THE WORLD of George Allen is a spheroid, pointed at both ends, with laces running along the side. It is called Football, and it is broken up into rival clubs or teams, consisting, first and foremost, of the players and those who coach them, condition them and otherwise tend to their needs, and second of the owners of the enterprises, who are supposed to provide, without a whole lot of argument, whatever financial support may be deemed necessary by the coach. Each team has its own supporters, or fans, and it is Allen's Law that these shall consist of the entire population within reasonable convenient reach, including local civic leaders and the football writers assigned by the news media to record the activities and the performance of the t. Two overarching principles rule George Allen's world: Winning is everything; losing is death. And because in seven years as head coach of the Washington Redskins, Mr. Allen had 69 everythings, only 35 deaths (and one kissing-your-sister) his tenure in this town has to be put down, by his terms and by those of his many admirers in this city, as a remarkable success.
So why has he been summarily removed from his job by Redskins President Edward Bennett Williams? And why should his departure be greeted by at least some Redskins followers, ourselves included, with emotions that can best be described as mixed? The answer to both questions has almost everything to do with George ALlen's view of the world in general, and of owners of football teams in particular. That he does not suffer interference from proprietors gladly is self-evident; it was his dismissal as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, after a prolonged and acrimonious quarrel with that team's owner, that brought him to the Redskins. And it was his insistence on a free hand to spend lavishly for the improvement of the team - not to mention the salary, expense account and other perquisites that he demanded for himself - that strained his relations with the Redskins ownership.
But that isn't the entire explanation. Last July, Mr. Williams proudly announced that Coach Allen's contract had been extended until 1981, with a "very, very substantial" salary increase, and described the arrangement as "one of the best, if not the best," in the National Football League. Mr. Allen issued a prepared statement saying that he was "pleased this is settled months later, the contract had still not been signed. "We gave him a deadline," Mr. Williams explained, "and the deadline passed . . . I just reached the point where I couldn't wait any longer for George to make up his mind." Under the circumstances, it seems to us that you have to ask yourself how badly George Allen wanted to continue to work for the Redskins, and even whether it quite describes his departure to say that he was "fired." If winning is everything, a rather solid case can be made that the aging Redskins, depleted of high draft choices and badly in need of rebuilding, simply offered Mr. Alled considerably less prospect of continuing to win than, let us say, a return to the Los Angeles Rams.
Still, George Allen did provide this town with its first consistently successful football team. For that he justly earned the admiration and appreciation of a legion of devoted local fans. But his single-minded insistence on unstinting, unquestioning reinforcement from everybody - fans, football writers and owners alike - also prompted him to petty, self-pitying outbursts when things went wrong, as witness yesterday's embittered parting shots. And that is why, while applauding his accomplishments and wishing him well, we look upon his parting with emotions that are, as we said, mixed.