The 1972 Redskins didn’t win the NFC Eastern Division Championship their first in thirty years or win the NFC Final their first in thirty years because they had overwhelming talent. They had very good talent with wide receivers Charlie Taylor, WR Roy Jefferson, tight end Jerry Smith and tailback Larry Brown. And on defense with people like defensive tackle Diron Talbert, linebacker Chris Hamburger, LB Jack Pardee and others, one of the best defenses in the NFL. I believe the best in the NFC that only gave up 217 points. They didn’t accomplish these things because of great talent. They weren’t the Cowboys Doomsday Defense, or the Vikings Purple People Eaters or the Rams Fearsome Foursome or the Steelers Steel Curtain.
They were a bunch of tough guys who could play who all had character, that all wanted to win and never were champions before. Thats why George Allen the Redskins head coach/general manager brought them to Washington to become champions. George Allen’s whole philosophy was about the team, “how do I get forty men (as was the case back then) to play the best that they can and play together”. (And I know this sounds corny)
But that’s how George Allen operated. His favorite drink was milk probably because he didn’t spend much time drinking other things or even thinking about other drinks that he liked, because he was all about his team. “How do I get them to play the best that they can and play together at the same time”. And everything else including his family came after his team as his kids would tell you. In the 1960s the Redskins had a pass first explosive offense that was built around QB Sonny Jurgenson, WR Charlie Taylor, WR Bobby Mitchell and TE Jerry Smith. That didn’t run the ball very well or play a lot of defense, sort of like the Miami Dolphins with Dan Marino in the 1980s.
But George Allen came from the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams where they played tough defense always had one of the best defenses in the NFL. With ball control offenses so that’s exactly what he wanted to establish in Washington, but the difference being that he was able to bring those defenders to Washington. Diron Talbert, Jack Pardee, but had a lot more offensive talent to go with his defense, which made the Redskins very explosive on both sides of the ball.
Allen inherited a team that was like 5-9 in 1970 the year Vince Lombardi died and took them to 10-4 and into the NFC Playoffs and 11-3 in 1972 as they won the NFC East, beat the Cowboys in the 1972 NFC Final, became NFC Champions. And went to Super Bowl 7 where they lost to the undefeated Miami Dolphins, but I believed the Redskins had the better team. The 1972 Redskins were a team that represent what a good team looks like, with star players, but other players on the team who are also good. But know their roles and everyone playing together and playing their roles.
George Allen was not perfect, the way he handled Sonny Jurgenson and Billy Kilmer and then later Joe Theisman. All three of them playing at the same time was a tragic mistake, that I believe cost him a championship. Sonny Jurgenson was clearly his best QB and should’ve led his teams until he retired instead of splitting time with Billy Kilmer. Who was at best a journeyman QB and a part-time starter and Joe Theisman should’ve replaced Jurgenson when Sonny retired. But George Allen’s whole philosophy was built around “how to get the most out of my team at the same time to win as many games as possible” and he had a lot of success with that philosophy.