Current New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen remains one of the frontrunners for the head coaching position, but he wasn’t always so loyal to the franchise.
Allen began his NFL coaching career on the Atlanta Falcons, where he served as a defensive quality control coach from 2002 to 2003 and defensive assistant from 2004 to 2005.
Prior to being hired by NOLA in 2006, though, Allen was trying to get a coaching position on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sean Payton describes Allen’s apparent disappointment at joining the less desirable NFC South team:
New Orleans Saints’ Dennis Allen was nearly hired by Tampa years ago
The Saints went on to win the Super Bowl in 2009, and Allen probably wasn’t acting so mopey then.
Allen left New Orleans to work with the Broncos and Raiders before returning to the team in 2015. During his six seasons as defensive coordinator, Allen has helped sculpt NOLA’s defense into one of the most consistently elite units in the league. He’s developed high-profile names like Cam Jordan, Marshon Lattimore, and Demario Davis, as well as younger stars in Paulson Adebo and Marcus Davenport.
This past season, Allen may be remembered most for his upset against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 15, shutting out the GOAT for the first time since 2006.
Ever since Brady joined the Bucs and became the Saints’ division rivals, Allen has strung together five of the best play-calling showcases the league has ever seen against the seven-time Super Bowl champion. Some may even call him Brady’s Kryptonite.
It’s hard to imagine Allen coaching alongside Bruce Arians in present day (not that he would want to go there now), but in another life, he very well could have.
In 2022, Payton will be gone. Tom Brady may be finished, too. If New Orleans ends up promoting Allen to head coach, he’ll have the opportunity to begin his own era and usher in a new generation of Saints football.