Jack Pardee, named the National Football League's coach of the year by the Associated Press yesterday, is under contracts to coach the Redskins for the next three years, according to Edward Bennett Williams, the team's president.
Williams revealed for the first time yesterday that Pardee originally signed a five-year pact with the club in January 1978. It was initially reported that both Pardee and General Manager Botty Beathard had three-year contracts.
But Pardee said yesterday that he is operating under a five-year contract.
According to sources, Beathard agreed to a three-year deal. He now has one year left on his contract.
In response to a question regarding a possible contract extension for Pardee after this season's surprising success, Williams said: "I hope to have him forever, but I think it is premature" to talk about extensions.
Pardee guided the Redskins to a 10-6 record this season after an 8-8 opening year. Most experts had predicted no better than six to eight victories this fall, but the Redskins came within one victory of making the playoffs.
"I don't worry about extensions," Pardee said. "I'm proud to do a job. If I don't, I know the consequences. Doing a good job is pretty much rewarded by things in my contract."
Pardee beat out Philadelphia's Dick Vermeil for the AP coaching award. He had 30 of the 84 votes cast by a nationwide panel of sports-writers and broadcasters. Vermeil received 23 votes while Don Coryell of San Diego was third with 10.
Although congratulatory messages flowed into his office yesterday after news of the award was released, Pardee had mixed emotions.
On one hand, he said he realized the award signified that the team's achievements this season had been recognized. Yet, coming as it did on the heels of Sunday's 35-34 loss to Dallas and elimination from the playoff, he had difficulty getting excited.
"Not making the playoffs takes the edge off of it a little," he said. "It would have been a lot more fun if we had been able to play some more.
"Around this league, there aren't too many deep, dark secrets. We were a little ahead of schedule this season; we did better than anyone expected. Next year, we are setting our goals even higher, although maybe 10-6 could win the division. But I do know we are going to have a better team next year."
Then he laughed. "Maybe next year," he said, "we won't have to use as much camouflage."
Pardee's use of "camouflage" to cover up weaknesses and to draw the most out of the Redskin roster earned him the coaching award.
No one else in the league utilized more athletes than Pardee, who would go 36 or 37 players deep into his squad every game. The Redskins became a team of specialists employed according to down-situation and distance, with many of them learning limited responsibilities.
As a result, he was able to help team moral while also overcoming an obvious lack of superior personnel. And he also was able to justify a series of controversial decisions to cut veterans and keep untried youngsters.
"If you don't have a lot of tremendous athletes," he explained, "then why not let a couple of players combine their talents to equal one great one? It keeps everyone involved, it helps against fatigue and it wins games."
From the start of training camp, Pardee stressed aggressiveness, strength and cohesiveness. "It was exciting from the very beginning," he said, "because we took a group, pooled their abilities and worked to do something. It was a joy to go to work every day, to see them get better. They didn't all try to be coaches. They were players and they let the coaches coach."
That last statement was in reference to his first season, when he had problems with some of the veterans from the George Allen era. He and Beathard cast off most of those players and Pardee was left this season with a much more agreeable group of athletes.
Under Pardee, the Redskins were fundamentally sound (they forced 47 mistakes while committing only 25 turnovers). Yet he also was willing to take some strategic gambles, especially early in the schedule.
From using two middle linebackers against Houston, to having Pete Wysocki turn his back at the line of scrimmage to eliminate a Philadelphia offensive tactic, Pardee dared to be different.
"We did less gambling as the season went on because we developed as a team," he said. "That was especially true on defense where our front four held up better against the run and we didn't need to give them as much extra support.
"I don't think it's really significant that we finished fifth against the run in the NFC after starting off No. 14 the first week. That's the kind of progress we have to continue to make.
"I really like coaching. You look at the age of most coaches and their years of service and I certainly should be in my prime years before it begins to wear on you. One thing for sure, everything in this business is personal."
This was Pardee's sixth season as a pro coach, and his third with a winning record. He fashioned a 14-6 mark in one year with the World Football League and was 9-5 with the Bears in 1977 when he earned United Press International's NFC coach-of-the-year honors. His overall coaching record is 52-42.
This was by far his strangest season in the NFL, however. The Redskins were outgained in total yardage by their opponents and they finished in the middle of the pack in almost every league statistical category.He also started only one player who had been drafted by the Redskins and he had to rebuild a club with the benefit of only five 1979 draft choices, the highest coming in the fourth round.
But be sprinkling in those Beathard-located draft picks with an assortment of free agents and players obtained in trades, Pardee wound up with what he believes is now "the best team in the NFC."
"This reward really is for the staff and the players," he said. "I've got the best staff in the league. And the players worked hard for this season.One person doesn't do this by himself."