Who'd have believed it?

Former Washington Redskins coach George Allen showed up at a football event in a football-crazed city ready to talk football.

And he was upstaged.

Film star Sylvester Stallone dominated the early stages of the Touchdown Club of Washington's 53rd Annual Award Dinner last night at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Later, however, both were outdone by Redskins defensive tackle Dave Butz and longtime Redskins photographer Nate Fine. Butz made a funny, touching presentation that elicited a standing ovation from the crowd of about 1,700 when Fine stepped forward to receive a special "Timmie" award for his 51 years of service to the Redskins.

Fine, one of Butz's closest friends in the organization, has cancer. The Redskins have dedicated their efforts this season to him, Butz said, adding "Nate's been a tradition with the Redskins and a tradition with me."

The event's pre-meal VIP reception, however, was anything but traditional. Normally a one-room affair during which guests have an opportunity to hobnob with their heroes, Stallone's presence -- and that of television crews, klieg lights, flash bulbs, outstretched pens, curious onlookers, etcetera, ad nauseum -- forced the establishment of a separate "photo and interview" room.

When Stallone -- now sporting a wavy, longer-than-shoulder-length hairdo sure to please Rambo fans everywhere -- and his guest, Cornelia Guest, finally were hustled out of the room by a very large entourage, almost every head in the room turned.

"Better him than me," 6-foot-4, 235-pound Buffalo Bills linebacker Cornelius Bennett said of the attention, craning his neck. It sounded as if Bennett, on hand to accept the club's "Timmie" award as the NFL rookie of year, had been there before.

But back to Allen, the president of the National Fitness Foundation, who later made a comeback by presenting Stallone with the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Award. He hardly is a voice in the wilderness when it comes to facing large crowds or football madness.

Allen's achievements as Redskins coach, including constructing Redskin Park, developing the nickel defense and raising special teams to an art form, helped him become one of 15 nominee finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"I'm flattered," Allen said. "I've been a coach all my life and all ever really wanted to do was to coach and be a general manager. If {selected to the Hall of Fame}, it would be the biggest honor I've ever achieved."