REDSKINS FOOTBALL HISTORY
Three Super Bowl championships and 14 playoff appearances
since 1971 make the Washington Redskins one of the
NFL's most dominant teams of the past quarter century.
But the organization's glorious past dates back almost
60 years and includes five overall world championships
and some of the most innovative people and ideas the
game has ever known. From George Preston Marshall
to Jack Kent Cooke, from Vince Lombardi to Joe Gibbs,
from Sammy Baugh to John Riggins, plus the NFL's first
fight song, marching band and radio network, the Redskins
can be proud of an impressive professional football
legacy. Washington Redskins, professional football
team and one of four teams in the Eastern Division
of the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National
Football League (NFL). The Redskins play at FedEx
Field in Landover, Maryland, and wear uniforms of
burgundy, gold, and white.
In professional football’s early days, Washington
was one of the game’s most powerful clubs, capturing
two league crowns and posting ten consecutive winning
records from 1936 to 1945. Leading the Redskins’
high-scoring offense were two-time rushing champion
Cliff Battles and six-time passing champion Sammy
Baugh—both eventual Hall of Fame members.
The Redskins consistently fielded potent teams from
1971 to 1992, reaching the playoffs 13 times, competing
in five Super Bowls, and winning three of them during
that period. Washington’s many stars included
safety Ken Houston, quarterbacks Sonny Jurgensen and
Joe Theismann, wide receivers Art Monk and Charley
Taylor, and running back John Riggins.
George Preston Marshall founded the Redskins franchise
in 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts, as the Boston Braves,
sharing Braves Field with the Boston Braves baseball
team. A year later, Marshall moved his team to Fenway
Park and changed the team’s name to the Redskins.
The Redskins were not profitable, and even an Eastern
Division championship in 1936 failed to excite Boston
fans, so in 1937 Marshall moved the club to Washington,
The team found success in its new home. From 1936
to 1942 head coach Ray Flaherty led the Redskins to
seven consecutive winning records and three appearances
in the NFL Championship Game. Washington faced the
Chicago Bears in all three contests, posting narrow
victories in 1937 and 1942 and suffering a 73-0 defeat
in 1940. During the 1937 title match Flaherty introduced
the screen pass. In such a pass, the offensive linemen
run downfield in front of the running back instead
of blocking for the quarterback. The quarterback then
throws a short pass to the running back and the linemen
form a screen, blocking downfield to gain yardage.
This strategy has since become a standard offensive
Flaherty’s talented offensive unit boasted
four future Hall of Fame members—halfback Cliff
Battles, quarterback Sammy Baugh, tackle Turk Edwards,
and end Wayne Millner. In addition to his six passing
crowns, the versatile Baugh also led the league in
punting five times and interceptions once. His career
punting average of 45.1 yards is the highest ever
compiled in NFL history.
The Redskins suffered a 25-season playoff drought
from 1946 through 1970, posting just four winning
records and changing head coaches 11 times during
that span. Noteworthy individual achievements during
this period included wide receiver Bobby Mitchell’s
yardage championships in 1962 and 1963 and league-leading
performances in 1966 and 1967 by quarterback Sonny
Jurgensen and wide receiver Charley Taylor.
In 1971 former Los Angeles Rams coach George Allen
took over as head coach of the Redskins. He dramatically
reshaped the team through a series of trades for seasoned
veteran players. The retooled Redskins, known as the
Over the Hill Gang, recorded nine victories, the most
by a Washington team in 29 years. In his seven seasons
with the club, Allen produced seven winning records,
five playoff appearances, and one trip to the Super
Bowl. Washington’s Super Bowl appearance was
in 1973, when the Miami Dolphins defeated them 14-7.
The team remained successful throughout the 1970s,
and in 1976 Allen traded for the rights of two players
who would be the key to Washington’s success
in the 1980s—Joe Theismann and John Riggins.
In 1981 former San Diego Chargers assistant coach
Joe Gibbs was hired to improve the Redskins’
passing game. In his 12 seasons as Washington’s
head coach, Gibbs delivered ten winning records, eight
playoff appearances, and three Super Bowl championships.
Gibbs earned his first league crown following the
strike-shortened season of 1982, during which Theismann
led the conference in passing and the Redskins fielded
the league’s toughest defense. Washington defeated
Miami 27-17 in the Super Bowl, led by Riggins’s
Super Bowl-record 166 rushing yards.
During the mid-1980s the Redskins dominated the NFC.
They were led by Theismann until a broken leg sustained
during a 1985 game forced his retirement. Washington’s
defense emerged as one of the finest in the NFL, led
by ends Dexter Manley and Charles Mann. The defense
was especially key in the 1987 season, when the Redskins
finished the year with an 11-4 win-loss record and
defeated the Denver Broncos 42-10 in the Super Bowl.
In 1991 Gibbs assembled one of the most explosive
offensive units in NFL history. Quarterback Mark Rypien
led the NFC in yardage, and running back Earnest Byner
and wide receivers Gary Clark and Art Monk each topped
the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Washington also
fielded the second-toughest defensive unit in the
league. After the season the Redskins routed the Buffalo
Bills 37-24 in the Super Bowl.
Gibbs left the Redskins following the 1992 season
and was replaced by assistant Richie Petitbone. After
a year, Petitbone was replaced by former Dallas Cowboys
offensive coordinator Norv Turner. The Redskins were
one of the weaker teams in the league for much of
the mid- and late 1990s, but they rebounded in 1999
and won their division.
1973 VII Lost to Miami Dolphins,14-7
1983 XVII Defeated Miami Dolphins, 27-17
1984 XVIII Lost to Los Angeles Raiders, 38-9
1988 XXII Defeated Denver Broncos, 42-10
1992 XXVI Defeated Buffalo Bills, 37-24.
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