If the moon is in the seventh house and Ann-margret falls in love with Mickey Mouse while either Green Bay or Minnesota loses in conjunction with Philadelphia selling the Liberty Bell to the Bears, then, yes, the Tedskins may get into the playoffs.
But who cares? Of 28 National Football League teams, 10 will be in the playoffs. Making it mean nothing unless a team has a chance to advance, and these Redskins, who would have to sneak in with an embarrassing 9-7 won-lost record, have proven in the last two months they are going nowhere. So all this wild-card talk is good for exercise against the chill, but nothing else.
Better we deal with next year's Redskins. How in the name of Slingin' Sammy Bauth is anyone going to make the Redskins a solid contender next season? Bobby Beathard, the general manager, and Jack Pardee, the coach, will soon confront the problem. Heads will roll.
Look for Ron McDole and Chris Hanburger to retire. Naybe Jake Scott, too. If they can make a deal, the Redskins might trade Mike Thomas, Diron Talbert, Jean Fugett, Danny Buggs, John McDaniel -- anyone and everyone, in fact, for on a 9-7 or 8-8 team there are no untouchables.
The intoxication of the 1972 season, in which the Redskins lost to Miami in the Super Bowl, kept this town silly for the longest time, even mesmerized by George Allen, the world's leading snake-oil salesman/football coach. Never have so many people been so happy for so long over first-round playoff defeats (three straight in 1973-74-76).
And all the while, the team was decaying.
By luck and mighty effort early in the season, the Redskins began this campaign with six straight victories. That success made Washingtonians forget that Allen had created a team with no future.
He built a nucleus of solid players with character and experience. But when that core grew old, he had no way to replace it. He had traded away draft choices for his wizened veterans. No future in the draft, then. Nor could he build by trading, bacause the players so valuable to him -- such as Billy Kilmer, Len Hauss, Diron Talbert -- weren't valuable to anyone else.
And now the Redskins are paying the piper for the tune he played in the Allen years.
Of 45 men on the Redskins' current roster, 16 are first-year players. Of the 22 who started Sunday at Atlanta, 10 were not in those jobs last December. This is a team in transition, and all teams changing personality do it at a cost of pain (even the Cowboys once had an 8-6 year between Super Bowls). The pain is just beginning for the Redskins.
And while George Allen does his TV work and writes a column and gets paid $200,000 not to coach, Bobby Beathard and Jack Pardee must repair the damage Allen did here. Not only that, they must repair it without tools. It's as if a carpenter, asked to build a mansion, were told to drive his nails with a banana.
Professional football teams are built through the draft of college players and by trading for veterans. Allen's construction/destruction process left the Redskins with no better than a fourth-round draft choice for next season.
And who, if they must trade, do the Redskins have that anyone else would want badly enough to give the Redskins anything of value? A related question: who do the Redskins have of value who wouldn't be missed grievously?
Think about those questions and then you realize the demands of the job facing Beathard and Pardee.
If it were my team, and thank heaven it isn't (I have enough to do just feeding my dogs and cat), I would find a nucleus of solid players, most of them young, and build around them, hoping that by 1981 I'd have a team that wouldn't have to sneak into the playoffs.
I'd keep Joe Theismann, Mike Bragg, Mark Moseley, Brad Dusek, John Riggins, Bob Kuziel, Lemar Parrish, Dave Butz, Perry Brooks, Dan Nugent, George Starke, Karl Lorch and Tony Green.
The 40 or so other Redskins under contract would be available for trades to any interested parties. I'd wave bye-bye to Mike Thomas, who is playing out his option, and hope I get a high draft choice. Because of a wounded knee, Jean Fugett is expendable while he still has value. Diron Talbert, in his 13th season, had knee surgery, but may be worth a nice draft choice in 1980, say.
Somehow, be it by flat-out luck or wonderful miracle, the Redskins have to find wide receivers who help Theismann, not hurt him. They need an extra offensive lineman, two or three defensive linemen and a couple of running backs.
I don't know what their chances are of getting those eight or nine important people, but I do know, in case you can't stop worrying about it, the Redskins' chances of making this season's playoffs.
They have a 17.2 percent chance.
Larry Hill, a computer programmer in Falls Church, has figured it out. If Philadelphia has a 60-40 chance to beat New York... while Minnesota is 40-60 at Oakland and Green Bay is 35-65 at Los Angeles... with the Redskins 50-50 against the Bears, the statistical probability of all this turning out to put the Redskins into the playoffs is 17.2 percent, Hill said.
I asked Hill to do a probability study on Ann-Margret and Mickey Mouse, too, but the statistician said, "Huh?"