Neither snow nor heat will stay the Washington Redskins from the swift completion of their appointed task - winning football games this fall - if television weatherman Gordon Barnes has his way.
The WTOP-television meteorologist has approached Redskin coach George Allen about subscribing to his forecasting service for the 14-game regular season at a cost "under $2,000." Barnes will also throw in the playoffs and Super Bowl gratis if the Redskins make it that far.
If Allen agrees to make the investment - and Barnes said the Redskin coach has shown some interest in the proposal - he would be provided with a detailed long-range weather forecast for the cities of teams on the Redskin schedule, as well as the Washington forecast for home games.
That would be updated every week, and "he'd have access to all my informations seven days a week," Barnes said. "We'd give him basic stuff like temperatures, preciptation, cloud cover, winds, that sort of thing, and all very detailed.
"There are lot of ways he could use. Say they have to go to Minnesota and we tall him a few weeks in advance that's it's going to be down near zero the day of the game. Maybe he'd want to take them to Minneapolis a couple of days early to let them get used to playing in those conditions.
"He might take the information and adjust his game plan accordingly. If it was going to be very cold, or very wet, maybe they'd work more on the running game than throwing the football in practice the week before.
'He might adjust his practice schedule. If it was supposed to rain in the afternoon we could tell him that, so he'd change his workout to the morning. The possibilities are endless."
Barnes alreay has sent a representative to see Allen, John Snyder, his assistant, visited the team's Carlisle training camp Thursday and met briefly with Allen after practice.
"I got him right after he came off the field," Snyder said yesterday, "and I had about 50 feet to talk to him before he ducked into his dressing room. In the last five feet he said he really liked the ides. He kind of went nuts for it.
"Any advantage he can get to win football, he'll go for, and we think we can give the Redskins an edge."
Allen said he was intrigued about the idea because "I'm always interested in things concerning the elements. I just don't see how you can predict it that far ahead of time, but I am interested in finding out more about it."
Barnes said he strives for 75 per cent accuracy with his reports and "we're rarely below," he added.
If the Redskins do take the service, Barnes also insisted that Allen would have his reports exclusively. If the Redskins decline, he will approach the Baltimore Colts, and perhaps the Vikings, as well.
In addition to his nightly newscasts, Barnes has his own business providing a similar forecasting service to a variety of different clients - food processing companies, farmers, commodity firms and utilities. Last week, the Fairfax County Water Authority hired him to provide detail rain forecasting for September and October.
The would be Barnes' second venture into the world of sports. He once provided his service to a baseball team ("I never reveal my clients, it's in the contract") that wanted to know the bests days to stage major promotions, such as bat day or helmet day.
Allen has always been intrigued by these sorts of gimmicks. He once had the sun charted in the Los Angeles Coliseum before the 1972 Super Bowl game to determine the precisely when the rays would be directly in the eyes of his recievers and return men.
He has purchased a motor-driven punting machine, installed a hill at Redskin Park for players to run downhill on the theory it will increase their speed, and hired a psychiatrist to probe the psyches of his athletes.
Even now Allen is considering whether to subsidize a transcendental meditation program for his team and he will probably meet with weatherman Barnes and his assistant later this week on the weather proposal.
Barnes was asked yesterday why Allen couldn't get the same sort of information from the U.S. Weather Service.
"They don't do it with the kind of detail we have for long-range forecasting," he said. "They'll give you a 30-day outlook with a lot of general information about trends. We can give it to him on a specific day.
And what if he blew a forecast completely - with snow and cold predicted and sun and heat reality on game day?
"Well we'd know a couple of days in advance if there was going to be a major change," he said. "We'd provide that information, of course."
But what if science still botched it?
"That's an act of God," Barnes said. "And that's written into all my contracts."
Back to you, Willard.