Redskins vs Browns (Olga Bogatyrenko / Shutterstock.com)
The Washington Redskins play in the National Football League’s (NFL) National Football Conference (NFC) East division, based in the Washington D.C. area. Originally based in Boston and known as the Boston Braves, they were formed in 1932. They moved to Washington in 1937 becoming the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins have won 5 NFL Championships, 14 divisional titles and six conference championships and are one of the most popular franchises in the NFL. They play their home games at the FedExField in Landover, Maryland and are headquartered in Redskins park in Ashburn, Virginia.
- Full Name: Washington Redskins
- Conference: National Football Conference
- Division: East
- Location: New York
- Stadium Name: FedExField
- Year Established: 1932
- Owner: Daniel Snyder
- Head Coach: Jay Gruden
- Manager: Scot McCloughan
- Nickname: The Skins
- Mascot: None
- Team Colours: Burgundy, gold, white
Crowd petitions the Redskins name (miker / Shutterstock.com)
The history of the Washington Redskins begins in 1932 when they were originally founded as the Boston Braves and based in Massachusetts and owned by George Preston Marshall, a prominent American businessman. 1933 saw them change their name to the Boston Redskins before relocating to Washington in 1937. This was also the year that the Redskins drafted one of their most famous players ever, Sammy Baugh, quarterback. Baugh led the Redskins to a championship in his first season and over the course of his 16-year career at the Redskins he set numerous NFL records. Baugh led the Redskins to a second NFL championship in 1942 when they defeated the Chicago Bears, making up for their 73-0 defeat in the championship game two years earlier.
Thanks to owner, George Preston Marshall, the Redskins were one of the more wealthy NFL franchises and they were pioneers in the use of sports broadcast media. 1944 saw them launch a radio network to broadcast games throughout the southern half of the USA and by 1950, all of the Redskins games were televised. This early use of the media has resulted in the Redskins being one of the best-supported NFL franchises with some of the most passionate fans. Since 1967, the Redskins have sold out every season.
However, despite the period of 1946-1970 seeing the growth of the Redskins as a media power, it unfortunately saw them in their least successful period in terms of results. Between these years, the Redskins posted just four winning seasons and never made the playoffs. This was despite having a team that was on paper capable of so much more, players such as quarterback, Sonny Jurgensen, and Bobby Mitchell the wide receiver being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983. 1971 saw a return to winning ways under new coach, George Allan, who led them to the playoffs. 1972 was even better and saw the Redskins win their first ever NFC championship only to be defeated by the Miami Dolphins in the Super Bowl. The rest of the 1970s saw the Redskins make the occasional appearance in the playoffs but they never tasted the early success they had under Alan’s leadership.
1981 saw big changes at the Redskins. Joe Gibbs came in as head coach and he would go on to become the most successful Redskins coach in history, winning more games than any other coach in their history. Between 1981 and 1993 under Gibbs, the Redskins made the playoffs eight times, won four NFC championships and won three Super Bowls in 1982 (XVII), 1987 (XXII) and 1991 (XXVI).
Since Gibbs left in 1993, the Redskins have failed to recapture the form they displayed during this period winning three division championships in 1999, 2012 and 2015 and making the occasional playoff appearance. More action has actually been seen off field with much debate being had about the Redskins name and whether it is a racial slur. In 2014, the Patent Office cancelled the team’s trademark of the name citing it was disparaging to Native Americans. However to date, the franchise has vowed not to change its name.
Super Bowl Appearances
1991 Super Bowl XXVI Washington Redskins 37 – Buffalo Bills 24
Super Bowl XXVI was played at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota on January 26, 1992. The Redskins dominated the first three periods of the game and despite a late fightback by the Buffalo Bills, the Redskins ran out 37-24 winners. Watched by over 60,000 in the stadium the event was also watched by over 79 million TV viewers who also saw a halftime show featuring Gloria Estefan.
1987 Super Bowl XXII Washington Redskins – Denver Broncos 10
Super Bowl XXII saw the Washington Redskins defeat the Denver Broncos by 42-10 to win their second ever Super Bowl. It was played at the Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California, the first ever Super Bowl to be played in the city. The Broncos went 10-0 up in the first quarter but did not post a score after that with the Redskins scoring 42 unanswered points during the next three periods. Doug Williams, the Redskins’ quarterback was named as the Most Valuable Player and was the first ever African American starting quarterback to win the Super Bowl.
1983 Super Bowl XVIII Washington Redskins 9 – Los Angeles Raiders 38
Played on January 22, 1984 at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Despite being pre-match favourites, the Redskins were soundly beaten by the then LA Raiders and led to the game to be known as ‘Black Sunday’. The game was watched by over 70,000 people in the stadium and over 77 million TV viewers who saw the famous “1984” TV commercial that introduced the world to the Apple Macintosh computer.
1982 Super Bowl XVII Miami Dolphins 17 – Washington Redskins 27
Super Bowl XVII was played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on January 30, 1983. Going into the game as underdogs, it saw the Redskins defeat the Dolphins by 27-17. Over 81 million people saw the game on TV and were treated to a star performance by the Redskins running back John Riggins who was named the Most Valuable Player recording more total yards than the entire Miami Dolphins team.
1972 Super Bowl VII Miami Dolphins 14 – Washington Redskins 7
Super Bowl VII was played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in California and was watched by over 90,000 spectators and over 53 million TV viewers. Making their first ever Super Bowl appearance, the Redskins were dominated by the Miami Dolphins in what was to become the lowest scoring Super Bowl in history.
FedEx Field (Anders Brownworth / Shutterstock.com)
The Washington Redskins play their home games at the FedExField, originally known as the Jack Kent Cooke Stadium. Located in Landover, Maryland, it was commissioned in 1994 and opened in 1997 and named the Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in honour of the recently deceased owner of the Redskins. The naming rights to the stadium were sold in 1999 for an average of $7.6 million per year.
Between 2004 and 2010, the stadium had the largest capacity in the NFL (91,000) but this has now been reduced to 82,000. The stadium has recently come under criticism for the state of its grass surface and this led them to install Latitude 36 sod, as well as a new drainage system to try and improve the playing surface.
The stadium has hosted a number of other events, such as soccer games featuring Manchester United, Chelsea, and Barcelona, as well as hosting the annual Prince George’s Classic college football game.
Darrell Green (1983-2002)
The longest serving Redskin of all time, Green also has the franchise record for the most interceptions. Named a Pro Bowler seven times he was also named in the NFL’s all-decade team in the 1990s. One of the most popular and best Redskins ever, he is also one of the NFL’s best ever cornerbacks.
Sammy Baugh (1937-1952)
Sammy Baugh was not just one of the best quarterbacks ever to star for the Redskins, he is one of the best to play in the NFL. Dynamic and innovative, such was his impact on the Redskins and the wider NFL, his team number was retired.
John Riggins (1976-1985)
John Riggins spent nine years with the Redskins and he became one of the most popular players ever to play for the franchise thanks to his on-field performances and his big personality. During his time with the team he made 11,352 yards and 104 touchdowns.
Chris Hanburger (1965-1978)
During his 14 seasons with the Redskins, Hanburger was named in nine Pro-Bowls and four All-Pro first team selections. Arguably the best linebacker ever to play for the Redskins, he also intercepted 19 passes during his career.
Did You Know?
- The Washington Redskins were originally known as the Boston Braves, then the Boston Redskins before eventually moving to Washington in 1937.
- The Redskins do not hold a trademark for their name. In 2014, the Patent Office cancelled the team’s trademark of the name saying it was disparaging to Native Americans.
- Celebrity fans of the Washington Redskins include Dale Earnhardt Jr, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Cruise, and Channing Tatum.
- During the 1980s, only the San Francisco 49ers had a better win/loss record than the Redskins.