Busy as I was watching such a minor issue as peace in the Middle East, I completely missed the outbreak of the Great Navel Battle in our nation's capital.

However, I am told that while Sadat and Begin were sequestered in Camp David, a diamond-shaped hole was opened up in the middle of the costume of a group of partisans known internationally as The Redskinettes.

That particular diamond-shaped cut-out managed to reveal a portion of the female anatomy long air-brushed out by editors all over America. It is known colloquially as The Belly Button, although in fact it is neither a belly nor does it button.

The exposure of that piece of anatomy was apparently more controversial than the transfer of a piece of geography known as the Sinai Peninsula. But a new treaty has been negotiated and now a piece of net will be applied to cober his gap in taste.

That will be no small concession. The costumes of the Redskinettes cost the team a total of $3,500 (or roughly $350 a square yard) and the addition will, I'm sure, be a pricey one. Moreover, people are worrying that this may signal a Washington defeat in the great immodesty race of the national football season.

You see, this navel battle was hardly a skirmish in the Great NFL Exposure Competition, which has bared more breasts than any contest since the Wonder Woman Look-Alike Day. (That winner, you may recall, was the only entrant who could run 10 consecutive yards without losing her costume top.)

The football teams this year have been afflicted with Dallas Disease, which has such terrible contagious symptoms as vinyl boots, plastic pom-poms and a wild profusion of hair.

This year, as the Atlanta Falcons Curt Mosher says: "Everyone is trying to out-Dallas Dallas." More and more, they are wearing less and less.

Belly buttons are in - at least outside of the capital. Breasts are out, in every direction. Fannies are more exposed than the land below the Golan Heights. It appears that thousands of demented young women have competed feverishly for the right to be named a Doll, or a Honey Bear, or an Embraceable Ewe. There are "ettes" in every size. Rather they gyrate, like gymnastic disco dancers, to such dubious tunes as "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

As Patriettes Director Sandy Hagan said: "Cheering isn't important for the pro game. The pro crowd doesn't cheer; it wants to be entertained." So, the jobs of the Embraceable Honeybearettes is to hold the attention of the male when there isn't any action on the field. In short, and in shorts, they are the action when there isn't any action.

Well, I, for one, cannot understand why anyone would find the outbreak of this social disease to be so surprising. It seems to me that professional football play and the professional football pulchritude are a perfect package deal. Each Ranger deserves his Rangerette and each Embraceable Ewe should have a Ram. It is a match made for television.

What, after all, is violence without sex? And what would television be without a ball, a glass of beer and a broad?

If horse-racing is the sport of kings, professional football is the sport of voyeurs. Football doesn't have fans; it has audiences. The television football consumers are the people who believe that gusto comes in a can and victory is vicarious. They want their excitement home-delivered to a chair.

For the pro viewers, Cowboys perform acts of destruction and Cowgirls perform acts of seduction. The boys do it for money and the girls do it for love and 15 bucks a game. It's the perfect hustle.

So don't worry if the soft underbellies of the Redskinettes have been buttoned up. It isn't a trend. Just pass the leer and wait a minute. Something is bound to pop out.