As far as we know, Richard Nixon didn't take the silverware home with him, but that doesn't stop us from wondering if he slipped a butter knife down his sock while Teng toasted. The guy, after all, has a reputation. So does George Allen have a reputation, and elsewhere on this page he kisses and makes up with Edward Bennett Williams, the man who fired him, and right away you have to wonder what George is up to.Humility is not his bag.
Allen needs a coaching job, not for the money (the Rams pay him $200,000 a year even if they don't like him) but for the thrill of hating the Cowboys.As important to mankind as writing a sports column is, Allen has found it unsatisfying. He cannot trade draft choices for Red Smith's veteran metaphors. Nor is Allen in love with TV work, where he feels himself a helpless spectator watching his inferiors.
Allen wants to coach the Giants, or the Patriots, or the Raiders, or Anybody-Somebody-Please. His problem is that none of those teams wants him. So, one supposes, Allen called Williams to remind his old malefactor, indirectly but obviously, that Hey-I'm-Available-If-Anybody-Asks-You-About-Coaches. The bridge that Allen burned -- it was wonderful sport watching the flames when Allen described his boss as a devious, deceitful, Jekyll-and-Hyde kind of cold-blooded fish -- well, now Allen wants to unburn the bridge.
Amazing. Allen ran a power play against Williams. The Rams wanted Allen and Allen wanted the Rams. So Allen, who had agreed to a new Redskin contract in the summer, never signed it. Williams gave Allen a deadline -- the boss was tired of being played for a dummy -- and Allen ignored it. In effect, then, he fired himself. When Allen signed soon after with the Rams, connoisseurs of deviousness broke into applause. Seldom had they seen such a virtuoso performance.
And now, out of work, Allen makes a transcontinental telephone call to tell Williams that he was right all along. Telephone wires from Palos Verdes to Washington must be sagging today from the weight of Allen's sincerity.
Amazing. The man is amazing.
So are his players.
Ron McDole is now taking potshots at Allen's successor, Jack Pardee. The Redskins won only half their games last season, McDole suggests, because they lacked discipline, motivation and communication with the coaching staff. He lays no blame at the feet of 39-year-old defensive ends, such as himself, but piles it goalpost high on Pardee's head.
McDole's outburst makes no sense. He clearly pined away in the absence of Allen. Democracy, the old man sighed, had replaced dictatorship, and that is no way to run a football team (which is what Nixon thought about running a country, but that's another story). What McDole missed most was Allen's deceit.
Complaining that Pardee and his coaches never let anyone know what was going on, McDole said, "... you've got to keep people informed, even if you're lying ."
The italics are added as a mark of disbelief that anyone who has reached the age of 39 could possibly say those words. Tell us, Coach Allen, another nice lie. Amazing.
Before the Redskins' season ended, Lenny Hauss had knocked Pardee. Hauss is an Allen veteran/disciple who was released by Pardee the week of the season-opener. Hauss knocked Pardee in the public prints, and later came reports of a gang of malcontents still in uniform.
If there had been any reason to believe such reports were far-fetched, none exists today. McDole, like Hauss, was a leader among the veteran leftovers from the Allen years. McDole's raging discontent surely surfaced with teammates long before it found its way into the newspaper.
McDole now has burned his bridges with the Redskins. He won't be back. The Redskins will be better for it. It is time, too, to dump the other old men who yet worship Allen's methods at Pardee's expense.
Of course, a guy could be wrong about all this. Maybe George Allen has been misjudged. Maybe, for instance, he called Edward Bennett Williams as a matter of conscience. Maybe, like Homer Smith, the former Army coach, Allen wants to enter divinity school and is cleaning his slate. Maybe.