Alameda, CA – Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie called two people after he interviewed Dennis Allen for the open head coach position in Oakland: his wife and owner Mark Davis.
"They could feel the excitement I had," McKenzie said, "and I wanted to let them know that I think I found my guy."
Allen was introduced Monday as the new head coach of the Raiders, saying his goal was a team that played with passion, emotion, discipline and a respect for game and those who played it before them.
"You don't win games in the National Football League by talent alone," Allen said. "There are a lot of other things that are a part of that, and those are the things that we're going to develop and those are the things we're going to preach on a day-to-day basis to our players.
"Because we do have talented players. We have enough talent on our team to compete for a championship, and that's what our goal is going to be every year. (But) we've got to play smart, we've got to play tough, we've got to play disciplined and we got to be committed to doing the things that it takes to win in the National Football League. And those are the things we're going to do."
The Raiders hired Allen to replace Hue Jackson, who was fired earlier this month on McKenzie's first official day as general manager after just one season at the helm and an 8-8 record.
McKenzie pledged a detailed search for Jackson's replacement, but quickly landed on Allen after being impressed by his initial interview.
"To say I was excited after the interview with coach Allen would be a major understatement," said McKenzie, who met with Allen again at the Senior Bowl. "I was extremely excited."
McKenzie said Allen exceeded his expectations as a potential coach who was eager to lead and passionate about the game and about teaching players.
Allen, who was hired after one season as defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos, showed flashes of that passion in Monday's press conference when he laid out his goals for the team.
He said the offense would be "up-tempo" with a focus on being aggressive and having an explosive passing game. He said he believed all the pieces were in place to accomplish that. Allen also stressed an aggressive mentality for his defense with a focus on rushing the quarterback and stopping the run.
"This is a new day in Oakland Raiders football," Allen said. "We're progressing forward and we're going to set our own goals."
Prior to being hired by the Broncos in January 2011, Allen was with the New Orleans Saints for five seasons, serving as assistant defensive line coach from 2006-07 and as the secondary coach from 2008-10.
The Broncos had the NFL's 20th-ranked defense during the regular season and won the AFC West at 8-8. They edged Oakland for the division title on a tiebreaker, then beat Pittsburgh in the wild card round of the playoffs before losing to New England in the divisional round.
Allen is Oakland's seventh different head coach since Jon Gruden left after the 2001 season. Bill Callahan spent two years as head coach and guided the Raiders to the Super Bowl after the 2002 season, losing to Gruden's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Raiders haven't had a winning season since.