and the officials on high alert, they will need to be on their absolute best behavior. You just hope it won't take away from the aggressiveness of the defense. There is hardly any aggressiveness allowed in the NFL without making the officials paranoid and flag-happy.
There really is absolutely no way that the Raiders would think about running any kind of bounty program with their team. And no way Dennis Allen would ever attempt to institute one. The hope now is that the league can see past the Silver and Black reputation and the scandal that rests with Allen's former team and judge the Raiders and their head coach on the same plane as every other team.
As for Raider fans, now they have one more reason to think the league is out to get them. Oh, boy.
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