Without identifying the author, save to say his fingers are hanging onto these typewriter keys, it was written in mid-July that "the man who fires George Allen should have a doomsday plane waiting to whisk him to safety."
All the world loves a winning football coach and George Allen, in seven years, won bigger than any Redskin since Sitting Bull scheduled Custer.
Edward Bennet Williams fired him anyway.
Williams is the Redskins' president, a fancy-dan lawyer who found Allen guilty of arrogance beyond reason. Six months after verbally agreeing to a new contract, Allen still hadn't signed it. And Williams, no numbskull football player, soon realized why.
Allen was playing the Redskins for dummies.
He wanted the Rams' job because he, better than anyone, knows the Redskins are near irreparable ruin.
So he didn't sign the contract. He hoped the Rams' job would open up. Because he shares the same attorney with Chuck Knox, for five years the Rams' coach, Allen might be expected to know what Knox was up to.
As it happens, Chuck Knox has left Los Angeles. And Williams, seeing Allen's lustful glances toward the West Coast, may have seized this opportunity to embarrass Allen mightily before the coach embarrassed the Redskins by skipping out on the disaster of his own creation.
Allen richly deserved the embarrassment of the firing. For all his palaver about loyalty to the Redskins, he treated the organization shabbily these last six months. For years, the Redskins' faithful have heard sermons from the holy coach on the evils of money-hungry players seeking new contracts.
What Allen did was worse. He agreed to a contract, it says here, in order to use that agreement in negotiating with another team. He never intended to sign with the Redskins until all other options were closed.
So much for loyalty.
Now, what about the Redskins?
When it's safe for Edward Bennett Williams to land his doomsday plane, the first thing he should do is put in a telephone call to South Bend, Ind.
Ara Parseghian lives there.
Out of college football for two seasons now, Parseghian has made it plain he'll return to coaching only at the professional level.
Other names will come up: Jack Pardee of the Bears, Ted Marchibroda of the Colts, Don Coryell of the Cardinals, Bill Walsh of Stanford University.
None of them has Parseghian's credibility.
Although he's never coached in the pros, Parseghian's competence must go unquestioned. His record at Notre Dame is beyond compare by any current college coach. The natives who would run Williams into a doomsday plane are not going to put up with a Pardee (who's had a single half-decent season) or a Walsh (a head coach one year) when the Redskins suffer through a couple of long seasons. With a Parseghian, patience might prevail.
Patience will be needed.
If we may question Allen's eternal deceits (this master of details once traded draft choices he didn't have and, when caught, said he didn't know how it happened), no one may doubt his coaching abilities. The Redskins were 9-5 this season without a running back who could break a tackle by Phyllis George. Most of the way, they played without an all-pro linebacker who is their defensive brain. Two losses to the woebegone New York Giants showed the depths of the Redskins' problems. But the team still won nine games. For that accomplishment, at least one newspaper, the New York Daily News, named Allen its NFL coach of the year.
Perhaps only Allen could win again next season with these Redskins. No help will come from this spring's college draft. The top choices have been traded away. Neither can the Redskins get help by trading current players. They have no one worth two or three men in return.
So the new coach will have a building job to do. Vince Lombardi said he was done with football. But Edward Bennett Williams talked the grand coach out of retirement to take the Redskins' job. When Lombardi died after a season, Williams went for Allen, freshly fired by the Rams' owner, Dan Reeves, who once said, "It was more fun losing than winning with George Allen."
Undoubtedly, Williams now knows what Reeves meant. In mid-July, when the team president called a press conference to announce the contract agreement, he spoke highly of Allen, the coach. "He's a winner, always has been a winner, never been a loser," Williams said.
Williams reminded the assembled journalists, upon hiring Allen seven years earlier, he said he'd never hire another coach. "And I usually mean precisely what I say," Williams said.