IT WAS A GLORIOUS evening all around town. The weather was crisp and clear. The television reception was excellent. The views of the city's lights from the blimp over RFK Stadium were superb. And both the Redskins and Metro performed beyond our fondest dreams.

We were convinced that the Redskins were for real long before the game ended. After they beat back the fearsome Cowboys time after time in that interminable series of plays inside the 5-yard line how could you doubt? Yet we kept hearing the voice of world's most bumptious sports announcer explaining how the "champion" Cowboys were getting back into the game through "great" individual efforts. Not until Joe Theismann grabbed the ball and ran off the playing field with it did the realization reach the broadcasting booth that, as George Allen would put it, the future, once again, is now.

A football game without a touchdown is supposed to be like an election with only one candidate - dull. This one wasn't. The battle raged from one end of the field to the other with the defenses of both teams giving ground steadily but then parrying the ultimate thrusts. Yet the hope - and the fear - was always there that one brilliant play would be decisive. The tension never dropped until Roger Staubach's last pass bounded harmlessly on the grass.

A few minutes later, Metro joined the city's winners by hauling thousands of people away from the stadium in a manner to which they were unaccustomed. Its machines worked and its trains ran as if they, too, had been prepared by Coach Jack Pardee. Some of those who rode it were home before the last of their fellow fans escaped from the parking lots. It was an appropriate end to such an evening.