Chapter 3, Page 97

Kilmer and Jurgensen Changing of the guard: Kilmer watches Jurgensen limp off with a torn Achilles tendon that ended his 1972 season.
(Richard Darcey/The Washington Post)
The controversy simmered for several weeks as the Redskins closed out the regular season with a dismal 24-17 loss to Buffalo, then prepared to play the Packers on Christmas Eve in the opening round of the playoffs. Allen closed his last two practices of the week to the media, and when the game began it became obvious why: He had decided to deploy a five-man defensive front against the Packers in an effort to stop running back John Brockington. It was the perfect tactic. Brockington gained only nine yards in 13 carries, and the Redskins, dominating the second half, advanced to the New Year's Eve NFC title game with a 16-3 victory.

Better yet, the opponent again would be the Cowboys, who looked like they would be coming to town with a new starting quarterback. In the team's playoff game in San Francisco, Roger Staubach had come off the bench to replace Craig Morton and had rallied his team from a 15-point deficit to a 30-28 victory.

Early in the week before the game, the crackback issue reared its ugly head. Alworth insisted that he had not gone for Pardee's knees, saying that the Redskins were upset only because the Cowboys had scored on the play. Alworth also charged that later in the game, Pardee had tried to knee him in the head. Pardee admitted that this was true, "but only after he went for my knees three times."

In Dallas, the Cowboys knew what Allen was doing. Coach Tom Landry said that "they were normal crackback blocks. I think George threw up an excellent smokescreen, and you [the writers] took the whole works. You took the bait, the hook and the sinker." Other Cowboys joined the verbal war. "The Redskins and their coach just can't say, `We got whipped' and leave it at that," said Dallas center Dave Manders. "They've got to come up with an excuse, like Pardee bitching about a block. That's probably the reason I feel more emotion playing against the Redskins than I did when we used to play the Packers in championship games."

Page 97 | Next Page: 98

Other Pages in Chapter 3:
79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112

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