“Forty men together can’t lose!”
– George Allen, December 31st, 1972, pumping the team up before the NFC Championship Game.
When Allen arrived on the scene in 1971, one of the things he knew was that, as much as the fans may have hated it, the route to championships required that we develop the ability to dominate the Dallas Cowboys. He was the perfect man for the job… and the Cowboy’s arrogance and milquetoast team personna, represented by the always perfect demeanor of Tom Landry, and the super clean cut presentation of Roger Staubach, provided the perfect foil for Allen’s blue collar, down and dirty, every man approach.
“Die you dogs. Die you Dallas dogs.”
- Sam Wyche (a Redskins back-up QB at the time)
Allen was part coach… part psychologist… and all genius. He knew how to convert every ounce of potential in a player into performance on the field. He knew how to make his team HATE Dallas… and immediately went to work, creating his version of the men in black hats… the Dallas Cowboys… and turning them into the demons of the NFC East. Some players were convinced that Tom Landry had been, in an earlier life, a serial killer. Tex Schram was, in many Redskin minds, the very image of evil. Allen was indeed, a master motivator, who could whip his team into a frenzy… his teams invariably played over their heads as a result. They were on a mission.
“Losing to Dallas was the worst feeling in the world. You’d rather have your arm cut off.”
According to John Wilbur, who came to the Redskins as part of the “Ramskins” deal from LA (and whom, ironically, played for Dallas from 1966-1969) “George Allen never used to say ‘the Dallas Cowboys’. It was always ‘the goddamned Dallas Cowboys”. It’s the Cowboys’ uniform. It strikes hate and loathing in my mind, almost in a Pavlovian sense.”
“If you came out of the (Dallas) game and you weren’t bleeding, you hadn’t played.”
- Ken Houston
Allen used his pulpit to bait the ever cool, never-rattled, Roger Staubach. Nothing EVER bothered Staubach. Nothing EVER disturbed his focus. He could not be perturbed. He was “the ice man.” Unfortunately for Roger, no one told Allen… and no one told Diron Talbert, who, ultimately, was key to destroying the Cowboys.
“I picked him up and pushed him back… It wasn’t a smooth play, it was a desperation play. It was such an eerie feeling when it happened. There wasn’t any noise in the stadium for maybe three seconds. All of a sudden… the place went crazy. I had never seen anything like it.”
-Ken Houston, on stopping Walt Garrison in the final seconds of the classic Monday Night Football game in October, 1973
Allen baited Staubach. He coached Talbert, who baited Staubach, and relished that role. Taunted him without end. Talbert’s existence seemed focused on messing with the Cowboys quarterback, without end. Whenever possible, there was a threat… or a belittlement… or an attempt to embarrass… or intimidate… “I want Staubach in the shotgun.” Talbert insisted. Allen didn’t have to push Talbert very hard. Diron arrived in Washington already not caring very much for Staubach, as Roger had taken offense to a post season comment by Talbert. Ron McDole (the Dancing Bear), when asked his impression of Roger Staubach, said “Roger Staubach can’t read defenses, and wears skirts.
Challenging Staubach’s manhood became part of the Redskins repertoire…
“We don’t like them, they don’t like us.”
- Roger Staubach
The Cowboys responded. They got angry… and, on occasion, completely lost their cool… Playing the Redskins became torture for them, which was exactly what Allen wanted. According to Walt Garrison, the Cowboys coaching staff became concerned that there were Redskins scouts spying on every practice… (on the other hand, Coach Allen was convinced that there were spies all over the place at his practices, as well).
“Yeah, but only after he went for my knees three times.”
-Jack Pardee, after being accused of trying to knee Dallas receiver Lance Alworth in the head.
The culmination was Roger Staubach’s only personal foul penalty of his career. Following an interception of his pass by Pat Fischer, Staubach tried chasing him down, catching up to the Redskins cornerback only after he stepped out of bounds… and promptly gave him a shot. Others there were convinced that he hit Fischer, but he really wanted to find Talbert.
George Allen figured that the way to win the NFC East was to always beat the Cowboys.
It was fortunate that… he really didn’t like them…
“Tom Landry, hahahaha. Tex Schram, hahhaha. Roger Staubach, hahahha.“
-George Allen to a television camera, after beating Dallas in Texas Stadium in 1976.
George Allen gave birth to decades of the greatest football rivalry on earth… as quotes from subsequent years attest…
“My front four will be faced with the task of beating the “sweat-hogs”. It’s my belief that to be a defensive lineman, you have to have a personal hate for your opponent.”
- Ernie Stautner, defensive coordinator, Dallas
“We’re standing there for the national anthem. When it’s over, Joe (Bugel) looks over to the other sideline at Ernie Stautner, who’s the Cowboys defensive line coach. Joe yells over to him and flips him off.”
“Be sure… you learn how to get to the airport, will you?”
- Tom Landry, Head Coach, Dallas, to his players prior to the 1982 NFC Championship game
“Joe Theismann is a garbage-mouth little SOB. He’s such a hot dog that all he needs is a bun.”
“I got to the line, and I said to Randy White, ‘Our coaches love you. We’re going to run it over you again and again.’ Randy wasn’t very happy, but after three or four times, he didn’t say a word.”
“If you grow up in metro Washington, you grow up a diehard Redskins fan. But if you hate your parents, you grow up a Cowboys fan.”
“I wanted to just… put his lights out ….because, you know, …Dallas sucks…”
- Dexter Manley, referring to Danny White whom he knocked out of the first half of the 1982 NFC Championship game.
What a legacy!