The Washington Redskins was the team I loved to hate back in the seventies. When George Allen took over the Washington Redskins, he held the philosophy that said The future is now. Thus he acquired many veteran players to fill his roster, instead of waiting for the younger players to bloom.
And what a laundry list of old stars he got: Billy Kilmer, Marlin McKeever, Jack Pardee, Myron Pottios, Maxie Baughan, Diron Talbert, John Wilbur (yes, this list is thick with recycled Rams – George’s old team), Clifton “Sticks” McNeil, Boyd Dowler, Richie Petitbon, Alvin Haymond, Speedy Duncan & big Ron McDole.
The average age of his starters was 31, and his plan paid big dividends, as the Skins finished second in the East at 9-4-1 in 1971 and won the East & went to the Super Bowl only to lose to the unbeaten Dolphins the next year.
I admit, as a Dallas Cowboys fan, I hated George and the Redskins back then. George was just too prissy and too much like football’s Richard M. Nixon for my taste. Still, there was nothing like that rivalry back then, George matching wits with Tom Landry. Those two games between them each season were just nail-biters for me – wondering, among other things, would Larry Brown be able to be contained on the ground and Charley Taylor through the air? would Calvin Hill and rugged Walt Garrison be able to bust through the Redskins’ stingy defensive line?
Today, I would give anything to turn back the clock and have old George squatting down on the sideline, maniacally licking his thumbs the way he always did, so I could love to hate him just once more. Here’s to you, George Allen, and to your great Over-the-hill gang.