History of the Washington Redskins

Phillip SmallCorrespondent IJanuary 7, 2008

Washington DC is the nation’s capital. Residents often refer it as "The Chocolate City" for its lavish night life. It is the home of the White House, go-go music, and of course football. 

D.C. is a strong football city and we love our team. The original franchise, the Boston Braves, finished with a 4-4-2 record in 1932 under then-coach Lud Wray. From 1933 to 1936, the franchise was known as the Boston Redskins. Coach Ray Flaherty’s successful reign lasted until 1942, after appearing in four league championships. He led the team to two championship victories in 1937 and 1942. 

George Preston Marshall founded the Washington Redskins in 1937. Marshall bought the then Boston Braves NFL franchise in 1932 and named it after the city’s Major League Baseball team. After financially devastating ticket sales in 1932, he abandoned the Braves name in favor of the Redskins. The Redskins name was retained when the team was moved to Washington in 1937.

There have been several controversies surrounding the name Redskins. Some Native American groups have called for a new name and some newspapers in the United States have refused to call the team by their name, instead using such circumlocutions as "The Washington football team."  This is not the first racial controversy the team has been involved in. George Preston Marshall resisted integrating the team, which had no black players from its inception through 1961.  

Before FedEx Field, Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, known as RFK, located on East Capitol Street in the northeast end of the city, is where most of the historical games were played. The stadium was originally built in 1961 and it seated 50,000.  The team hired the great Vince Lombardi to coach the 1969-70 seasons. He died of cancer after the season. Owner and President George Preston Marshall also died. 

George Allen coached from 1971-77 and was known as the coach of the “over the hill gang.” The 70's were successful for the team as they appeared in four divisional playoff games and one Superbowl.    

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Although the players are not all in the Hall of Fame, the Redskins have had some very successful athletes that catapulted the team to greatness. Running back Larry Brown became the team’s first 1,000 yard rusher in 1972. Sammy Baugh, Sonny Jurgensen, and Joe Theismann are three of the greatest quarterbacks in Washington Redskins franchise history. Mark Rypien and Doug Williams led the team to Superbowl victories. Williams is the first black quarterback to win Superbowl Most Valuable Player award.

The balanced attack of run, pass, and defense is the engine behind the philosophy and success of the team. Hall of Fame linebacker Sam Huff, safety Ken Houston, and Dave Butz led defensive teams that stopped opposing offensives schemes. Art Monk, Gary Clark, and Charlie Taylor are three of the players who epitomize a Redskin receiver. They are all class acts, tough, and never afraid to catch a ball over the middle of the field. 

Led by an offensive line called "the Hogs,” the running game has always been the key to the offensive attack. The best running back in franchise history is without question John Riggins. His bruising style simply ran over defenders. He had 166 yards on 38 carries and a touchdown in Superbowl XVII. Coach Joe Gibbs was hired in 1982 and won three Superbowls in 1982, 1987, and 1991. He led the team to eight playoff appearances in 12 seasons.

Before FedEx Field, Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, known as RFK, located on East Capitol Street in the northeast end of the city, is where most of the historical games were played. The stadium was originally built in 1961 and it seated 50,000. 

Jack Kent Cooke purchased the team in 1974 and owned it until his death in 1997. His sons sold the team to New York investment banker Daniel Snyder in 1999. 

After a few subpar seasons with coaches Norv Turner, Marty Schottenheimer, and Steve Spurrier, Daniel Snyder brought back Joe Gibbs. His first season was filled with conservative play and bad decisions. He was coaching as if it were the 90's.

The current season has been filled with ups and downs highlighted by the death of All-Pro safety Sean Taylor. His death was not about wins or losses but about a man that was killed in the privacy of his own home. Taylor did what any husband, father, or man would do in that situation—protect his home and family. He was without a doubt the best and most-feared safety in professional football this season.

No matter what happens at the end, to be able to come back and play at this level is a winning season!


slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!