The Washington Redskins are a professional American football team based in the Washington D.C. area. The team plays at FedExField in Landover, Maryland, which is in Prince George's County, Maryland. The team's headquarters and training facility are at Redskin Park in Ashburn, Virginia, a community in Loudoun County, Virginia near Dulles International Airport. They are members of the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL).
According to Forbes Magazine, the Redskins are the second most valuable franchise in the NFL, valued at approximately $1.467 billion, having this year been surpassed by their rivals the Dallas Cowboys. Last year they generated over $300 million in revenue and netted over $60 million. They have also broken the NFL's mark for single-season attendance eight years in a row.
Overall, the Redskins have played for eleven NFL Championships and have won five, including three of the five Super Bowls in which they have played. Four of the five Super Bowl appearances were under the leadership of Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.
The Redskins are one of only two teams in the NFL with an official marching band. The other is the Baltimore Ravens. The Redskins were also one of the first teams to have a fight song, "Hail to the Redskins."
In 1933, the team moved into Fenway Park and changed their name to the Redskins. They also changed their head coach. The team was now led by Lone Star Dietz, as Lud Wray moved to Philadelphia to head up its new franchise, the Eagles. The Redskins finished the 1933 season with a 5-5-2 record. In 1934, the Redskins finished in second place with a 6–6 record. In 1935, under head coach Eddie Casey, had a dismal season, scoring only 65 points and finishing with a 2–8–1 record. In 1936, under their fourth head coach, Ray Flaherty, the Redskins won their final three games, outscoring their opponents 74–6, and captured the Eastern Division Championship with a 7–5 record. However because of extremely poor attendance, highlighted by only 4,813 fans coming out to Fenway Park to see the Redskins trounce the Pittsburgh Pirates, 30–0, George Preston Marshall elected to give up home field advantage and played the NFL Championship game against the Green Bay Packers at the Polo Grounds. Battles was injured on the tenth play of the game and the Packers won the championship with a 21-6 victory. The Redskins moved to Washington the following season due to lack of fan support in Boston.
With Sammy Baugh at the helm, the Redskins won the Eastern Division title and went back to the NFL Championship game in their first year in the Nation's Capital. The 1937 NFL Championship game pitted them against the Chicago Bears. Sammy Baugh threw three touchdown passes and the Redskins prevailed, 28–21. The two teams would meet again in the 1940 Championship, and the Bears handed the Redskins the most lopsided defeat in NFL history, 73–0. The Redskins struck back in 1942, as George Preston Marshall used the 1940 humiliation as a rallying point and the Redskins upset the Bears to spoil their try for a perfect season, 14–6. The teams clashed again the following season and the Bears would even the series at 2-2, capturing the 1943 NFL title, 41-21. The Redskins challenged for the NFL title again in 1945, but fell a point short to the Cleveland Rams, 15-14.
Marshall refused to integrate the team, despite pressure from the Washington Post and the Federal Government (a typical comment by Post writer Shirley Povich was "Cleveland Browns runner Jim Brown integrated the Redskins' end zone three times").
Finally, in 1962, Interior Secretary Stewart Udall gave the Redskins an ultimatum--unless they signed a black player, the government would evict them from the year-old District of Columbia Stadium. As a result, the Redskins became the final pro football franchise to integrate, in 1962, its second season in the stadium. First, the team drafted Ernie Davis, the first black player to win the Heisman Trophy. Then, before signing Davis, they traded his rights to the Browns for wide receiver Bobby Mitchell. It turned out that Davis had leukemia and died without ever playing a down in professional football. Mitchell, however, was still in the first half of a career that would land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Mitchell would be joined by black stars such as receiver Charley Taylor, running back Larry Brown (who had a hearing aid installed in his helmet due to near-total deafness), and defensive back Brig Owens. They would also pull off two of the best trades of the 1960s, gaining colorful quarterback Sonny Jurgensen from the Philadelphia Eagles and linebacker Sam Huff from the New York Giants. But even with these additions, the Redskins were still not performing up to expectations. Although the team became more popular than ever, particularly with the addition of Mitchell, they struggled through the 1960s.
In the front office, Marshall had been forced to reduce his duties due to a mental decline in 1962, and the team's other stockholders found it difficult to make decisions without their boss. Marshall died in 1969, and the remaining stockholders sold the team to Edward Bennett Williams, a Washington resident and one of America's most esteemed attorneys.
Also in 1969, D.C. Stadium was renamed Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, and the Redskins hired Vince Lombardi — who gained fame coaching with the Green Bay Packers — to be their new head coach. Lombardi led the team to a 7–5–2 record, their best since 1955, but died of cancer on the eve of the 1970 season.
Allen helped to foster the team's rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys, which has turned into one of the NFL's most heated matchups. The Redskins reached the NFC Conference Championship in the 1972 season, defeating Dallas 26–3, only to lose to the undefeated Miami Dolphins 14–7 in Super Bowl VII. In his seven years as head coach, Allen's teams made the playoffs five times.
In 1981, new Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke signed the offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers, Joe Gibbs, as their 20th head coach. He coached the team to four Super Bowls, winning three of them.
Quarterback Joe Theismann, running back John Riggins, and receiver Art Monk got most of the publicity, but the Redskins were one of the few teams ever to have a famous offensive line. Line coach Joe Bugel, who would later go on to be the head coach of the Phoenix Cardinals, nicknamed them "The Hogs," not because they were big and fat, but because they would "root around in the mud" on the field. The "original" Hogs were made up of center Jeff Bostic, guards Russ Grimm and Mark May, and tackles Joe Jacoby and George Starke. In later years other notables such as Jim Lachey, Raleigh McKenzie, and Mark Schlereth were also part of the famous line. Tight ends Don Warren and Clint Didier, as well as Riggins, were known as "Honorary Hogs."
The Redskins' first Super Bowl win, their first NFL Championship in 40 years, was in Super Bowl XVII, where the Redskins beat the Miami Dolphins 27-17 on January 30, 1983, in Pasadena, California. John Riggins provided the game's signature play when, on 4th and inches, with the Redskins down 17–13, the coaches called "70 Chip" a play designed for short yardage. Riggins instead gained 43 yards and the go-ahead touchdown. The image of Riggins running through would-be tackler Don McNeal has become one of the all-time Super Bowl highlights. One touchdown later, the Redskins won their first Super Bowl title by a 27–17 score.
The Redskins' 1983 season began with a loss to the Dallas Cowboys 31–30 on the Monday Night Football season opener, but they lost only one more game in the regular season (also a Monday Night game, vs. Green Bay, by a score of 48–47), as they dominated the National Football League with a 14-win season that included scoring a then NFL record of 541 points, many of which came as a result of John Riggins' 24 touchdowns. In the postseason, the Redskins defeated the Los Angeles Rams 51–7. The next week, they cruised to a 21–0 lead over the San Francisco 49ers after 3 quarters in the NFC Champonship Game, but the Redskins' weakness that season was their defense (they allowed 332 points that season). The 49ers fired off 3 touchdowns to tie the game. But Mark Moseley, who had missed 4 field goals, made the one that counted as the 'Skins beat the 49ers 24–21. It would be Washington's last win of the season because two weeks later, the Raiders beat the Redskins 38–9 in Super Bowl XVIII.
The 1987 season began with a 24-day players' strike, reducing the 16-game season to 15. The games for weeks 4-6 were won with all replacement players. The Redskins have the distinction of being the only team with no players crossing the picket line. Those three victories are often credited with getting the team into the playoffs and the basis for the 2000 movie The Replacements. The Redskins won their second championship in Super Bowl XXII on January 31, 1988, in San Diego, California. The Redskins routed the Denver Broncos 42-10 after falling behind 10–0 early in the first quarter. This was the largest come-from-behind victory in Super Bowl history. This game is more famous for the stellar performance by quarterback Doug Williams, who passed for four touchdowns in the second quarter en route to becoming the first black quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory. Rookie running back Timmy Smith had a great performance as well, running for a Super Bowl record 204 yards.
The Redskins won their most recent Super Bowl on January 26, 1992, in Super Bowl XXVI in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Redskins, the most dominant team in the NFL in the 1991 season, defeated the Buffalo Bills 37–24. Quarterback Mark Rypien was named the MVP. On March 5, 1993, Joe Gibbs retired after 12 years of coaching with the Redskins. In what would prove to be a temporary retirement, Gibbs pursued an interest in NASCAR by founding Joe Gibbs Racing.
Despite an impressive defense, the team struggled offensively. Quarterback Mark Brunell—an off-season acquisition from the Jacksonville Jaguars—struggled in his first season, and was replaced midway through the season by backup Patrick Ramsey. On the other hand, some of Gibbs's other new signings, such as cornerback Shawn Springs and linebacker Marcus Washington, did very well. The Redskins also picked Sean Taylor from University of Miami during the draft in Gibbs's first season.
Partly because owner Dan Snyder has turned the Redskins into the greatest revenue producer in pro football, he has spent a lot of money on free agents. These moves did not work out well in the beginning (Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders), but the quality of free agents signed under Coach Gibbs has improved by signing or trading for stars such as Cornelius Griffin, Santana Moss, and Clinton Portis.
The Redskins used their first pick of the 2005 NFL Draft on Auburn University cornerback Carlos Rogers. The Redskins used their next first round draft pick (acquired from the Denver Broncos) on Auburn Quarterback Jason Campbell. The rest of their picks included UCLA fullback Manuel White, Jr., Louisville linebacker Robert McCune, Stanford linebacker Jared Newberry, and Citadel College fullback Nehemiah Broughton.
Hoping to improve on the previous season's dismal passing attack, Coach Gibbs added former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave as his quarterbacks coach. For the first time under Gibbs, the Redskins offense utilized the shotgun formation.
The team won its first three games, including a Monday Night Football victory over Dallas, but then fell into a slump, including three straight losses in November, which lessened the chances of the team making the playoffs. However, five consecutive victories at the end of the season allowed Washington to finish the season at 10-6, qualifying for the playoffs as a wild card team. They opened the playoffs on the road against the NFC South champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, January 7, 2006. They won the rematch by a final score of 17-10, after taking an early 14-0 lead, which they later seemed to have squandered until replay evidence showed that an apparent touchdown that would have tied the game was in fact an incomplete pass. In that game, the Redskins broke the record for fewest offensive yards (120) gained in a playoff victory, with one of their two touchdowns being from a defensive run after a fumble recovery. The following weekend, they played the Seattle Seahawks, who had received a first round bye. The Seahawks defeated the Redskins 20-10, ending the Redskins' hopes of reaching their first NFC Championship Game since 1991.
Three team records were broken during the 2005 season. Clinton Portis set the Redskins record for rushing yards in a season with 1,516 yards, breaking Stephen Davis's 2001 mark of 1,432 yards and Santana Moss's 1,483 receiving yards broke Bobby Mitchell's 1963 record of 1,436 yards. Chris Cooley's 71 receptions broke Jerry Smith's season record for a Redskins tight end.
The inconsistency of the offense during the 2005 season resulted in Gibbs hiring offensive coordinator Al Saunders as the Associate Head Coach - Offense. Saunders came from a similar background as Gibbs through being mentored under Don Coryell and was thought to be able to make the offense become more efficient. Saunders would serve as the primary playcaller. Because of this, it was believed that Gibbs would have the role of Head Coach/CEO with the Redskins in 2006 and would largely deal with personnel matters, as well as having more time to focus on special teams and defense, while Saunders would supplement Gibbs with the offense. Gibbs also added former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Jerry Gray to his staff as Secondary/Cornerbacks Coach. Gibbs did lose quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave to the Atlanta Falcons over the summer of 2006.
After winning only three of the first nine games of the Washington Redskin's 2006 season Gibbs, in an effort to save some portion of their season, benched starting quarter back Mark Brunell in favor of former first round draft pick Jason Campbell. After losing his first game as a starter to Tampa Bay, Campbell got his first NFL victory against the Carolina Panthers, bringing the Redskins out of a three-game losing streak. The Redskins finished 5-11 after a home loss to the New York Giants, 34-28. Washington finished last in the NFC East division, the only team in their division to fail to make the playoffs. This marked the second losing season in Joe Gibbs' second term as head coach of the franchise.
Analysts differ on exactly why the 2006 season was such a failure. Some point to free agent signings such as strong safety Adam Archuleta and wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. Others point to the disconnect between the offensive philosophies of Gibbs and Saunders: Gibbs preferring a power-running scheme while Saunders desired an aggressive pass-oriented style. Many looked to the breakdowns in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams's system, while some point to specific player breakdowns in the porous secondary such as the struggles of defensive backs Carlos Rogers, Sean Taylor, and Archuleta, allowing a league high 30 TD passes, and accumulating an NFL low 6 interceptions. The defense went from 7th overall in 2005 to 29th in 2006.
The Washington Redskins' primary colors are burgundy and gold. They are one of the four NFL teams that primarily wear their white jerseys at home (the others being the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Miami Dolphins). The tradition of wearing white jerseys at home was started by Joe Gibbs when he took over as coach in 1981. Gibbs was an assistant for the San Diego Chargers in 1979 and 1980, and the Chargers wore white at home during the tenure of coach Don Coryell in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Their burgundy jersey (which is primarily used for when the opposing team decides to wear white at home, which comes mostly against the Dallas Cowboys and occasionally the Philadelphia Eagles) consists of burgundy jerseys and white pants. From 1981 through 2000, the Redskins wore their white uniforms at home. In 2001, however, the Redskins wore burgundy for all home games in preseason and regular season per a decision by Marty Schottenheimer, their coach for that year. In 2004, Joe Gibbs became the coach of the Redskins once again. The team switched back to wearing white at home.
The Redskins' current uniform design was introduced by coach Jack Pardee in 1979. From 1972 through 1978, the Redskins wore gold pants with both the burgundy and white jerseys. Gold face masks were introduced in 1978 and remain to this day.
Their white jersey consists of three combinations. One is the white jerseys and burgundy pants, which is considered the "classic" look. The other (and lesser known) combination is the white jerseys and gold pants, which was used in the past when they weren't wearing their burgundy jersey. The last combination consists of both white jerseys and pants. That particular combination surfaced in the first game of the 2003 season on a nationally televised game against the New York Jets, which led to many sports fans and Redskin faithful alike to point out that they have never seen that particular combination. That year the Redskins wore it two more times. That look didn't appear again until midway through the 2005 season when the Redskins wore it in a road game against the St. Louis Rams. The Redskins won six games (including one in the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wearing that combination) and the local media jokingly pointed out that the reason why the Redskins were winning was because of the white on white combination. In the NFC Divisional Game against the eventual 2005 NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks, the Redskins wore the all-white jerseys, in hopes that they could keep their luck going; however, they lost 20-10. The Redskins have continued to wear the white jerseys and white pants into the 2006 preseason. In the 2006 season, the Redskins started wearing black cleats, something that hasn't been done for quite a while. It was a surprise because they wore white cleats during the preseason. They would have to wear that color for the rest of the season, because the NFL usually asks teams to choose either black or white cleats to be worn throughout the season.
After the white-on-white period which lasted from the mid/late 2005 season into 2006, the classic uniform of white jerseys over burgundy pants reappeared on November 26, 2006, in a home game against the Carolina Panthers. The decision to return to the classic look may have symbolized a desire by the team to turn a new page on their 2006 season, which had been very lackluster previous to that game, the period of success with the white jerseys over white pants having come to an end the previous season. The move may have also been related to the fact that this home game was the second start and first home start of second-year quarterback Jason Campbell, and that the game and the previous week's game were, in the hopes and perceptions of many Redskins fans, the start of the "Jason Campbell era." The Redskins went on to win that game against Carolina, preserving slim hopes of the team's being able to make it to the 2006 playoffs, although they ultimately missed the playoffs.
In celebration of the franchise's 75th anniversary, the Redskins wore a special throwback uniform for the September 23, 2007 game against the New York Giants. Players wore a white jersey with burgundy and gold stripes on the sleeves and the 75th anniversary logo on the left chest. The pants were gold with white and burgundy stripes down the side. The helmet was yellow-colored with a maroon "R" logo. The helmet and uniform styles (besides the anniversary patch) were the same as the ones the franchise used during the 1970-71 seasons. The legendary Vince Lombardi, who coached the Redskins in 1969 before passing away, was the inspiration behind the helmet. Lombardi pushed for the logo, which sat inside a white circle with Indian feathers hanging down from the side, because of its similarity to the "G" on the helmets worn by his Green Bay Packers for many years.
On September 14, 2008, Week 2 and Game Two for the team of the 2008 season, the 'Skins again donned the white-on-white look, reminiscent of the successful stretch at the end of the 2005 season.
The use of unofficial retired numbers drew controversy during Steve Spurrier's first year as head coach Quarterbacks Danny Wuerffel and Shane Matthews first wore 7 and 9 respectively during training camp. The resulting sports talk furor led to them switching to 17 and 6. During the season, reserve tight end Leonard Stephens wore number 49 for the season. After his retirement as assistant GM, Bobby Mitchell blasted the team, accusing late owners Edward Bennett Williams and Jack Kent Cooke of racism for not being considered for GM and was upset that the team would let a player like Leonard Stephens wear his number.
Despite having been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Turk Edwards, Ray Flaherty, Joe Gibbs, and Paul Krause are not on the Hall of Stars banners. Edwards, Flaherty, and Gibbs had been honored on signs on the prior version of the Hall of Stars.
The list includes three head coaches and 67 players, of which 41 were offensive players, 23 defensive players and three special teams players.
70 Greatest Redskins (Number, Name, Position, Year)
* NFL Record
Larry Michael, formerly of Westwood One, is the team's play-by-play announcer and director of broadcasting. Michael replaced longtime announcer Frank Herzog in 2004. Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff are the color analysts. Rick Walker is the sideline reporter.