The Oakland Raiders saw their head coach leave the team this week in order to be with his ailing father who passed away before Allen returned to the Raiders in order to coach the Thursday Night Football game against the Denver Broncos. While it is perhaps not the most comfortable thing to talk about, the death of Dennis Allen's father may provide those on the outside with some perspective on what the team thinks of their head coach.
Earlier this season, the Indianapolis Colts found out that their head coach had been diagnosed with cancer and would be gone for most of the season. What resulted was a team that played its collective tail off in honor of their coach. This is not an uncommon theme in the NFL. We saw the Kansas City Chiefs win only their second game of the season just one day after one of their players was involved in a murder suicide. Hell, the Raiders even remember when Brett Favre tore their secondary apart on Monday Night Football right after his father had died. Football is an emotional game as it is and we frequently see tempers flare, but we also see how emotions can drive players to play outside of themselves when playing for someone or something that is important to them.
Death is never a good thing and should not be taken lightly. But with that being said, Thursday will be telling in terms of what the Raiders think of their first year head coach. This is not intended to make light out of the sad week, but the fact of the matter is, if the Raiders still fully support their coach, they will come out with a fire burning in them on Thursday. Denver may be too good for the Raiders to upset, but how the Raiders play is what matters. In recent weeks, the Raiders did not even look like they were trying. If they come out and play harder than they have in recent weeks, it will be a good sign that they are playing for Allen and that the Raiders coach still has the full support of his team.