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In his time with the Washington Redskins, Larry Brown was fortunate enough to play for two of the greatest coaches the game of football has ever seen in Vince Lombardi and George Allen, both of whom are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
There's perhaps no one better suited to speak on the greatness of Lombardi and Allen than Brown, who thrived under both men. He won a league rushing title, set franchise records, was a four-time Pro Bowler, a two-time All-Pro and an NFL MVP in his eight seasons with the Redskins.
Brown recently chatted with Talk of Fame Network about Lombardi and Allen, and how influential they were in his successes, and the Redskins' successes, on the field.
"Vince Lombardi had the incredible ability to motivate his players to achieve excellence on and off the field," said Brown. "He was passionate about his family, sports – particularly football – and religion, and not necessarily in that order. He conducted punishing training camps and demanded complete dedication and effort from his players. He treated us like men until we proved that we needed to be treated differently. His game plan was based on simplicity, execution and perfection. And, finally, his management style included fear and intimidation at the highest level."
Lombardi – who won five NFL championships with the Green Bay Packers in seven years - was only with the Redskins for the 1969 season. He led the team to a 7-5-1 record – their first winning record in 14 years. Bill Austin would take Lombardi's place as interim head coach the next season, following his passing.
Allen replaced Austin in 1971 and guided Washington to a 9-4-1 record. In the process, Allen earned AP Coach of the Year honors. A year later, Allen took the Redskins to the Super Bowl.
"George Allen was extremely fanatical about the details of the game," said Brown. "which made him one of the hardest working coaches in the league at that time. He worked extremely long hours, though we suffered in practice as a result of it. But I am very proud to say we were one of the best prepared teams in the league on game day.
"His game plan was a little more complex because he wanted to communicate to everyone their assignments on each play and not leaving much for memory. His management style was based on incentive, recognition and a player who played a significant role in our victory. And he was the first coach to recognize the importance of special teams as a component of the game.
"Finally, George Allen was not confrontational. In fact, in some cases he appeared to be timid. But if you crossed him, more than likely you would read in the newspapers that you were traded without any advance notice."
As far as Brown not being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with Lombardi and Allen, he said that he is surprised that he's never been a finalist with everything he accomplished with the Redskins in his career.
"However I have no control or voice in that process," Brown said. "So I have let my contribution to the game speak for itself."