This is one of the weeks - draft time in the NFL - that especially depresses the Redskin faithful, when Ron McDole seems a ton heavier and Billy Kilmer's wobbles float out there like flapjacks, when all those young franchise builders are going everywhere but Washington.
Of course, eight months later matters are reversed. Many of the teams that allegedly drafted so many of what Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer calls stallions and stingers are drafting alibis, while the Redskins limp into the playoffs. There seems no reason to believe the scene will not play one more time this year.
But the draft did emphasize that, as usual, the Redskins will be wild-carding it this year, barring serious injuries in Dallas or Tony Dorsett taking complete leave of his senses. It is possible the Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals drafted themselves into the Super Bowl.
What Dallas got is the most gifted runner since O.J. Simpson and for a price that usually returns a quality linebacker or two blockers. Instead the Cowboys acquired someone with Hall of Fame credentials. The boob-of-the-draft award goes to the Seattle Seahawks.
For weeks prior to the draft, it had been assumed the Cowboys would have to offer Too Tall Jones and other player, perhaps Herb Scott, before even beginning to discuss draft choices for the rights to Dorsett. But Seattle lost its chances of winning in a hurry by settling for Dallas' place in the first round and three second-round choices.
And then the Seahawks carried that stupidity a few yards farther, some insiders insist, by using that No. 1 choice for an offensive lineman named Steve August from Tulsa. At least two teams figured August would still be available in the third round.
If Cowboy management and Dorsett's financial wizard do not bend enough to produce a contract, it will be an even bigger blunder. Dorsett could make the Cowboys the best team in the NFL. And why should Dorsett sign with a Canadian team when the Cowboys have the sort of blockers that make even ordinary runners appear awesome?
Recall that much of Dorsett's record-smashing 6,082 career rushing yards were mustered against Notre Dame and Penn State for four years and assorted Southern Cals, Oklahoma and Georgias. In four games, Dorsett averaged 139 yards against the Irish.
And the exceptional runners are exceptional very quickly in the NFL, because so much of what they do is instinctive. That Simpson gained just 577, 488 and 742 yards his first three pro seasons, it may be argued vigorously, was because he had a better offensive line at Southern Cal than at Buffalo.
Tony Dorsett (he prefers Anthony Dor-SETT but knows the rewards TD Tony creates) behind Rayfield Wright and Blaine Nye? With Roger Staubach at quarterback?And the minds of Tom Landry and Dan Reeves at work? The possibilities are staggering.
"If he takes us to the Super Bowl," said Staubach, "I don't care if they give him Texas Stadium."
By the opening of the regular season, the Cowboys may well feature yet another young runner to complement Dorsett's speed and moves. That would be Jim Jensen, a bludgeon of a runner the Cowboys drafted on the second round a year ago but who failed to adapt to either fullback or tight end. He will be back at fullback in training camp.
For George Allen, there will be even stricter attention to defensive Xs and Os - and also the wonder of what might have been if his checkbook chargers of a year ago had become effective before the final few regular-season games.
In truth, Allen pulled a coup last year even more startling than Dallas with Dorsett. For nothing but someone else's money, Allen signed John Riggins, Calvin Hill and Jean Fugett. And still finished behind Dallas.
This year the difference between Dallas and Washington ought to be even greater, although the Redskins figure to be better offensively if Theismann finally delivers whatever is necessary to grab the quarterback reins for keeps.
So the Redskins are embarrassing proof that teams cannot necessarily buy championships. But the Cowboys have stolen Dorsett, not bought him. Whether crime pays will begin to become known in the months to come. Like Allen a year ago, Dallas has said: "the future is now" without giving up much of its future.
There other intriguing teams in the draft were the Bengals, Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Colts. Cincinnati seems to have built the defensive line it needs to achieve the level of Oakland, Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the AFC. But Minnesota picked a quarterback, Tommy Kramer, some scouts believe does not have an NFL fast ball.
The Colts picked two good players who may help them get one or two more valuable players in the near future. Two Baltimore strengths are wide receiver and the defensive line, so the first tow choices were a wide receiver and a defensive end. But they may permit a trade for what the Colts need - a linebacker and defensive back.
"If I had Lenny Moore and O.J. Simpson and had the No. 1 pick in the draft," said th Colts' Dick Szymanski, "I'd still go for either Ricky Bell or Dorsett, because they're the best players. Then I could get a lot more through trades."
Which is how most men who build playoff teams think. What Seattle stands to get is grief.