|August 21, 2001|
George Allen, the former head coach of the Los Angeles Rams and the Washington Redskins, has been selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee as a finalist for election into the Hall of Fame with the Class of 2002.
As the Seniors Committee nominee, Allen will join 14 still-to-be-named modern-era candidates on the list of finalists from which the Class of 2002 will be selected. The Hall of Fame selection meeting will be held on January 26, 2002, the day before Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans, Louisiana. To be elected, Allen must receive the same 80 percent voting support that is required of all finalists. The Hall's 38-member Board of Selectors will elect between four and seven new members during next January's meeting.
During his five seasons with the Rams and seven with the Redskins, Allen compiled an impressive 116-47-5 regular season record as a head coach. The Detroit, Michigan native had the reputation of being a coach who could transform perpetual losing teams into winners.
The Rams, prior to Allen taking the reins in 1966, had experienced seven straight losing seasons, including a 4-10 record in 1965. In Allen's first year, the team posted an 8-6 record and then won the NFL's Coastal Division with an 11-1-2 record in 1967. That year, Allen was a virtually unanimous NFL Coach of the Year choice.
Allen took over a Redskins team in 1971 that had had only one winning season in 15 years. Adopting the "Future is Now" theme, he made numerous trades, sacrificing future draft picks for veterans who could help immediately. In his 12 seasons in the NFL, he made 131 trades, 81 of them coming during his Washington tenure. Extremely popular with his players, Allen never had a losing season in seven seasons with the Redskins. The 1971 team finished second in the NFC's Eastern Division with a surprising 9-4-1 record. The next year the team recorded an impressive 11-3-0 record, an NFC championship victory over the Dallas Cowboys and a Super Bowl VII appearance against the Miami Dolphins. Three times in the next four years, the Redskins posted a 10-4 record and earned wild-card berths in the playoffs each time.
Allen, who died December 31, 1990, at the age of 72, began his pro football career in 1957 as an assistant coach with the Rams. He spent eight seasons, 1958-1965, as a defensive assistant with the Chicago Bears.