When last we convened in RFK Stadium, five special Washingtonians were welcomed into an underappreciated fraternity called the "Hall of Stars."

It isn't Cooperstown or Canton or Springfield, though the honor does show a sense of caring and a touch of class.

The Hall of Stars has been around long enough for the names of its inductees to stretch halfway around the stadium. Strangely, one man who has given as much pleasure as anyone there remains absent.

Next year, George Herbert Allen had better be among the honorees. He already is enough years overdue to suggest more than an oversight by the selection committee.

In seven seasons, Allen won 20 more games than any coach in Redskins' history. No Redskins team in 29 years had been as successful as Allen's first (9-4-1); his second won the franchise's first championship in 30 seasons and made the Super Bowl.

There is more.

More important even than victories are memories. That's the motivation for starting these various Halls, nationally and locally.

You see a name, then a face, then a moment.

You smile.

That's the essence of sport.

It is close to impossible for any Redskins watcher beyond his teens to look at any of the recent players who have beaten Allen to that ring around the RFK mezzanine and not link them to him.

Allen brought feisty Billy Kilmer to the Redskins; he told Sonny Jurgensen it was time to leave. Good-guy Brig Owens was one of his generals; Pat Fischer sort of personified what Allen cherished and will long be linked with the Over The Hill Gang.

Better than Xs and Os, Allen could judge players and sense how they would meld as a team. He could look at a plump defensive lineman on a horrid Buffalo team and say to himself:

"Ron McDole would be perfect for us."

Nobody still is quite sure how anyone so close to 300 pounds could slither through tight blocking formations so often and block so many kicks.

Kilmer said the most frightening sight he ever saw across the line was defensive end Verlon Biggs. That was when Kilmer was with the Saints and Biggs with the Jets.

All of a sudden one midnight in the summer of '71, Biggs could be seen in the dim light on the second floor of the Redskins' training camp.

Kilmer happened to be poking his head out the door of his room at the time. And there, not 15 yards away, was his football nightmare, Biggs, a Doberman on one hand and a woman on the other.

Hail to the Redskins.

Allen knew who could play, though not for how long. He always encouraged a sense of desperation, never being quite sure when the spit and baling wire that held together such as Len Hauss would snap.

Among men whose football minds and habits had long been set, Allen could establish harmony. Partly, this was because he paid them lots more than anyone else would.

Many of the players may have been ready to fossilize, but Fischer said the mood in the locker room was like that on a high school team. Full of innocent hope and abandon.

Allen was anything but naive.

He may have been the most devious coach the game has known, certainly the most notorious since his mentor in that regard, George Halas.

Allen spied and lied often enough to create a paranoia among opponents. St. Louis' Don Coryell and others took elaborate measures to blind Allen's eyes in the skies.

"I can remember sometime in the late '60s, when we played out in the (Los Angeles) Coliseum," said quarterback Jim Hart, recalling his Cardinals career. "George was still with the Rams.

"We went out there to practice under the lights the night before the game -- and did all kinds of goofy things: shotguns, end arounds, unbalanced lines.

"(Coach) Charley Winner was just convinced that George was way up in the press box. He'd say: 'He's up there; he's up there watchin' us.' Stupid, goofy stuff."

But effective.

The more teams concentrated on Allen the spy the less prepared they were for his teams. All that was part of his game plan, if not in his playbook.

Contrary to belief by many, Allen was not forced from the Redskins; he left on his own, presumably because he thought the Rams team he would be coaching had more ability. He might have been correct; he was fired before getting the chance to find out.

Allen's controversial Redskins career, especially toward the end, may well be a reason for his failing to be part of the Hall of Stars by now.

Also, his being a major part of a competing league may be a factor. He surely qualifies under every reasonable standard.

One member of the committee used as an excuse Allen's still being "active." So is one of the most recent inductees, Washington Bullets General Manager Bob Ferry.

Allen left the Redskins with few draft choices, but not without hope. Hindsight insists Allen misread his own handiwork as an evaluator of talent, for many pivotal players in the Redskins' drive to Super Bowl victory arrived during his years.

Joe Theismann and John Riggins, Dave Butz, Mark Murphy, George Starke and Mark Moseley were Allen's acquisitions. So Allen even has a ready answer for those who might inquire what he has done lately for the Redskins:


What Allen did was keep the Redskins winning after Vince Lombardi taught them how.

If handled properly, such as the Hall of Stars is a human history of a town's involvement in sport. Anything like that in Washington would be shockingly incomplete without Allen.

Love him or hate him, but also give him his due.