Washington Redskins

Wed, 17 Sep 2008 22:37

The history of the Washington Redskins

About the NFL team Washington Redskins.

The Washington Redskins is an American football team and is a member of the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League. The team is based in Washington, D.C. with headquarters and training facility at Redskin Park in Ashburn, Virginia near Dulles International Airport.

As published by the Forbes magazine, the team has been exceeded by the Dallas Cowboys, making the team rank as the second most valuable franchise in the NFL valued at $1.467 billion. In 2007, the team generated revenue of more than $300 million with a net of $60 million. Their attendance for six years in a row for single-season has broken NFL’s mark.

Joe Gibbs, the Hall of Fame coach, led the team in four of the five Super Bowl competitions. The team has played 11 NFL Championships where five were won including three of the five Super Bowls.

The Washington Redskins in Boston

The team owned by George Preston Marshall first played in Boston as Boston “Football” Braves when they entered the National Football League. This was after the Newark Tornadoes franchise folded. Lud Wray was the team’s head coach and led by Hall of Famers Cliff Battles (Running Back) and Turk Edwards (Offensive Tackle). Their effort to base the team in New York was not allowed based on NFL’s territorial rule. On October 2, 1932, the team played their first game which they lost to the Brooklyn Dodgers but won their first franchise victory the next week with a 14-6 win as against the New York Giants. The team’s first season was completed with a 4-4-2 record.

The team moved to Fenway Park in 1933 and renamed their group to Redskins. With Lud Wray moving to the Eagles in Philadelphia, they changed their coach and was led by Lone Star Dietz. The team finished the 1933 season with a 5-5-2 record and in 1934, finished second with a 6-6 record. With head coach Eddie Cassey, the next year season (1935), however, was not so lucky with only 65 points and a 2-8-1 record. In 1936 however, the team captured the Eastern Division Championship, winning the final three games with head coach Ray Flaherty. They defeated their opponent’s 74-6 with a 7-5 record.

The Redskins were playing good in Fenway Park but attendance of enthusiasts was tremendously poor. Preston Marshal chose to play the NFL Championship game against the Green Bay Packers at the Polo Grounds but Battles was injured on the tenth play. The Packers won with a 21-6 triumphant score. Due to lack of fan support in Boston, the Redskins then chose to move to Washington the next season.

The Washington Redskins in Washington D.C.

In their early years in Washington, the Griffith Stadium was shared with the Washington Senators baseball team. They signed in Sammy Baugh, a rookie quarterback from Texas Christian University in 1937. “Slingin’ Sammy” Baugh played too well and maneuvered the team to win the Eastern Division title and back to the NFL Championship game. The team competed with Chicago Bears and won, with Sammy Baugh’s three touchdown passes scoring 28-21. The competing teams played again in the 1940 Championship and the Redskins were defeated by the Chicago Bears. The coming season in 1942, the Redskins struck back. The teams competed again against each other the following season and the Bears came out with a tie at 2-2, capturing the NFL 1943 title. Again, the Redskins competed for the NFL title in 1945 but fell one point short to the Cleveland Rams. After 1945, the team suffered a slow decline. The Redskins had only three winning seasons from 1946 to 1968. 

Despite pressure from the Washington Post and the Federal Government, Marshall refused to integrate the team. Then finally in 1962, the Redskins were given an ultimatum by Interior Secretary Stewart Udall wherein unless they signed a black player, the government will see to it that they will be evicted from the year-old District of Columbia Stadium. That's why in its second season in the stadium in 1962, the team became the final pro football franchise to integrate. The team drafted Ernie Davies but before signing Davis, the team traded his rights to the Browns for wide receiver Bobby Mitchell. Bobby Mitchell would then land in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After the death of George Preston Marshall

With Marshall’s death in 1969, the rest of the stockholders sold the team to Washington resident Edward Bennett Williams, one of America's most esteemed attorneys. In the same year, D.C. Stadium was renamed Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and the Redskins hired Vince Lombardi to be the new head coach. Lombardi then led the team to a 7-5-2 record, their best so far since 1955. Unfortunately, Lombardi died of cancer on the eve of the 1970 season.

After two years, Williams named George Allen as head coach, formerly head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. Allen helped to foster the team's competition with the Dallas Cowboys which turned into the NFL's most heated match-ups. The Redskins beat Dallas and joined the NFC Conference Championship in the 1972 season but lost to the undefeated Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII, with the team making the playoffs five times during Allen's term as head coach. The new Redskins owner Jack Kent Cookie, in 1981, signed Joe Gibbs of the San Diego Chargers as the 20th head coach, leading the team to four Super Bowls and winning three of them.

The Washington Redskins at the Super Bowl

The team’s first Super Bowl win and their first NFL Championship in a period of 40 years was when they played in Super Bowl XVII, beating the Miami Dolphins in a 27-17 record on January 30, 1983, in Pasadena, California. John Riggins provided the game's signature play, with an image of him running through would-be tackler Don McNeal becoming one of the all-time Super Bowl highlights. The Redskins won their first Super Bowl title by a 27-17 score on a later touchdown.

In the 1983 season, the Redskins season began with a loss to the Dallas Cowboys and dominated the National Football League with a 14-win season including an NFL record of 541 points. The team defeated the Los Angeles Rams during the postseason and led over the San Francisco 49ers after three quarters in the NFC Championship Game. The Raiders defeated the Redskins in the Super Bowl XVIII, finishing with a 38-9 record. In 1987, the NFL players staged a 24-day players’ strike. The Redskins, however, didn't join the strike. They won their second championship in Super Bowl XXII in 1988, at San Diego, California.

The team’s most recent Super Bowl win was in 1992 during the Super Bowl XXVI in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Being the most dominant team in the NFL in the 1991 season, they defeated the Buffalo Bills. Joe Gibbs retired in 1993 after 12 years of coaching with the Redskins.

Under Daniel Snyder

In 1997, Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke died and upon his will, Cooke left the Redskins to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, with instructions that the foundation sell the team. His son John Kent Cooke, being unable to produce enough funds, wasn't able to buy the team. The team was later bought by Daniel Snyder.

The team, in 1999, made the playoffs for the first time by winning the NFC East but lost the divisional playoff game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Snyder, being a Redskin fan and businessman, offered the name of the stadium to the highest bidder. FedEx turned out with the highest bid, presently naming the stadium as FedEx Field. In 2002, Snyder hired head coach Steve Spurrier from the University of Florida to replace Schottenheimer. Spurrier, in 2003, resigned after the season games while he still had three years' on his contract.

Snyder, in 2004, lured Joe Gibbs back to pro football as head coach and team president with a promise that Snyder will have a decreased intervention in the operations. Gibbs proceeded to draft players such as quarterback Mark Brunell, cornerback Shawn Springs, linbacker Marcus Washington, and Sean Taylor from the University of Miami.

In 2005, the team won their first three games but then fell into a slump that included three straight losses that lessened their chances to the playoffs. The team started with the playoffs against the NFC South champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2006, winning the rematch by a final 17-10.

Jason Campbell was drafted during the middle of the 2006 season including Al Saunders as the Associate Head Coach – Offense, and Jerry Gray, formerly with the Buffalo Bills. Finishing 5-11 after a home loss to the New York Giants, Washington finished last in the NFC East division, being the only team not to make the playoffs in their division.