Virtually the only negative word I heard from Redskins fans thrilled with Sunday’s epic victory came from those who were listening to the radio broadcast and were unhappy with a first-quarter guest appearance.
The guest in question was George Allen — the brother of GM Bruce Allen, the son of the famous coach of the same name, the former governor of Virginia and a current candidate for the U.S. Senate.
“I should be glad that something has taken my mind off the Nats, but can the Redskins stay out of politics?” one reader e-mailed just after Allen’s appearance in the booth.
“It morphed into a campaign commercial,” another reader complained. “What on earth is that doing on a game broadcast?”
Several Redskins bigwigs — including Mike Shanahan, Dan Snyder and Larry Michael — helped host a fundraiser for George Allen earlier in the campaign season, so the appearance should perhaps not have been a surprise. For those who might have missed it, here is most of the conversation with Allen, which began during the Redskins’ second offensive drive (the one that ended in that interception) and concluded just before Minnesota’s third field goal.
Larry Michael: Guess who’s in the booth? It is our pleasure to welcome the former Virginia Governor George Allen in the booth. Governor, how are you today?
George Allen: I’m doing real well. I came in the booth and at least that brought some good luck. They stopped ‘em and had to make ‘em kick a field goal.
Sam Huff: I’m still reading your father’s book.
Allen: Well, I actually saw a commercial my father did with Sonny for cigars. Only time I ever saw a cigar in my father’s mouth. The kickoff’s all the way back, and it’s downed in the end zone by Brandon Banks.
Michael: Brandon Banks takes a knee. Governor, I saw you out in the parking lot. I mean, people come from all the way in the furthest corner of Virginia to come to these ballgames at FedEx Field. I know you met a lot of folks outside.
Allen: Yeah, we had a tailgate party out there — there were folks from Virginia Beach, the Hampton Roads area, the Shenandoah Valley, Chestefield, the Richmond area, and obviously a lot of folks from Northern Virginia as well. And folks are fired up for this game. They want to see the Redskins win here at home for a change.
Sonny Jurgensen: That’s right. Eight straight’s not good.
Michael: We’re gonna continue with Governor Allen in a moment
[Play by play]
Michael: Would you say Virginia, I mean, it’s always been Redskins territory hasn’t it, the state of Virginia?
Allen: Yeah, it is. There was one guy, he’s been going to games for 49 years. After this year it’ll be 50. They’re very loyal fans.
[Play by play]
Michael: Governor Allen, the book that you wrote about how politics and Washington and sports are intertwined, could you give us your thoughts on that?
Allen: Well, the book was What Washington Can Learn From the World of Sports. The best thing about sports is people on this field here are from all over the country, different races, religions, ethnicities. None of that matters. What matters is can they help the team win? And that’s the meritocracy, where everyone has that equal opportunity to succeed, and that’s what we should have in society.
Michael: 2nd-and-12 Minnesota, at the Redskins’ 37.
[Play by play]
Michael: And the psychology of this game is so important, Governor Allen, isn’t it?
Allen: Well, it’s attitude, it’s preparation, it’s leadership, it’s motivation, it’s teamwork. And all of that, I think, applies no matter what anyone does in life. No one can do things on their own. You need to have a good gameplan and execute on it, and I hope the defense creates a turnover right now.
[Play by play]
Michael: Governor Allen, great to have you in. And are you in the fourth quarter of the election cycle right now? Where does it stand?
Allen: Yeah, we’re in the fourth quarter, there’s about three possessions left. We’re working hard. And anybody who uses electricity, buys a car or loves the Redskins should be on our side.
Jurgensen: Well, the future is now.
Allen: The future IS now for America.
Michael: Hand-off to Peterson, and a big bear hug from Stephen Bowen stops him for no gain. Governor Allen, thank you so much for coming by. I know you’ve got a very busy schedule. We appreciate your stopping by so much.
Allen: Well, it’s great to see you Larry, and Sonny and Sam. You gentlemen are the best. Thank you all.
Michael: Thank you sir.
Huff: I hope you win again.
Allen: That’s what we aim to do.
All: [Laughter and merriment.]