If you were in the vicinity of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens late Sunday morning and looked up at the sky, you likely saw it: a small plane dragging a banner reading “Help Skins Fans Fire Bruce Allen.”
The fan who paid for the banner — and now has the love of his fellow fans — has stepped forward.
‘It’s just been horrible’
Via the Washington Post, the fan behind the banner is 76-year-old retired banking executive Chuck Coltman.
Coltman has been a Washington Redskins fan for years. In January 1973, when he was living in Sydney, he paid to listen to the Super Bowl VII broadcast via telephone as the Miami Dolphins completed their undefeated season with a win over Coltman’s favorite team.
He joked that he couldn’t afford it at the time.
But on Sunday, he paid $1,600 for the banner to fly for two hours before Washington played Miami to say what so many others have said privately and publicly on social media.
“Under Bruce Allen, it’s just been horrible,” said Coltman, who was in the stands at Hard Rock Stadium to watch the team he’s followed for over 50 years get its first win of the season. “It seems to me it’s a total lack of understanding of how to manage something. You can’t allow internal competition and internal politics to interfere with the objective. … That’s what Bruce Allen has done historically, and he’s going to keep doing it unless we change it.”
In 10 years with Washington, gaining more power within the organization with seemingly every passing year, Allen has overseen an organization that’s made two playoff appearances and has zero postseason wins.
Coach Jay Gruden was fired over a week ago, after the team fell to 0-5 with an embarrassing home loss to the New England Patriots.
‘It was a management issue’
After Gruden was fired and Allen stood before media to declare that Washington has a “damn good culture” while taking no responsibility for the franchise’s failures over the last decade, Coltman and his son started thinking of ways they could make a statement.
Initially, he joked, he wanted the banner to read, “Dan, what does Bruce have on you?” questioning team owner Dan Snyder’s continued devotion to Allen.
“I decided that I at least ought to express that this was not a Jay Gruden issue,” Coltman said. “It was a management issue, a process issue, and we got to change it.”
But his banner made it onto social media, and fans in the stands were offering to buy Coltman a beer; it’s not clear if it made it to Snyder or Allen.
“It was very exciting to see everyone pointing at it and taking pictures of it,” Coltman said. “I had people telling me it was on Twitter and Facebook. That’s what I wanted. I wanted it to spread around social media, and hopefully the team will think about other options than keeping the same Allen regime in charge.”
‘The NFL needs a good team in Washington’
Coltman gave up his season tickets at FedEx Field five years ago, but still attends a few games every year.
“I want to want to go to every game, but you’ve got to have a winner every once in a while,” he said. “The NFL needs a good team in Washington. If Dan Snyder is a good businessman, he needs to realize he’s losing his customer base. He’s not going to sell the team. If he wants to keep Allen for the [new] stadium deal, fine, but darn it, keep him out of the politics of the football team. Let’s get a pro.”
Coltman’s statement might have been loudest, but it wasn’t the only: there were fans wearing “Fire Bruce Allen” T-shirts at the game.
“I hope Dan Snyder paid attention and might do something different,” he said.
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