2022 Washington Commanders
|Established 1932 |
Play in FedEx Field,
Landover, Maryland, U.S.
(in the Washington D.C. area)
National Football League (1932–present)
|Team colors||Burgundy and Gold|
|Fight song||Hail to the Redskins (as the Redskins)|
|Team President||Jason Wright|
|General Manager||Martin Mayhew|
|Head Coach||Ron Rivera|
Founded as Boston Braves in 1932
|League Championships (5)
|Conference Championships (5)
|Division Championships (12)
In Washington DC
The Washington Commanders, which were previously known as the Washington Redskins and most recently, as the Washington Football Team, are members of the East Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team plays at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, while its headquarters and training facility are at Redskin Park in Ashburn, Virginia. The Redskins have played over one thousand games since 1932. As the Redskins, the franchise has won a total of five NFL Championships (two pre-merger, and three Super Bowls). The franchise has captured ten NFL divisional titles and six NFL conference championships.
The team was founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves; it changed its name to the Boston Redskins the following year. The franchise moved to Washington, D.C., in 1937 and became the Washington Redskins. The Redskins branding was seen as pejorative by various Native American groups, among others. In 2020, pressure from several NFL and team sponsors led to it being retired as part of a wave of name changes in the wake of the George Floyd protests. The team temporarily played as the Washington Football Team for two seasons before making a permenant rebrand, again settling on a new team name, this time becoming the "Commanders" in 2022.
The Redskins won the 1937 and 1942 Championship games, as well as Super Bowls XVII, XXII, and XXVI. They also played in and lost the 1936, 1940, 1943, and 1945 Championship games, as well as Super Bowls VII and XVIII. They have made twenty-two postseason appearances, and have an overall postseason record of 23 wins and 17 losses. Only four teams have appeared in more Super Bowls than the Redskins: the Pittsburgh Steelers (eight), Dallas Cowboys (eight), Denver Broncos (six), and New England Patriots (six); the Redskins' five appearances are tied with the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, and Green Bay Packers.
All of the Redskins' league titles were attained during two ten-year spans. From 1936 to 1945, the Redskins went to the NFL Championship six times, winning two of them. The second period lasted between 1982 and 1991 where the Redskins appeared in the postseason seven times, captured four Conference titles, and won three Super Bowls out of four appearances. The Redskins have also experienced failure in their history. The most notable period of failure was from 1946 to 1970, during which the Redskins did not have a single postseason appearance. During this period, the Redskins went without a single winning season between 1956 and 1968. In 1961, the franchise posted their worst regular season record with a 1–12–1 showing.
According to Forbes Magazine, the Redskins are the second most valuable franchise in the NFL, behind the Dallas Cowboys, and were valued at approximately $1.55 billion as of 2009. Being the second most valuable franchise, the Redskins remain the highest grossing team in the NFL with $345 million in revenue during the 2009 season. They have also broken the NFL's mark for single-season attendance nine years in a row.
- Main article: History of the Washington Redskins
The team originated as the Boston Braves, based in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1932. They changed their name to the Boston Redskins the following year, and relocated to Washington, D.C. in 1937. In their early years in Washington, the Redskins shared Griffith Stadium with the Washington Senators baseball team. The Redskins played and won their first game in Washington D.C. on September 16, 1937, a victory against the Giants, 13–3. On December 5, 1937, they earned their first division title in Washington against the Giants, 49–14, for the Eastern Championship. The team then proceeded to win their first league championship, the 1937 NFL Championship Game, on December 12, 1937, against the Chicago Bears, their first year in D.C. The Redskins then met the Bears again in the 1940 NFL Championship Game on December 8, 1940. The result, 73–0 in favor of the Bears, is still the worst one-sided loss in NFL history. The other big loss for the Redskins that season occurred during a coin-tossing ceremony prior to a game against the Giants. After calling the coin toss and shaking hands with the opposing team captain, Turk Edwards attempted to pivot around to head back to his sideline. However, his cleats caught in the grass and his knee gave way, injuring him and bringing his season and career to an unusual end.
In what became an early rivalry in the NFL, the Redskins and Bears met two more times in the NFL Championship. The third time was during the 1942 NFL Championship Game on December 13, 1942, where the Redskins won their second championship, 14–6. The final time the two met was the 1943 NFL Championship Game on December 26, 1943, during which the Bears won, 41–21. The most notable accomplishment achieved during the Redskins' 1943 season was Sammy Baugh leading the NFL in passing, punting, and interceptions.
The Redskins played in the NFL Championship one more time before a quarter-century drought that did not end until the 1972 season. With former Olympic gold medalist Dudley DeGroot as their new head coach, the Redskins went 8–2 during the 1945 season. One of the most impressive performances came from Sammy Baugh, who had a completion percentage of .703. They ended the season by losing to the Cleveland Rams in the 1945 NFL Championship Game on December 16, 1945, 15–14. The one-point margin of victory came under scrutiny because of a safety that occurred early in the game. In the first quarter, the Redskins had the ball at their own 5 yard line. Dropping back into the end zone, quarterback Sammy Baugh threw to an open receiver, but the ball hit the goal post (which at the time was on the goal line instead of at the back of the end zone) and bounced back to the ground in the end zone. Under the rules at the time, this was ruled as a safety and thus gave the Rams a 2–0 lead. It was that safety that proved to be the margin of victory. Owner Marshall was so mad at the outcome that he became a major force in passing the following major rule change after the season: A forward pass that strikes the goal posts is automatically ruled incomplete. This later became known as the "Baugh/Marshall Rule".
Front-office disarray and integration (1946–1970)
The team's early success endeared it to the fans of Washington, D.C. However, after 1945, the Redskins began a slow decline that they did not end until a playoff appearance in the 1971 season. The Redskins had four different head coaches from 1946 to 1951, including former players Turk Edwards and Dick Todd as well as John Whelchel and Herman Ball, and none were successful. But this did not stop George Preston Marshall from trying to make the Redskins the most successful franchise in the league. His first major alteration happened on June 14, 1950, when it was announced that Amoco planned to televise all Redskins games, making Washington the first NFL team to have an entire season of televised games. His next major change came in February 1952, when he hired former Green Bay Packers coach Earl "Curly" Lambeau. But, after two seasons, Marshall fired Lambeau following the Redskins loss in their exhibition opener to the Los Angeles Rams and hired Joe Kuharich. In 1955, Kuharich led the Redskins to their first winning season in ten years and was named both Sporting News Coach of the Year and UPI NFL Coach of the Year.
In 1961, the Redskins moved into their new stadium called D.C. Stadium (later changed to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in 1969). The first game in new D.C. Stadium occurred on October 1, 1961 in front of 37,767 fans. However, the Redskins failed to hold a 21–7 lead and lost to the New York Giants 24–21. That same year, Bill McPeak became the head coach and had a record of 21–46–3 over five seasons. During his tenure, he helped draft future stars: wide receiver Charley Taylor, tight end Jerry Smith, safety Paul Krause, center Len Hauss, and linebacker Chris Hanburger. He also helped pull off two important trades, gaining quarterback Sonny Jurgensen from the Philadelphia Eagles and linebacker Sam Huff from the New York Giants.
One reason for the team's struggles was disarray in the front office. Marshall, team owner and president, began a mental decline in 1962, and the team's other stockholders found it difficult to make decisions without their boss. Marshall died on August 9, 1969, and Edward Bennett Williams, a minority stockholder who was a Washington resident and one of America's most esteemed attorneys, was chosen to run the franchise while the majority stockholder, Jack Kent Cooke, lived in Los Angeles and ran his basketball team, the Los Angeles Lakers. In 1966 Otto Graham was hired as the new head coach. Graham coached the Redskins between 1966 and 1968, but whatever magic he had as an NFL player disappeared on the sidelines as the team recorded a mark of 17-22-3 during that time period. After resigning the Redskins' post in favor of the legendary Vince Lombardi, Graham returned as athletic director of the Coast Guard Academy before retiring at the end of 1984.
In 1969, 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. Assistant coach Bill Austin was chosen to replace Lombardi during 1970 and produced a record of 6–8.
During most of this unsuccessful period, Marshall continually refused to integrate the team, despite pressure from The Washington Post and the federal government of the United States. On March 24, 1961, Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall warned Marshall to hire black players or face federal retribution. For the first time in history, the federal government had attempted to desegregate a professional sports team. The Redskins were under the threat of civil rights legal action by the Kennedy administration, which would have prevented a segregated team from playing at the new D.C. Stadium, as it was owned by the U.S. Department of the Interior and thus federal government property.
In 1962, they became the final professional American football franchise to integrate. First, the Redskins drafted Ernie Davis, the first black player to win the Heisman Trophy. With their second pick in the draft, the Redskins chose another black halfback, Joe Hernandez from Arizona. They also took black fullback Ron Hatcher in the eighth round, a player from Michigan State who became the first black American football player to sign a contract with the Redskins. But, in mid-December, Marshall announced that on the day of the NFL draft he had traded the rights to Davis to the Cleveland Browns, who wanted Davis to join the league's leading rusher, Jim Brown, in their backfield. Davis was traded to the Browns for running back Bobby Mitchell (who became a wide receiver in Washington) and 1962 first-round draft choice Leroy Jackson. The move was made under unfortunate circumstances - as it turned out that Davis had leukemia, and died without ever playing a down in professional football. Mitchell was joined by black stars like receiver Charley Taylor, running back Larry Brown, defensive back Brig Owens, and guard John Nisby from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Redskins ended the 1962 season with their best record in five years: 5–7–2. Mitchell led the league with eleven touchdowns, and caught 72 passes and was selected to the Pro Bowl.
George Allen's Revival (1971–1980)
After the death of Lombardi and Austin's unsuccessful 1970 season, Williams signed former Los Angeles Rams head coach George Allen as head coach on January 6, 1971. Partial to seasoned veterans instead of highly-touted young players, Allen's teams became known as the Over-the-Hill Gang. That season, the Redskins made the playoffs for the first time since 1945 with a 9–4–1 mark. However, they lost in the Divisional Playoffs to the San Francisco 49ers, 24–20. The following season, the Redskins then hosted their first post-season game in Washington since 1942, where they beat the Green Bay Packers 16–3 in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. The Redskins reached the NFC Championship Game, defeating Dallas 26–3, only to lose to the undefeated Miami Dolphins 14–7 in Super Bowl VII.
The Redskins again made the playoffs in 1973, 1974 and 1976, only to lose all three times in the first round. After his Redskins failed to make the playoffs in 1977 despite posting a 9–5 record, Allen was fired and was replaced by new head coach Jack Pardee, a star linebacker under Allen in Los Angeles and Washington. In his first year, his team started 6–0 but then lost 8 of the last 10 games. Then in the offseason, Redskins majority owner Jack Kent Cooke moved from Los Angeles to Virginia and took over the team's day-by-day operations from Edward Bennett Williams.
The Redskins chose well during the 1979 NFL Draft, where they drafted future stars Don Warren and Monte Coleman. They opened the 1979 season 6–2 and were 10–5 heading into the season finale at Texas Stadium, against whom a win would assure a playoff spot and a possible NFC East title. Washington led 34–28 with time running out, but quarterback Roger Staubach then led the Cowboys in a fourth-quarter comeback with two touchdown passes. The 35–34 loss knocked the 10–6 Redskins out of playoff contention. Pardee's quick success with the team did not go unnoticed, however, and he was named Associated Press Coach of the Year and UPI NFC Coach of the Year. Pardee's tenure did not last long though, for he was fired after posting a 6–10 record in 1980. He did, however, draft Art Monk in the first-round.
Gibbs' Era (1981–1992)
On January 13, 1981, owner Jack Kent Cooke signed the offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers, Joe Gibbs, as their head coach. Also during the off-season, the Redskins acquired Mark May, Russ Grimm, and Dexter Manley in the 1981 NFL Draft, all of whom became significant contributors to the team for the next few years. After starting the 1981 season 0–5, the Redskins won eight out of their next eleven games and finished the season 8–8.
Starting on September 21, 1982, the NFL faced a 57–day long players' strike, which reduced the 1982 season from a 16-game schedule to a 9-game schedule. Because of the shortened season, the NFL adopted a special 16-team playoff tournament, in which eight teams from each conference were seeded 1–8 based on their regular season records. After the strike was settled, the Redskins dominated, winning six out of the seven remaining games to make the playoffs for the first time since 1976.
On January 15, 1983, during the second round of the playoffs against the Minnesota Vikings, Riggins rushed for a Redskins playoff record 185 yds, leading Washington to a 21–7 win and a place in the NFC Championship Game against Dallas, whom they beat 31 to 17. The Redskins' first Super Bowl win, and their first NFL Championship in 40 years, was in Super Bowl XVII, where the Redskins defeated the Miami Dolphins 27–17 on January 30, 1983. 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 by running through would-be tackler Don McNeal and getting the go-ahead touchdown. The Redskins ended up winning by a 27–17 score.
The 1983 season marked the rookie debut of Darrell Green, selected in the 1983 NFL Draft along with Charles Mann, who played for twenty more seasons. On October 1, 1983, the Redskins lost to the Green Bay Packers 48–47 in the highest scoring Monday night football game in history, in which both teams combine for more than 1000 yards of total offense. Then during the regular-season finale on December 17, 1983, Moseley set an NFL scoring record with 161 points while Riggins' total of 144 points was second. This marked the first time since 1951 that the top two scorers in a season played on the same team. They dominated the NFL with a 14-win season which included scoring a then NFL record 541 points, many of which came from Riggins, who scored 24 touchdowns. In the postseason, the Redskins beat the Los Angeles Rams 51–7. The next week, Washington barely beat the San Francisco 49ers 24–21 on a last minute field goal, after having led 21–0 after three quarters. It was their final win of the season because two weeks later, the Raiders beat the Redskins 38–9 in Super Bowl XVIII.
The Redskins finished the 1984 season with an 11–5 record, and won the NFC East for the third consecutive season. However, they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Chicago Bears, 23–19. On November 18, 1985, while playing against the Giants, Theismann broke his leg during a sack by Lawrence Taylor. The compound fracture forced him to retire after a 12-year career, during which he became the Redskins' all-time leader in pass attempts and completions.
The 1986 offseason's major highlight occurred during the 1986 NFL Draft, when the Redskins picked up future Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien in the sixth round. In 1986, the road to the playoffs was even harder, with the Redskins making the postseason as a wild-card team despite having a regular season record of 12–4. They won the Wild Card playoff against the Rams, and then again in the Divisional playoffs against the Bears. This game was Gibbs 70th career, which made him the winningest head coach in Redskins history. The season ended next week, however, when the Redskins lost to the Giants 17–0 in the NFC Championship game.
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 starting the game in a 10–0 deficit, the largest come-from-behind victory in Super Bowl history, which was tied by the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV, who trailed the Indianapolis Colts 10-0 after the 1st quarter, and won 31-17. 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 1991 season started with a franchise-record with 11 straight victories. Also during the season, "The Hogs" allowed a league low and franchise record nine sacks — the third lowest total in NFL history. After posting a 14–2 record, the Redskins made and dominated the playoffs, beating the Falcons and Lions by a combined score of 64–17. On January 26, 1992, the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI by defeating the Buffalo Bills 37–24. After the Super Bowl, the Redskins set another franchise record by sending eight players to the Pro Bowl.
The Redskins success in 1992 culminated in a trip to the playoffs as a wild card team, but they lost in the Divisional playoffs to the 49ers, 20–13. The most impressive feat during the season occurred on October 12, 1992, when Art Monk became the NFL's all-time leading pass receiver against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football by catching his 820th career reception. The era ended on March 5, 1993, when Joe Gibbs retired after twelve years of coaching with the Redskins. In what proved to be a temporary retirement, Gibbs pursued an interest in NASCAR by founding Joe Gibbs Racing.
Franchise Downturn 1993-present
During the years 1993-2010, hard times have come upon the Washington Redskins franchise. While they still retain a very large and dedicated fan base, the team has only seen 2 playoff victories in 3 appearances. After the 1992 retirement of famed head coach Joe Gibbs, the Redskins fell into a tailspin. Since 1993, the Redskins have had 8 different head coaches, including a 4 year stint with former coach Gibbs from 2004-2007. Many fans place the direct blame for the Redskins' poor performance on owner Daniel Snyder, along with his former general manager and personal friend Vinny Cerrato, who shared control of the team with Snyder for 10 of the past 17 years. Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer (2001) was fired at the end of his first season as head coach with an 8-8 record and subsequently Cerrato was re-hired. Other controversial issues involving Snyder were the 2009 banning of signs at FedEx Field because of their negative nature toward the owner, and 2009 lawsuits in which team owner Dan Snyder sued unemployed season ticket holders who backed out of contracts because they could not afford them. In the trial, Snyder sued multiple season ticket holders for multiple years of future payment. The season ticket holders could not afford lawyers and were made to pay over $66,000 each.
End of RFK (1993–96)
After the end of Gibbs' first tenure, the Redskins hired former Redskins player Richie Petitbon for the 1993 season. However, his first and only year as head coach, the Redskins finished with a record of 4–12. Petitbon was fired at the end of the season and on February 2, 1994, Norv Turner was hired as head coach after being the offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys. On October 9, 1994, linebacker Monte Coleman played in his 206th career game with the Redskins, which broke Art Monk's team record for games played (Coleman retired at season's end with 216 games played). On March 13, 1996, Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, Maryland Governor Parris Glendening, and Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry signed a contract that paved the way for the immediate start of construction for the new home of the Redskins (now FedEx Field). On December 22, 1996, the Redskins played their final game at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, a victory over the Dallas Cowboys 37–10, and finished their tenure at the stadium with a 173–102–3 record, including 11–1 in the playoffs.
Death of Jack Kent Cooke and the beginning of FedExField (1997–98)
On April 6, 1997, Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke died of congestive heart failure at the age of 84. In his will, Cooke left the Redskins to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, with instructions that the foundation sell the team. His estate, headed by son John Kent Cooke, took over ownership of the Redskins and at his memorial service, John Kent Cooke announced that the new stadium in Landover, Maryland will be named Jack Kent Cooke Stadium. On September 14, 1997, the Redskins played in their new stadium for the first time, and beat the Arizona Cardinals, 19–13 in overtime. On November 23, 1997, they played the New York Giants and the result was a 7–7 tie, the Redskins first tie game since the 1971 season. The result was a 8–7–1 record, and the Redskins missed the playoffs for a fifth season in a row. One bright spot during the season, however, occurred on December 13, 1997, when Darrell Green played in his 217th career game as a Redskin, breaking Monte Coleman's team record for games played.
Daniel Snyder becomes Owner (1999–present)
After two seasons, John Kent Cooke was unable to raise sufficient funds to permanently purchase the Redskins, and on May 25, 1999, Daniel Snyder gained unanimous approval (31-0) from league owners and bought the franchise for $800 million, a deal that was the most expensive team-purchasing deal in sporting history. One of his first acts as team owner occurred on November 21, 1999, when he sold the naming-rights to Jack Kent Cooke Stadium to the highest bidder, Federal Express, who renamed the stadium FedEx Field.
In Snyder's first season as owner, the Redskins went 10–6, including a four-game winning streak early in the season, and made it to the playoffs for the first time in Norv Turner's career, and the first time for the Redskins since 1992 in the final game of the season, on January 2, 2000, against the Dolphins. Running back Stephen Davis rushed for a club-record 1405 yards and quarterback Brad Johnson completed a club-record 316 passes and threw for more than 4000 yards in regular play that season. They then beat the Detroit Lions in the first round of the playoffs, but lost to the Buccaneers, 14–13.
The 2000 season started with the selection of future Pro Bowler Chris Samuels and the Tumultuous LaVar Arrington in the 2000 NFL Draft and included five consecutive wins in the first half of the season. However, they ended up going 7–6, and on December 4, 2000, Norv Turner was fired as head coach. Terry Robiskie was named interim coach to finish out the season, which ended with an 8–8 record. During the final game of the season on December 24, 2000, Larry Centers became the NFL's all-time leader in catches by a running back with 685 receptions.
On January 3, 2001, the Redskins hired former Browns and Chiefs head coach Marty Schottenheimer as head coach. The 2001 season began with a loss to the San Diego Chargers, 30–3, two days before the September 11, 2001 attacks. On September 13, 2001, the Redskins announced the establishment of the Redskins Relief Fund to help families of the victims of the attack at the Pentagon. During the course of the season, the Redskins raised more than $700,000. They finished the season with an 8–8 record and Schottenheimer was fired after the final game.
On January 14, 2002, Snyder hired University of Florida coach Steve Spurrier, the Redskins' fifth new head coach in ten years. They finished with a 7–9 record, their first losing season since 1998. A bittersweet moment during the season occurred on December 29, 2002, when Darrell Green concluded his 20th and final season as the Redskins defeated the Cowboys 20–14 at FedEx Field. During his twenty seasons, he set a NFL record for consecutive seasons with at least one interception (19) and a Redskins team record for regular season games played (295) and started (258).
The Redskins finished the 2003 season with a 5–11 record, their worst since 1994. The one bright note of the season was on December 7, 2003, when defensive end Bruce Smith sacked Giants quarterback Jesse Palmer in the fourth quarter. With his 199th career sack, broke Reggie White's all-time NFL mark (Smith finished the season with 200 career sacks). After two mediocre years, Spurrier resigned after the 2003 season with three years left on his contract.
Return of Joe Gibbs (2004–2007)
For the 2004 season, Snyder successfully lured former coach Joe Gibbs away from NASCAR to return as head coach and team president. His employment came with a promise of decreased intervention in football operations from Snyder. Snyder also expanded FedEx Field to a league-high capacity of 91,665 seats. Gibbs's return to the franchise did not pay instant dividends as the Redskins finished the 2004 season with a record of 6 wins and 10 losses.
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 improved by signing or trading for stars such as Cornelius Griffin, Santana Moss, and Clinton Portis.
- Main article: 2005 Washington Redskins
During the 2005 offseason, the Redskins traded back WR Laveranues Coles to the New York Jets and acquired WR Santana Moss in return.
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.
- Main article: 2006 Washington Redskins
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 bringing in new faces Brandon Lloyd, Antwaan Randle El, Adam Archuleta and Andre Carter with lucrative contracts and lucrative bonuses in the 2005-06 offseason, expectations for the Redskins were high. The expectations would in no way be met. The Redskins struggled every week to stay close in games and hold leads. The Redskins lost a close season-opener to the Minnesota Vikings 19-16. However, the season turned for the worse quickly. The Redskins played another primetime game the very next week against the hated rival Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night football and fell flat on their face, losing 27-10. The Redskins seemed to turn it around after that, routing the Houston Texans 31-15 and quarterback Mark Brunell setting a then-NFL record by completing 22 consecutive passes. The Redskins then defeated the highly regarded Jacksonville Jaguars in overtime 36-30. However, this 2-game win streak would be the high point. The Redskins entered the next week favored over the slumping rival New York Giants and fell again, being demolished 19-3. The Redskins then hosted the winless Tennessee Titans at home, and lost 25-22, allowing Vince Young to win his first career start. After a loss to Indianapolis Colts, the Redskins returned home for a second jab at the Cowboys. The Redskins rallied to tie the game at 19-19. However, the Cowboys were on their way to victory and lined up for a 38-yard field-goal attempt by renowned kicker Mike Vanderjagt. When the kick went up, it was blocked and returned by Sean Taylor to the Cowboys 47 yard line as time expired, apparently sending the game to overtime, but a facemask on Dallas allowed newly signed kicker Nick Novak attempt a 49-yard field goal on an untimed down. He squeezed it through the uprights and the Redskins won the game 22-19. The next week, the Redskins traveled to Philadelphia to take on the rival Philadelphia Eagles and fell flat again, falling 27-3. After this, Joe Gibbs replaced Brunell with young quarterback Jason Campbell. The Redskins continued to lose games by close margins and blow late leads, winning only two of its final 7 games, and finishing the season 5-11, last in the NFC East.
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, 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.
- Main article: 2007 Washington Redskins
The 2007 Washington Redskins season was the team's 75th season, and saw the team achieve a record of 9–7 and a playoff appearance. This was an improvement over the 2006 season in which they went 5–11 and finished last in the NFC East.
The Redskins began the 2007 season by "winning ugly" starting the season off 2–0. The Redskins kept winning and losing close games, the only exception to this a 34–3 rout of the Detroit Lions. The Redskins continued to win ugly and lose ugly to be 5–3 at the halfway mark. However, the Redskins would begin to collapse. The Washington Redskins lost their next three games to fall to 5–6. On Monday, November 26, 2007, Redskins superstar, Sean Taylor was shot by intruders early in the morning in his Miami home. The next morning, Sean Taylor died from severe blood loss. The heartbreak continued for the Washington Redskins, taking a 9–2 halftime lead against the Buffalo Bills, and eventually a 16–5 lead. However, the Bills cut the lead to 16–14, and got into position with just 8 seconds remaining to win the game. In an attempt to ice the kicker, head coach Joe Gibbs called timeout. However, he attempted to re-ice him, and called timeout again, which drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, reducing the field goal from 51 yards to 36, and Bills kicker Rian Lindell nailed it with ease. Following the heartbreaking loss, the Redskins attended Sean Taylor's funeral two days later, with a game to play on Thursday night against the Chicago Bears. The bad news continued, as quarterback Jason Campbell went down for the season with a knee injury. Following this, unlikely hero and backup quarterback Todd Collins led the Redskins to the victory, keeping their playoff hopes alive. Things continued to turn in the right direction behind Collins, who led the Redskins to a 22-10 victory on Sunday Night Football over the New York Giants and routs of the Minnesota Vikings and rival Dallas Cowboys in the final two weeks to propel the Redskins to 9–7 and the final playoff spot in the NFL playoffs.
The Redskins trailed 13–0 entering the 4th quarter to the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card Playoffs, but rallied back to take a 14–13 lead, but Redskins kicker Shaun Suisham missed a field goal later in the game, and the Seahawks scored on the next drive and converted the two-point conversion. To close the game, Todd Collins threw two interceptions, each returned for touchdowns, and the Redskins fell 35–14.
Zorn Period (2008-09)
- Main article: 2008 Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins looked to return to the playoffs in 2008 but could not, finishing 8–8. After Joe Gibbs announced his retirement, Jim Zorn was hired as head coach, and brought in a West Coast Offense.
The season started about as well as it could have, as the Washington Redskins started the season 6–2, with their two losses coming by a combined 11 points to the New York Giants and St. Louis Rams. Furthermore, Redskins star Clinton Portis led the NFL in rushing yards and Jason Campbell was just 40 pass attempts away from breaking Bernie Kosar's record of consecutive passes to start the season without an interception. However, the downturn began on the eve of the 2008 Presidential Election, being routed 23–6 by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Clinton Portis' injuries finally caught up to him. The Redskins continued to struggle, falling all the way to 7–7, with their only win a 3-point victory of the then-2–8 Seattle Seahawks, who were at that point 3–11. Despite this, their fast start ballooned them and thus were still barely breathing, but they needed help. The Washington Redskins upset the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16, but were eliminated by the Atlanta Falcons due to their 24–17 victory over the Minnesota Vikings that same week. The Redskins lost the final game of the season 27–24 to the San Francisco 49ers, despite having a 17–7 lead at halftime, losing on a Joe Nedney field goal as time expired.
- Main article: 2009 Washington Redskins
The Redskins signed defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to a 7-year, $100 million contract in the offseason. They also signed cornerback DeAngelo Hall to a 6-year, $54 million contract. Hall had joined the team for the final seven games of the 2008 season after being released by the Oakland Raiders.
The Redskins also signed offensive guard Derrick Dockery to a 5-year deal, bringing him back to the team that drafted him in 2003. In the 2009 NFL Draft the Redskins, with the 13th pick overall, drafted defensive end Brian Orakpo out of Texas. They also released two veterans, offensive tackle Jon Jansen and wide receiver/kick returner James Thrash. In addition the Redskins selected University of Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon in the third round of the supplemental draft.
After starting the season 2-3 with all-winless opponents, the Redskins hired former NFL offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis as an offensive consultant. Following a close loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Lewis was promoted to playcalling duties with coach Jim Zorn was stripped of those duties. Despite huge controversy of the job security of coach Zorn, Vinny Cerrato had stated that Zorn will be the coach of the Redskins for the remainder of the season. However, Zorn and Campbell would outlast Cerrato himself, as he resigned after Week 14. Three days before the Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants, the Redskins hired former Tampa Bay Buccaneers General Manager Bruce Allen. Despite the fanfare surrounding the Redskins after hiring the son of George Allen, the man who began the winning tradition in Washington, the Redskins were routed 45-12, being swept by the Giants for the third time in four years.
The Redskins finished their 2009 season on January 3, 2010 with a 23-20 loss to the San Diego Chargers. The next day, in the early morning, head coach Jim Zorn was fired. They finished with the 2009 season with a 4-12 record.
Arrival of Mike Shanahan
On January 5, 2010, Mike Shanahan agreed to a five-year contract with the Redskins and announced that he would bring his son, Kyle, from Houston to be offensive coordinator, and ex-NFL head coach Jim Haslett for the defensive coordinator position. Other major changes in the coaching staff included retirement of long-time offensive line coach Joe Bugel and defensive coordinator Greg Blache. Jim Haslett made a major change to the defensive scheme, switching from the traditional 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense, a move which drastically changed the Redskins' plans for defensive personnel. Ahead of free agency, General Manager Bruce Allen cut 10 players off the roster, including notables Antwaan Randle El and Fred Smoot.
Early in his tenure at Washington, Mike Shanahan entered into a heated controversy with star defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth. Haynesworth, unhappy with the prospect of playing the position of nose tackle in the new 3–4 defense, refused to attend early training camps and showed up to preseason practice out of shape. Shanahan refused to let Haynesworth practice at preseason camp until he passed a fitness test first. Haynesworth was unable to pass this test for several weeks, during which the divide between him and Shanahan grew deeper. To this point, Haynesworth's contribution on the field in the 3-4 has been nominal and his relationship with Shanahan seems irrevocable. On December 7, 2010, Haynesworth was suspended for the last four games of the season for conduct detrimental to the team, after he told General Manager Bruce Allen that he refused to speak to Coach Shanahan after Shanahan made Haynesworth inactive in Week 13 for poor practice the week prior. Shanahan said the suspension followed a refusal by Haynesworth to cooperate in a series of ways and not only because of the practice absence.
On April 4, 2010, the team acquired Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb from the division rival Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2010 draft and a third or fourth-round pick in 2011.
On April 22, 2010, in the 2010 NFL Draft, the team selected All-American Oklahoma Tackle Trent Williams with the 4th overall pick. Also during the 2010 draft, they traded their former starting quarterback Jason Campbell to the Oakland Raiders for a 2012 fourth-round draft pick.
The Redskins won their season opener, 13-7, at FedEx Field against the Dallas Cowboys on September 12, 2010. The game was also Coach Shanahan's debut with the team.
On October 24, 2010, during a game at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears, DeAngelo Hall tied a team single-game pass interception record with former Redskin Sammy Baugh. The Redskins went on to win the game 17–14.
On December 17, only three days before the Redskins traveled to Dallas, Coach Shanahan announced that McNabb would no longer be the starting quarterback, and he was benched in favor of Rex Grossman. McNabb was the second-string quarterback for the Dallas game, and the third-string quarterback for the last two games of the season. Shanahan also reportedly told McNabb that he could not guarantee that McNabb would be with the team the next year. In the game against Dallas, Grossman threw for 322 yards, 4 touchdowns and two 2-pt conversions, yet he turned the ball over three times. It was not enough, however, to overcome the Cowboys, who won 33–30.
The Redskins finished the season with a 6–10 record.
- Main article: 2011 Washington Redskins
At the conclusion of the 2010 season, Mike Shanahan stated that the Redskins were going to revamp their roster in the coming offseason via trades, free agency and the draft. It is widely believed and reported that The Redskins are in a rebuilding process. The general consensus is that Shanahan wishes to reduce the age of the roster, and after a quiet salary cap purge during the 2010 Season by Bruce Allen, the team has many options going into a very promising rebuilding process. On February 28, after finishing the last three seasons on IR, the Redskins released Clinton Portis, due to the $8 million he was scheduled to make next season. The Redskins then released veteran guard Derrick Dockery and linebacker Andre Carter. On March 3, the Redskins signed O.J Atogwe to a five-year contract.
In the 2011 NFL draft, the Redskins traded the 10th overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the 16th pick, among others, and selected defensive end Ryan Kerrigan from Purdue. The Washington Redskins made a habit of trading down and acquiring more, later round picks in the draft; the team entered the draft with 7 picks and ended up making a total of 12 selections. The Redskins selected Jarvis Jenkins, a defensive tackle from Clemson in the second round; Mike Shanahan addressed this selection in a post-draft interview, saying that Jenkins will transition to a defensive end in the 3-4 defensive scheme that Jim Haslett runs. The Redskins then drafted Leonard Hankerson, a wide receiver from the University of Miami in the third round.
Jay Gruden era (2014–2019)
- Main article: 2014 Washington Redskins
On January 9, 2014, the Redskins hired Jay Gruden as their head coach. Gruden became the eighth head coach of the team since Daniel Snyder purchased the franchise in 1999. Gruden lost his first regular season game as an NFL coach against the Houston Texans 17–6 with the Texans defense controlling the Washington offense for the majority of the game. Gruden would then go on to win his first game as an NFL head coach the following week against the Jacksonville Jaguars 41–10. Gruden and the Redskins struggled throughout the season, having three different quarterbacks start games, amounting to a 4–12 record. Defense coordinator Jim Haslett was fired at the end of the season.
- Main article: 2015 Washington Redskins
On January 7, 2015, the Redskins hired Scot McCloughan to be their general manager. McCloughan took over control of the roster from Bruce Allen, who was given the sole title of team president after the hiring. On October 25, 2015, the Redskins had their largest comeback win in franchise history, coming back to win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31–30, after being down 0–24 in the second quarter.
The Redskins clinched the NFC East division title on December 26, when they beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16, 38–24. The division title was their third since Snyder took over ownership of the team, and was the first since the 1999 season to be clinched before Week 17. The Redskins hosted the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card round on January 10, 2016, but lost 35–18, ending their 2015 season.
Kirk Cousins, who took over as starting quarterback in the preseason, finished the season with career highs in touchdowns (29), yards (4,166), and completion percentage (69.8%). His completion percentage led the league, while his 29 touchdowns tied him for second on the franchise single-season list.
- Main article: 2016 Washington Redskins
The team's offense in 2016 set several franchise records, including having over 6,000 total net yards, which was only the third time in franchise history the team had accomplished that. Quarterback Kirk Cousins also set single-season team records in attempts, completions, and passing yards, breaking many of his records he had previously set in 2015. DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, Jamison Crowder, Robert Kelley, Chris Thompson, Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, and Matt Jones all finished the season with at least 500 yards from scrimmage, tying the 2011 New Orleans Saints for the most in a single season in NFL history.
Despite the numerous records set, the Redskins missed the playoffs, losing 19–10 in a "win and in" situation against the New York Giants in the final week of the season. However, the Redskins still finished the season with a record of 8–7–1, giving the team their first consecutive winning seasons in nearly 20 years. In contrast with the record setting offense, the team's defense had a poor season, finishing 29 out of 32 teams in total defense, which led to the firing of defensive coordinator Joe Barry, as well as three of his assistants.
- Main article: 2017 Washington Redskins
2017 was the team's 85th season. Kirk Cousins had his third straight season with 4,000 passing yards while once again playing under the franchise tag. For the second straight season, the Redskins missed the playoffs, finishing 7–9. It was also the last season that Cousins played for the Redskins, as he signed with the Minnesota Vikings for 2018, ending his six-year tenure with the team.
- Main article: 2018 Washington Redskins
During the 2018 off season, the Redskins acquired Quarterback Alex Smith to replace Kirk Cousins as he left for the Minnesota Vikings in free agency. Despite early success starting the season 6–3, their best start since 2008, the team finished the season 1–6 due to injuries. In a game against the Houston Texans on November 18, 2018, Alex Smith suffered a compound and spiral fracture to his tibia and fibula in his right leg when he was sacked by Kareem Jackson and J. J. Watt which forced him to miss the rest of the season. This led to a QB carousel of QBs starting for the Redskins in the final 7 game with Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez, and Josh Johnson. The team finished the season at 7–9 and missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year with a league high 25 players on Injured Reserve.
- Main article: 2019 Washington Redskins
Due to Alex Smith's injury, the Redskins acquired Case Keenum from the Denver Broncos in the offseason, and drafted Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State in the 2019 NFL Draft. Keenum was named the starting QB on August 25, 2019. During the season, the Redskins started the season 0–5 which included the Redskins blowing a 17-point halftime lead against the Philadelphia Eagles, and a 24–3 loss to the Daniel Jones led New York Giants where in Haskins debut due to him replacing a struggling Keenum for the Redskins, ended with three interceptions thrown with one returned for a touchdown and two thrown to Janoris Jenkins. On October 4, 2019, Colt McCoy was named the starter over Haskins and Keenum for the game against the New England Patriots. However the Redskins lost 33–7 despite early success with a 65-yard touchdown run by Steven Sims.
With a league worst 0–5 record at the time tying with the Cincinnati Bengals, and their worst start since 2001, the Redskins fired Gruden on October 7, 2019, with offensive line coach Bill Callahan serving as the interim head coach for the rest of the season. Gruden finished his six-year tenure with the Redskins with a 35–49–1 regular season record with one playoff appearance. Callahan got the Redskins first victory over the 0–4 Miami Dolphins, snapping a 7-game losing streak dating back to the previous season, which was also his first NFL win as a head coach since 2003. Dwyane Haskins would later start against the Buffalo Bills when Case Keenum was injured. A week 14 loss to the Green Bay Packers would eliminate the Redskins from playoff contention for the 4th consecutive year. The Redskins will finish the season at 3–13 with victories over the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers. The Redskins record was their worst record since 1994 and 2013 and had the second worst record during the season behind the Bengals. Since the Alex Smith injury, the Redskins have gone a combined record of 4–19.
Ron Rivera era (2020–present)
- Main article: 2020 Washington Football Team
In 2020, the team saw several changes to its front office and coaching staff, with team president Bruce Allen being among those fired. To replace Jay Gruden, the team hired former Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. Some members of his staff include former Jaguars and Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio as defensive coordinator, as well as Scott Turner, the son of former Redskins head coach Norv Turner, as offensive coordinator. Rivera and Del Rio switched the team's defensive scheme from a 3-4, of which the team had used under both Shanahan and Gruden's tenure, to a 4-3.
Logos and uniforms
The Washington Redskins' primary colors are burgundy and gold. The Redskins' main current uniform design was introduced by coach Jack Pardee in 1979. Continuously from 1961 through 1978, the Redskins wore gold pants with both the burgundy and white jerseys, although details of the jerseys and pants changed a few times during this period. Gold face masks were introduced in 1978 and remain to this day; previous to that they were grey. From the start of the Joe Gibbs era until 2010, the Redskins were one of three NFL teams that primarily wore their white jerseys at home (the others being the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins; though the Dolphins, who do so because the warm weather that causes many teams to wear white early in the season exists year-round in South Florida, traditionally wear dark jerseys at night). The tradition of wearing white jerseys over burgundy pants at home, which is considered the "classic" look, 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.
From 1981-2009, their burgundy jersey were primarily used when the opposing team decided to wear white at home, which comes mostly against the Dallas Cowboys and occasionally the Philadelphia Eagles, and was normally worn over white pants. It was and is also worn on the road against other teams that like to wear white at home for games occurring early in a particular season. From 1981 through 2000, the Redskins wore their white jerseys over burgundy pants at home almost exclusively. In 1994, as part of a league-wide celebration of the NFL's 75th Anniversary, during certain games the Redskins wore special uniforms which emulated the uniforms worn by the team in its inaugural season as the Washington Redskins, 1937. Both worn over gold pants, the burgundy jerseys featured gold numbers bordered in white and the white jerseys featured burgundy numbers bordered in gold. The most distinctive feature of both colors of the jersey was the patches worn on both sleeves, which were a reproduction of the patches worn on the full-length sleeves of the 1937 jerseys. Worn with these uniforms was a plain burgundy helmet with a gold facemask. In 2001, the Redskins wore burgundy for all home games in the preseason and regular season per a decision by Marty Schottenheimer, their coach for that year. In 2002, the team celebrated the passing of 70 years since its creation as the Boston Braves in 1932, and wore a special home uniform of burgundy jersey over gold pants which roughly resembled the home uniforms used from 1969-1978. The helmets used with this special home uniform during that year were a reproduction of the helmets used by the team from 1965-69. This special home uniform was also worn during one game in 2003. In 2004, when Joe Gibbs became the coach of the Redskins once again, the team switched back to wearing white jerseys at home; in Gibbs's 16 years as head coach, the team never wore burgundy jerseys at home.
Their white jerseys have provided three basic color combinations, two of which have been previously alluded to in this article. The last combination consists of both white jerseys and pants. That particular combination surfaced in the first game of the 2003 season, when the team was coached by Steve Spurrier, during a nationally televised game against the New York Jets, which led many sports fans and Redskins faithful alike to point out that they had never seen that particular combination before. 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 straight games, including one in the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, wearing that combination and the local media jokingly pointed out that the reason the Redskins were winning was their use of the white over white combination. In the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the eventual 2005 NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks, the Redskins wore the all-white uniforms, in hopes that they could keep their streak going; however, they lost 20-10. The Redskins 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 hadn'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-over-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 home game against the New York Giants. Players wore a white jersey (in keeping with Gibbs's exclusive use of the color, whereas most other NFL throwback jerseys tend to be dark) with 3 burgundy and 2 gold stripes on each sleeve and the 75th anniversary logo on the left chest. The pants were gold, with one white stripe bordered by a burgundy stripe on each side, running down each side. The helmet was yellow-colored with a burgundy "R" logo. The helmet and uniform styles (besides the anniversary patch and the position of the upper-most, "TV," numbers) were the same as the ones the franchise used during the 1970-71 seasons. While this throwback uniform was worn during a home game, it was actually the away uniform for 1970-71. (The helmet was discontinued after the 1971 season, while this basic away uniform design, minus the helmet, was used through the 1978 season, as well as during most the 1969 season.) The legendary Vince Lombardi, who coached the Redskins in 1969 before passing away during the 1970 pre-season, was the inspiration behind the helmet. Lombardi pushed for the logo, which sat inside a white circle enclosed within a burgundy circle border, 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 Redskins again donned the white-on-white look, which was reminiscent of the successful stretch at the end of the 2005 season.
On November 3, 2008, the Redskins wore burgundy jerseys over their burgundy pants in a Monday night home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers the night before the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. The Redskins lost the game, 23-6. It was the first time the Redskins went with the dark "monochrome" look that many NFL teams have adopted in some form over the past few years. This uniform combination made a reappearance in 2009 against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on November 22 and a home Monday night game against the New York Giants on December 21.
The Redskins, after wearing white almost exclusively in the '80s and '90s, occasionally reverted from 2002-2009 to using their burgundy jerseys for home games during the latter weeks of the season, but would still wear white against the Dallas Cowboys. At the 2010 season and home opener on September 12, the team debuted a never-before-seen look, pairing the standard modern burgundy jerseys with the throwback style of gold pants that are reminiscent of the era of Head Coach George Allen, the late father of new GM Bruce Allen, which had last been seen in the game vs. the Giants in 2007. In 2010, the team wore burgundy jerseys for all regular season home games, including six total sporting the afore-mentioned new look. For two home games, vs Green Bay and Tampa Bay, the team wore the standard white pants. In Philadelphia on October 3, with the Eagles wearing white at home, the team also wore white pants with their burgundy jerseys---and did the same when visiting Dallas in December. Away against Tennessee on November 21, they debuted another new look, matching the gold pants with the standard modern white jerseys for the first time ever; the same combination would be worn at the Giants two weeks later. In the other four away games, the team wore the white jerseys over the burgundy pants.
Native American mascot controversy
Some considered the franchise's former namesake, and logo, "Redskins" insensitive towards Native Americans. There have been movements by certain groups to change the name, but many previous attempts to have the team name and logo were unsuccessful. Others would make the case in defense that the Redskins name is intended to honor the bravery and dignity of Native Americans and that, regardless of past usage, the word redskins today refers to the football team. Notwithstanding the protests of activists, a 2002 poll commissioned by Sports Illustrated found that 75% of those Native Americans surveyed had no objection to the Redskins name. The results of the poll were been criticized by Native American activists due to Sports Illustrated's refusal to provide polling information (i.e. how participants were recruited and contacted, if they were concentrated in one region, if one ethnic group is over represented and the exact wording and order of questions). But in 2004, a poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania essentially confirmed the prior poll's findings, concluding that 91% of the American Indians surveyed in the 48 states on the mainland USA found the name acceptable and setting out in detail the exact wording of the questions.
In 1992, a group of Native Americans led by Suzan Harjo filed Harjo et al v. Pro Football, Inc. to have the United States trademarks associated with the Redskins name cancelled under statutes which prevent registration of disparaging terms. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in 1999 ruled in favor of the petition and cancelled the trademarks. Following appeals, in 2005 the D.C. Court of Appeals in Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo reversed the cancellation, ruling that there was insufficient evidence to support the finding of disparagement and holding that the majority of the petitioners were barred by laches from maintaining the suit. Had the cancellation of the trademark been successful, the team could have still used the name, and it still would have had enforceable trademark rights under state and local law. It would thus have been able to prevent others from using its marks on promotional goods, such as jackets and caps. It would, however, have lost various benefits of federal trademark registration, such as the ability to enlist the aid of the U.S. Customs Service to seize infringing imports at the border. On May 15, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed an earlier ruling that the Native Americans had waited too long to challenge the trademark. The trademark was registered in 1967. Native Americans successfully got the court to reconsider based on the fact that one of the plaintiffs, Mateo Romero, was only 1 year old in 1967 and turned 18 in 1984. The court decision affirmed that, even accepting the 1984 date, the Native Americans had still waited too long for the 1992 challenge. In November 2009, in Harjo v. Pro-Football, Inc., Case No. 09-326, the U.S. Supreme Court declined certiorari and refused to hear the Native American group's appeal.
2020 Temporary team name change
Following renewed attention to questions of racial justice after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, a letter signed by 87 shareholders and investors of team was sent to NFL sponsors Nike, FedEx, and PepsiCo urging them to cut their ties with the team unless the name was changed. In addition, several retail companies had also begun removing Redskins merchandise from their stores, In response, the team underwent a review in July 2020 and announced that it would retire its name. r=USA Today|date=July 6, 2020|access-date=July 15, 2020}}</ref> while FedEx, whose founder and CEO Frederick W. Smith is also a minority owner of the team, stated their intent to cancel their sponsorship of their FedEx Field, the team's stadium, if the name was not changed. In response, the team announced in July 2020 that they would be retiring the name following a review of it, and that a new nickname and logo will be revealed at a later date. For the 2020 season, the team will be playing as the Washington Football Team until a permanent name can be revealed at a later date, a process in which head coach Ron Rivera stated could take over a year. For the uniforms, the team kept the burgundy and gold colors and replaced the helmet logo and striping with a jersey number in gold.
2022 Team name change to the "Commanders"
On February 2, 2022, the Washington Football Team announced their new name as the Washington Commanders.
- Main article: List of Washington Redskins seasons
Record vs. opponents
- See List of Washington Redskins opponents
- Main article: Cowboys–Redskins rivalry
The Cowboys–Redskins rivalry is a sports rivalry between two professional American football teams in the NFL that have won 31 combined division titles and ten World Championships, including eight combined Super Bowls. The rivalry started in 1960 when the Cowboys joined the league as an expansion team. During that year they were in separate conferences, but played once during the season. In 1961, Dallas was placed in the same division as the Redskins, and from that point on, they have played each other twice during every regular season.
Texas oil tycoon Clint Murchison, Jr. was having a hard time bringing an NFL team to Dallas, Texas. In 1958, Murchison heard that George Preston Marshall, owner of the Washington Redskins, was eager to sell the team. Just as the sale was about to be finalized, Marshall called for a change in terms. Murchison was outraged and canceled the whole deal. Around this time, Marshall had a falling out with the Redskin band director, Barnee Breeskin. Breeskin had written the music to the Redskins fight song, now a staple at the stadium. He wanted revenge after the failed negotiations with Marshall. He approached Tom Webb, Murchison’s lawyer, and sold the rights for $2,500. Murchison then decided to create his own team, with the support of NFL expansion committee chairman, George Halas. Halas decided to put the proposition of a Dallas franchise before the NFL owners, which needed to have unanimous approval in order to pass. The only owner against the proposal was George Preston Marshall. However, Marshall found out that Murchison owned the rights to Washington's fight song, so a deal was finally struck. If Marshall showed his approval of the Dallas franchise, Murchison would return the song. The Cowboys were then founded and began playing in 1960.
Players of note
- Main article: List of Washington Redskins players
Pro Football Hall of Famers
|Washington Redskins inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame|
|9||Sonny Jurgensen||QB||1964–1974||17||Turk Edwards||OT-DT||1932–1940|
|20||Cliff Battles||RB-CB||1932–1937||26||Paul Krause||S||1964–1967|
|27||Ken Houston||S||1973–1980||28||Darrell Green||CB||1983–2002|
|33||Sammy Baugh||QB-S-P||1937–1952||35||Bill Dudley||RB-CB||1950–1953|
|44||John Riggins||RB||1976–1985||49||Bobby Mitchell||RB||1962–1968|
|68||Russ Grimm||G||1981–1991||70||Sam Huff||LB||1964–1969|
|73||Stan Jones||DT||1966||75||Deacon Jones||DE||1974|
|78||Bruce Smith||DE||2000–2003||81||Art Monk||WR||1980–1993|
|55||Chris Hanburger||LB||1965–1978||21||Deion Sanders||CB||2000|
|–||GEORGE ALLEN||Head coach||1971–1977||–||RAY FLAHERTY||Head coach||1936–1942|
|–||JOE GIBBS||Head coach||1981–1992, 2004–2007||–||Otto Graham||Head coach||1966–1968|
|–||Curly Lambeau||Head coach||1952–1953||–||Vince Lombardi||Head coach||1969|
|–||GEORGE PRESTON MARSHALL||Owner & founder||1932–1969||–||Mike McCormack||Assistant coach||1965–1972|
|–||Emmitt Thomas||Assistant coach||1986-94|
Note: Names that are all capitalized are Hall of Famers who have made significant contributions to the organization.
- 33 Sammy Baugh, QB-S-P, 1937–52
Unofficially retired numbers
The Redskins' policy since Baugh's retirement has been to not retire numbers. However, some numbers are unofficially retired and are usually withheld from being assigned to new players. The following numbers of past Redskin greats fall into that category.
- 7 Joe Theismann, QB, 1974–85
- 9 Sonny Jurgensen, QB, 1964–74
- 28 Darrell Green, CB, 1983–2002
- 42 Charley Taylor, WR, 1964–77
- 43 Larry Brown, RB, 1969–76
- 44 John Riggins, RB, 1976–79, 1981–85
- 49 Bobby Mitchell, RB, 1962–68
- 65 Dave Butz, DT, 1975–88
- 70 Sam Huff, LB, 1964-69 (worn by Leonard Marshall in 1994)
- 81 Art Monk, WR, 1980–93
Sean Taylor's number 21 has not been reissued since his death during the 2007 season, but it is unknown, as of 2011, whether the number should be considered "unofficially retired." A Google search reveals multiple fan petitions seeking to have the number formally retired. Free agent signing O.J. Atogwe, who had "worn No. 21 his entire life", chose to switch to No. 20 out of respect for Taylor.
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.
Washington Hall of Stars
The Washington Hall of Stars is a series of banners hanging at RFK Stadium honoring D.C. performers from all sports. It was previously located on a series of white-and-red signs ringing the face of the stadium's mezzanine level. Another version hangs on a large sign on one of the parking garages at Nationals Park. The Redskins honored on it include Hall-of-Famers Allen, Battles, Baugh, Dudley, Grimm, Houston, Huff, Jurgensen, Marshall, Millner, Mitchell, Monk, Riggins, and Taylor; "retired number" honorees Brown, Moseley, and Theismann; and the following:
- Arthur "Dutch" Bergman, Head Coach 1943, also coached in D.C. at The Catholic University of America and President of the company that lobbied for the building of what became RFK Stadium
- 80 Gene Brito DE 1951–58
- 65 Dave Butz DT 1975–88
- Jack Kent Cooke, team owner 1961–97 (majority owner from 1974, sole owner from 1985)
- 37 Pat Fischer DB 1968–77
- 55 Chris Hanburger LB 1965–78
- 56 Len Hauss C 1964–77
- 66 Joe Jacoby OT 1981–93
- 47 Dick James RB 1955–63
- 22 Charlie Justice RB 1950–54
- 17 Billy Kilmer QB 1971–78
- 14 Eddie LeBaron QB 1952–59
- Vince Lombardi, head coach 1969 (in Hall of Fame for coaching with Packers)
- 23 Brig Owens SS 1966–77
- 65 Vince Promuto G 1960–70
- 87 Jerry Smith TE 1965–77
- 17 Doug Williams QB 1986–89
- Edward Bennett Williams, team owner 1962–85 (majority owner until 1974)
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.
Redskins Ring of Fame
When the Redskins moved out of RFK Stadium, the signs commemorating the Washington Hall of Stars were left behind and the team began a new tradition of honoring Redskins greats via the "Ring of Fame," a set of signs on the upper level facade at FedEx Field. Unlike the Hall of Stars, which honors historical greats from all sports, the Ring of Fame is limited to honoring Redskins greats. The following is a list of members of the Ring of Fame:
- George Allen, head coach, 1971–77
- Cliff Battles, RB, 1932–37
- Sammy Baugh, QB, 1937–52
- Gene Brito, DE, 1951–53, 1955–58
- Larry Brown, RB, 1969–76
- Dave Butz, DT, 1975–88
- Gary Clark, WR, 1985–92
- Jack Kent Cooke, Owner, 1961–97
- Bill Dudley, RB, 1950–51, 1953
- Wayne Curry, Prince George's County Executive, 1994–2002
- Pat Fischer, CB, 1968–77
- Joe Gibbs, head coach, 1981–92, 2004–07
- Darrell Green, CB, 1983–2002
- Russ Grimm, G, 1981–91
- Chris Hanburger, LB, 1965–78
- Ken Harvey, LB, 1994–98
- Len Hauss, C, 1964–77
- Phil Hochberg, PA announcer, 1963–2000
- Ken Houston, S, 1973–80
- Sam Huff, LB, 1964–67, 1969
- Joe Jacoby, T/G, 1981–93
- Dick James, RB, 1956–63
- Sonny Jurgensen, QB, 1964–74
- Charlie Justice, RB, 1950, 1952–54
- Billy Kilmer, QB, 1971–78
- Eddie LeBaron, QB, 1952–53, 1955–59
- Vince Lombardi, head coach, 1969
- Dexter Manley, DE, 1981–89
- Charles Mann, DE, 1983–93
- George Preston Marshall, team founder and owner, 1932–69
- Wayne Millner, E, 1936–41, 1945
- Bobby Mitchell, flanker, 1962–68
- Brian Mitchell, RB/KR, 1990–99
- Art Monk, WR, 1980–93
- Mark Moseley, PK, 1974–86
- Brig Owens, DB, 1966–77
- Vince Promuto, G, 1960–70
- John Riggins, RB, 1976–79, 1981–85
- Jerry Smith, TE, 1965–77
- Charley Taylor, WR, 1964–77
- Sean Taylor, S, 2004–07
- Joe Theismann, QB, 1974–85
- Lamar "Bubba" Tyer, head athletic trainer, 1971–2002, 2004–08
- Doug Williams, QB, 1986–89
The Redskins have played in 5 super bowls, going 3-2 during that span. They have faced the Dolphins twice, spliting the series. The have also played the Los Angeles Raiders (a 38-9 loss) the Denver Broncos, and the Buffalo Bills. Three Redskins players have been named MVP of the Super Bowl.
- John Riggins RB 44 Super Bowl XVII
- Doug Williams QB 17 Super Bowl XXII
- Mark Rypien QB 11 Super Bowl XXVI
The 70 Greatest Redskins
In honor of the Redskins' 70th anniversary, on June 13, 2002, a panel selected the 70 Greatest Redskins to honor the players and coaches who were significant on-field contributors to the Redskins five championships and rich history. They were honored in a weekend of festivities, including a special halftime ceremony during the Redskins' 26–21 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
The panel that chose the 70 consisted of former news anchor Bernard Shaw; former player Bobby Mitchell; Senator George Allen (son of coach George Allen); broadcaster Ken Beatrice; Noel Epstein, editor for the Washington Post; former diplomat Joseph J. Sisco; Phil Hochberg, who retired in 2001 after 38 years as team stadium announcer; Pro Football Hall of Fame historian Joe Horrigan; sportscaster George Michael; sports director Andy Pollin; NFL Films president Steven Sabol; and news anchor Jim Vance.
The list includes three head coaches and 67 players, of which 41 were offensive players, 23 defensive players and three special teams players.
Among the 70 Greatest, there are 92 Super Bowl appearances, with 47 going once and 45 playing in more than one. Twenty-nine members possess one Super Bowl ring and 26 have more than one. Also, before the Super Bowl, members of the 70 made 18 World Championship appearances including six that participated in the Redskins' NFL Championship victories in 1937 and 1942.
|George Allen||head coach||1971–77|
|Ray Flaherty||head coach||1936–42|
|Joe Gibbs||head coach||1981–92,04–07|
All-time first-round draft picks
- Main article: List of Washington Redskins first-round draft picks
Coaches of note
- Main article: List of Washington Redskins head coaches
Washington Commanders current staff
Special Teams coaches
Strength and Conditioning
Washington Commanders current roster
Rookies in italics
- Passing Yards: 4,109 Jay Schroeder (1986)
- Passing Touchdowns: 31 Sonny Jurgensen (1967)
- Rushing Yards: 1,516 Clinton Portis (2005)
- Receptions: 106 Art Monk (1984)
- Receiving Yards: 1,483 Santana Moss (2005)
- Pass Interceptions: 13 Dan Sandifer (1948)
- Field Goals Made: 33 Mark Moseley (1983)
- Points: 161 Mark Moseley (1983)
- Total Touchdowns: 24 John Riggins (1983)
- Punt Return Average(minimum 5 returns): 24.3 Derrick Shepard (1987)
- Kickoff Return Average(minimum 5 returns): 42.8 Hail Haynes (1950)
- Punting Average: 51.4* Sammy Baugh (1940)
* NFL Record
Redskins career records
- Passing Yards: 25,206 Joe Theismann (1974–1985)
- Passing Touchdowns: 187 Sammy Baugh (1937–1952)
- Rushing Yards: 7,472 John Riggins (1976–1979,1981–1985)
- Receptions: 889 Art Monk (1980–1993)
- Receiving Yards: 12,029 Art Monk (1980–1993)
- Pass Interceptions: 54 Darrell Green (1983–2002)
- Field Goals Made: 263 Mark Moseley (1974–1986)
- Points: 1,207 Mark Moseley (1974–1986)
- Total Touchdowns: 90 Charley Taylor (1964–1977)
- Punt Return Average (minimum 25 returns): 13.8.0 Bob Seymour (1941–1944) 
- Kickoff Return Average(minimum 25 returns): 28.5 Bobby Mitchell (1962–1968)
- Punting Average: 45.1 Sammy Baugh (1937–1952)
- Sacks: 97.5 Dexter Manley (1981–1989)
- The Washington Redskins have had two 14-win seasons, in 1983 and 1991. This is sixth place all-time.
- The Redskins scored 541 points in 1983, an NFL record that was surpassed by the 1998 Minnesota Vikings and again by the 2007 New England Patriots, which is still third all-time.
- The Redskins' 72 points against the New York Giants on November 27, 1966, are the most points ever scored by an NFL team in a regular season game, and the 72 to 41 score amounted to 113 points and the highest-scoring game ever in NFL history. The second-half scoring for the game amounted to 65 points, the second-highest point total for second-half scoring and the third-highest total scoring in any half in NFL history. The Redskins' ten touchdowns are the most by a team in a single game, and the 16 total touchdowns are the most combined for a game. The Redskins' nine PATs are the second most all-time for a single game, and the 14 combined PATs are the most ever in a game.
- The Redskins set a record for most first downs in a game with 39 in a game against Detroit on November 4, 1990. They also set a record by not allowing a single first down against the Giants on September 27, 1942.
- The Redskins have led the league in passing eight times: in 1938, 1940, 1944, 1947–48, 1967, 1974 and 1989. Only the San Diego Chargers have led more times. The Redskins led the league in completion percentage 11 times: in 1937, 1939–1940, 1942–45, 1947–48 and 1969–1970, second only to the San Francisco 49ers. Their four straight years from 1942–45 is the second longest streak.
- The Redskins' nine sacks allowed in 1991 are the third fewest allowed in a season.
- The Redskins completed 43 passes in an overtime win against Detroit on November 4, 1990, second most all-time.
- The Redskins have sold out every home game since 1958.
- The Redskins recovered eight opponent's fumbles against the St. Louis Cardinals on October 25, 1976, the most ever in one game.
- The Redskins' allowed 82 first downs in 1937, third fewest all-time.
- The Redskins have led the league in fewest total yards allowed five times, 1935–37, 1939, and 1946, which is the third most. Their three consecutive years from 1935-37 is an NFL record.
- The Redskins have led the league in fewest passing yards allowed seven times, in 1939, 1942, 1945, 1952–53, 1980, and 1985, second only to Green Bay (10).
- The Redskins had 61 defensive turnovers in 1983, the third most all-time. The turnover differential of +43 that year was the highest of all time.
- The Redskins had only 12 defensive turnovers in 2006, the fewest in a 16-game season and second all time. (The Baltimore Colts had 11 turnovers in the strike-shortened 1982 Season which lasted only 9 games.)
- The Redskins led the league in field goals for eight seasons, 1945, 1956, 1971, 1976-77, 1979, 1982, 1992. Only the Green Bay Packers have ever led more. Their 49 field goals attempted in 1971 is the most ever attempted in a single season.
- The Redskins and Bears attempted an NFL record 11 field goals on November 14, 1971, and the Redskins and Giants tied that mark on November 14, 1976.
- The Redskins 28 consecutive games, from 1988 to 1990, scoring a field goal is third all time.
- The Redskins have led the league in punting average six times, in 1940-43, 1945, and 1958, second only to the Denver Broncos. Their four consecutive years from 1940–43 is an NFL record.
- The Redskins have led the league in average kickoff return yards eight times, in 1942, 1947, 1962–63, 1973–74, 1981, and 1995, more than any other team.
- Main article: List of Washington Redskins broadcasters
Template:As of, the Redskins' flagship station is WTEM (ESPN 980), owned by Red Zebra Broadcasting, which in turn is owned by Snyder.
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 "Doc" Walker is the sideline reporter.
Telecasts of preseason games not shown on national networks are aired in HD exclusively on Comcast SportsNet in the overall Mid-Atlantic region. WRC-TV broadcasts preseason games in SD in the Washington, D.C. area. Comcast SportsNet also airs a pregame show and an extensive game recap program after each Redskins regular season Sunday game.
Superstition regarding US Presidential elections
- Main article: Redskins Rule
For 17 of the past 18 United States Presidential elections, a win for the Redskins' last home game prior to Election Day coincided with the incumbent party winning re-election. The exception was in 2004, when the Republican Party incumbent George W. Bush won re-election despite the Green Bay Packers beating the Redskins. Other than this exception, this "Redskins Rule" has proven true since 1936 when they won and incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt won re-election, prior to the Redskins' move from Boston in 1937.
In 2008, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Redskins on the eve of Election Day 23-6, and Barack Obama won the presidency the following evening.
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