LEST ANY REDSKIN fan forget what made the coachdom of King George Allen so memorable on any given Sunday or occasional Monday night; America was treated to a revealing vignette from the man himself last weekend on the CBS television network. Live, or at least half-live after a tough 10-6 loss to the Atlantic Falcons, were this year's Redskin players, shaking hands and making small talk with their opponents before heading off the field to the locker room. And from the TV booth came this bit of warm retrospection from the coach-turned-sportscaster: "I never wanted my teams to shake hands. 'Get in the locker room and figure out how we're going to win next week.'"
So that's it! For nearly 14 weeks the whole town has been trying to figure out why the 'Skins have been taking it on the chin so quickly this year. Those little sillies have been horsing around out there after the games, instead of scowling, turning their backs and whipping open their play books for the next regularly scheduled war. In the bad old future-was-then days of Coach Allen, there was no such thing as a fair shake. f
But, inquired his TV boothmate Vin Scully, "Wouldn't you go shake hands with the opposing coach?" "No," he replied, "not often. And then only if the coach happened to have been an assistant of mine." It happens that one former assistant of his -- today's Redskin coach, Jack Pardee -- doesn't get quite so exercised about such lapses into sportsmanship. In fact, he never has been exactly overcome by the Allen "winning-is-everything, losing-is-death" philosophy that guided the team up and over the hill so stunningly.
Maybe nice guys really do finish last. But George Allen surely remembers two deadly exceptions: only twice did Pardee-coached Chicago Bears ever play Allen-coached Redskins. Both times, Coach Allen came up short if not all that gracious. And after those winning seasons, he left Washington and Mr. Pardee a legacy of tired blood, spent draft choices and dim prospects. So maybe fans simply got what they had coming to them this year. Let's hope that's all there was.