The chicken and rice was chilly and bland but Redskin President Edward Bennett Williams helped flavor the 17th annual welcome home luncheon yesterday at the Sheraton Park Hotel with a spicy little speech that will not be appreciated in Los Angeles.
Williams warmed up the crowd of 1,800 when he said, "A lot of water has washed under the bridge since last we met in this room last September."
Williams went on to say that he had "a funny feeling at the end of last year that maybe George (Allen) didn't want to be with us. I didn't say anything about it, but one day I stopped in on 9th Street to see Madame Zelda, a medium.
"I asked her, 'Does George really want to coach for me next year?' and she looked into that crystal ball and said, 'Yes, he really does.' I said, 'Thank you, Zelda.' She said 'It's okay, Carroll.'"
Williams ribbed Ram owner Carroll Rosenbloom again when he told a story about the sheik who sent his son to America and told him to buy whatever he liked. The son wanted an ice skating rink so the sheik bought him Rockefeller Center.
"Then the little boy went to Disneyland," Williams said, "and he told his father, 'I want a Mickey Mouse outfit,' So the sheik offered $50 million for the Los Angeles Rams."
Williams was rolling now, and kept on jabbing.
He said he recently had read a Gallup poll that contained the three most frequently told lies - 1. "The check is in the mail," 2. "I gave at the office," and 3. "I'm from the government, I'm here to help you."
"Well, Carroll Rosenbloom has justrocketed into fourth place," Williams went on. "It's one we never recognized before. That one is 'Aaaah, those preseason games, they don't mean a thing."
"There's another one that's surely going to be in the top 10 next year. It goes like this. 'I hate to let you go, I know you didn't get a fair chance, but it's your health I'm thinking of."
Williams became serious when he introduced Jack Pardee.
"When he left Washington in 1974 to become a head coach," Williams said, "I thought at the time that the organization had suffered the worst manpower loss since Coach Lombardi's death.
"I want to say to you about him what I said about Coach Lombardi then. We have as our new coach a great human being and in the same person we have a great football coach."
Pardee introduced the entire team, drew a laugh when he described Chris Hanburger as 'my idol when I was playing."
Earlier in the program, safety Jake Scott was presented an award as the outstanding Redskin of 1977. Scott said, "There's one great player, I really want to thank. He's the guy who stood here last year and got this award, Ken Houston. He's the greatest football player I've ever played with."