COACH GEORGE ALLEN'S over-the-hill gang certainly gave Washington sports fans some of their finest moments. Even if the ultimate victory never came, there were playoff games year after year and there was that wild trip to the Super Bowl in 1973. Washington really identified with Redskins then-possibly because so many of the players had been judged too old and too slow to do their jobs very well.
It's over now.The release of quarterback Billy Kilmer ended the chapter Coach Allen wrote in the city's history. A few of the old gang do still remain; 4 of the 47 who were on the roster in Los Angeles that terrible January day six years ago are hanging on. But with Billy Kilmer goes the spirit of the old Redskins. He couldn't run and he couldn't pass but he could win. No one knew how or why.
Coach Jack Pardee has promised youth, speed and strength instead of age, experience and finesse. The turnover at Redskin Park may be a good thing or it may be a terrible disappointment. But as long as Jack Pardee does not try to convince us all, as his predecessors did, that football is life, defeat is death and victory must be ours at any cost-well, things will be all right.
The new Redskins do have a hard act to follow. And they do have a competitor in town. Those Bullets, who play that indoor game called basketball, are sneaking up on them in the loyalty of the area's sports fans. Like the old gang of Coach Allen, some Bullets are said by their peers to be too old and too slow. But they are winning. It's a good sign.