Chapter 3, Page 93

The Redskins next tried a field goal, but the snap was off target, and the 49ers blocked Curt Knight's kick. When the buzzer sounded, it was the Redskins who trudged into their locker room, morale sagging after a seemingly sure scoring opportunity had been wasted.

In the second half, the tide turned against the Redskins when San Francisco quarterback John Brodie threw one of his rare spirals, hitting receiver Gene Washington with a spectacular, 78-yard touchdown pass. The Redskins then helped the 49ers clinch their victory with two costly turnovers — an interception of a Kilmer pass and a bad punt snap by George Burman that San Francisco recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. Ironically, it was the defense and special teams — Allen's pride and joy — that had largely allowed the 49ers to send the Redskins packing.

Allen later would field another call from the White House, this one of consolation, and by the next afternoon he was already looking ahead to the 1972 season. After all, he had been named NFC coach of the year by UPI and was chosen NFL coach of the year by the Associated Press and Pro Football Weekly as well as by his coaching peers in a vote for The Sporting News.

"I'm glad we could give the Washington area a championship-caliber team," he said. "But I'd like to improve. You have to improve . . . Nobody knows what I went through, from the time I took the Redskins job up to today. The work, the agony, it hasn't been easy — it took so much energy and so many frustrations, and I beat myself up physically — I'll tell you what, I wouldn't go through this program again from the start to the finish for anything. I wouldn't go through it for $10 million."

In his first year, Allen had built a reputation as a workaholic who often slept on the couch in his Redskin Park office. It seemed that every game "was the biggest of our lives" and that, as he often put it, "losing was like death." He focused his entire being on the Redskins, with little patience for much else. He dined on ice cream, his wife Etty once said, because he didn't have to waste time chewing. His son Bruce once said that his father was so consumed with the team that even when he was working around the house he would tell his kids that "if I get this weed out in one piece, we'll beat the Cowboys."

Page 93 | Next Page: 94

Other Pages in Chapter 3:
79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112

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Names, Numbers
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