Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins
Current season
Established 1932 (1932)
First season: 1932
Play in FedExField
Landover, Maryland
Headquartered in Inova Sports Performance Center At Redskins Park
Ashburn, Virginia
Training camp in Richmond, Virginia
League/conference affiliations

National Football League (1932present)

  • Eastern Division (1933–1949)
  • American Conference (1950–1952)
  • Eastern Conference (1953–1969)
    • Capitol Division (1967–1969)
  • National Football Conference (1970–present)
Current uniform
Team colors

Burgundy, Gold, White

Fight song Hail to the Redskins
Owner(s) Daniel Snyder[lower-alpha 1]
President Bruce Allen
General manager Scot McCloughan
Head coach Jay Gruden
Team history
  • Boston Braves (1932)
  • Boston Redskins (1933–1936)
  • Washington Redskins (1937present)
Team nicknames
  • The Skins
  • The Burgundy and Gold

League championships (5)

Conference championships (5)

Division championships (14)

Playoff appearances (24)
Home fields

In Boston, Massachusetts

In Washington, D.C.

Former name(s):
D.C. Stadium (1961–1968)

In Landover, Maryland

Former name(s):
Jack Kent Cooke Stadium (1997–1999)

The Washington Redskins are a professional American football team based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The Redskins compete in the National Football League (NFL), as a member of the National Football Conference (NFC) East division. The team plays its home games at FedExField in Landover, Maryland; its headquarters and training facility are at Inova Sports Performance Center At Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia, and the Redskins Complex in Richmond, Virginia, respectively. The Redskins have played more than 1,000 games since 1932, and are one of only five franchises in the NFL to record over 600 regular season and postseason wins, reaching that mark in 2015.[2] The Redskins have won five NFL Championships (two pre-merger, and three Super Bowls). The franchise has captured 14 NFL divisional titles and six NFL conference championships.[3] The Redskins were the first team in the NFL with an official marching band, and also the first team to have a fight song, "Hail to the Redskins".[4]

The team began play as the Boston Braves in 1932, based in Boston, before relocating to Washington, D.C., in 1937. 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 24 postseason appearances, and have an overall postseason record of 23–18. The Redskins' three Super Bowl wins are tied with the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (six), San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys (five each), and the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and New England Patriots (four each).[5]

All of the Redskins' league titles were attained during two 10-year spans. From 1936 to 1945, the Redskins went to the NFL Championship six times, winning two of them.[6] 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.[6] The Redskins have also experienced failure in their history. The most notable period of general failure was from 1946 to 1970, during which the Redskins posted only four winning seasons and did not have a single postseason appearance.[3] During this period, the Redskins went without a single winning season during the years 19561968.[3] In 1961, the franchise posted their worst regular season record with a 1–12–1 showing.[3] Since 1992, the Redskins have only won the NFC East three times, made five postseason appearances, and had seven seasons with a winning record.

According to Forbes, the Redskins are the third most valuable franchise in the NFL, behind the Cowboys and Patriots, and are the eighth most valuable sports club in the world as of 2016, valued at approximately $2.85 billion.[7] They also set the NFL record for single-season attendance in 2007 and have the top ten single-season attendance totals in the NFL.[8]


The team name and logo have been the subject of controversy, with lawsuits being filed by Native American groups who consider the team name and logo offensive. Polls conducted in the 2010s have shown a lack of major support among fans for a name change.[9][10]

Franchise history

Origins and early years (1932–1945)

The team originated as the Boston Braves, based in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1932, under the ownership of George Preston Marshall. At the time the team played in Braves Field, home of the Boston Braves baseball team. The following year the club moved to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, whereupon owners changed the team's name to the Boston Redskins. To round out the change, Marshall hired William "Lone Star" Dietz, who was part Sioux, as the team's head coach.[11] However, Boston wasn't much of a football town at the time and the team had difficulty drawing fans.

The Redskins relocated to Washington, D.C. in 1937. In their early years in Washington, the Redskins shared Griffith Stadium with the Washington Senators baseball team.[12] The Redskins played and won their first game in Washington, D.C. on September 16, 1937, a victory against the Giants, 13–3.[13] On December 5, 1937, they earned their first division title in Washington against the Giants, 49–14, for the Eastern Championship.[13] 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.[13] The Redskins then met the Bears again in the 1940 NFL Championship Game on December 8, 1940.[14] The result, 73–0 in favor of the Bears, is still the worst one-sided loss in NFL history.[14] 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.[15]

Max Krause was a running back for the Redskins from 1937 to 1940

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.[14] The final time the two met was the 1943 NFL Championship Game on December 26, 1943, during which the Bears won, 41–21.[14] The most notable accomplishment achieved during the Redskins' 1943 season was Sammy Baugh leading the NFL in passing, punting, and interceptions.[16]

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.[17] They ended the season by losing to the Cleveland Rams in the 1945 NFL Championship Game on December 16, 1945, 15–14.[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".[18]

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.[19] 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 American Oil Company planned to televise all Redskins games, making Washington the first NFL team to have an entire season of televised games.[6][20] His next major change came in February 1952, when he hired former Green Bay Packers coach Earl "Curly" Lambeau.[20] But, after two seasons, Marshall fired Lambeau following the Redskins loss in their exhibition opener to the Los Angeles Rams and hired Joe Kuharich.[20] 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.[21]

In 1961, the Redskins moved into their new stadium called D.C. Stadium (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.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24]

One reason for the team's struggles was disarray in the front office. Marshall 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,[22] 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.[25] 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 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.[26] Lombardi led the team to a 7–5–2 record,[19] their best since 1955, but died of cancer on the eve of the 1970 season.[26] Assistant coach Bill Austin was chosen to replace Lombardi during 1970, and he finished with a record of 6–8.[19]

Integration controversy

During most of this unsuccessful period, Marshall continually refused to integrate the team, despite pressure from The Washington Post and the federal government.[27] 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.[28] 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 was 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.[28] 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.[28] 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.[28][29] 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.[28] The Redskins ended the 1962 season with their best record in five years: 5–7–2. Mitchell led the league with 11 touchdowns, and caught 72 passes and was selected to the Pro Bowl. In time, Mitchell would be joined by black stars like receiver Charley Taylor, running back Larry Brown, defensive back Brig Owens, and guard John Nisby from the Pittsburgh Steelers.[28]

George Allen's revival (1971–1980)

Former U.S. President Richard Nixon meeting with the Redskins, November 23, 1971.

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.[30] Partial to seasoned veterans instead of highly touted young players, Allen's teams became known as the Over-the-Hill Gang.[31] That season, the Redskins made the playoffs for the first time since 1945 with a 9–4–1 mark[19] with Redskins first year head coach George Allen winning the 1971 NFL Coach of the Year Award, the second of his career, winning his first Coach of the Year Award in 1967 as the head coach of the Rams. However, they lost in the Divisional Playoffs to the San Francisco 49ers, 24–20.[30] The following season, the Redskins hosted their first post-season game in Washington since 1942, where they beat the Green Bay Packers 16–3 in the NFC Divisional Playoffs.[14] The Redskins reached the NFC Championship Game, and in a much anticipated match-up against the archrival Dallas Cowboys, the Redskins would not disappoint. The Redskins placekicker Curt Knight kicked an 18-yard field goal in the second quarter to get the scoring underway, then Redskins quarterback Billy Kilmer connected with Redskins wide receiver Charley Taylor on a 15-yard touchdown pass and Washington had a 10–3 lead at halftime. In the fourth quarter, Kilmer again went to Taylor, this time for a 45-yard touchdown. Knight added three more field goals that period and The Over-The-Hill-Gang defense allowed only a second-quarter field goal. The final score was Washington 26, Dallas 3. After defeating the Dallas Cowboys to win the NFC Championship, the Redskins went on to lose to the undefeated Miami Dolphins 14–7 in Super Bowl VII.[30] Redskins running back Larry Brown would be named the 1972 NFL's Most Valuable Player.

The Redskins playing against the Miami Dolphins 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.[30] After his Redskins failed to make the playoffs in 1977 despite posting a 9–5 record,[19] Allen was fired and was replaced by new head coach Jack Pardee, a star linebacker under Allen in Los Angeles and Washington.[19] 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.[25]

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.[19] 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.[19] He did, however, draft Art Monk in the first-round.

Joe 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.[32] 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 11 games and finished the season 8–8.[32] Starting on September 21, 1982,[32] the NFL faced a 57-day long players' strike, which reduced the 1982 season from a 16-game schedule to a nine-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.[19]

John Riggins (left) and Mark Murphy (right) made key offensive and defensive plays in Super Bowl XVII, respectively, to help the Redskins win their first Super Bowl.

On January 15, 1983, during the second round of the playoffs against the Minnesota Vikings, John Riggins rushed for a Redskins playoff record 185 yards, leading Washington to a 21–7 win and a place in the NFC Championship Game against Dallas. Jan. 22, 1983, NFC Championship Game at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, prior to the game the stadium physically shook as a capacity crowd of 54,000 chanted "We Want Dallas!" The game is best remembered for the quarterback hit by Redskins defensive end Dexter Manley that knocked Cowboys' quarterback Danny White out for the rest of the game and sent him into the locker room shortly before halftime, and Redskins defensive tackle Darryl Grant's interception which he returned for a 10-yard touchdown off one of Cowboys' backup quarterback Gary Hogeboom's passes which was tipped by Dexter Manley to score the decisive points. John Riggins rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries and the Redskins went on to defeat the Cowboys' by a score of 31–17.[32] 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.[14] 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.[33] Riggins instead gained 43 yards (39 m) by running through would-be tackler Don McNeal and getting the go-ahead touchdown. The Redskins ended up winning by a 27–17 score with John Riggins winning the Super Bowl MVP.

After the 1982 season Redskins placekicker Mark Moseley was the first and only placekicker in NFL history to be named the NFL's Most Valuable Player; Moseley made 20 of 21 field goals attempted in 1982. Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs also won his first NFL Coach of the Year Award in 1982 which was the first of his back to back NFL Coach of the Year Awards, his second coming in the 1983 NFL season.

The 1983 season marked the rookie debut of cornerback Darrell Green, selected in the 1983 NFL Draft along with Charles Mann, Green would go on to play his entire 20-year NFL career for the Redskins. 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 1,000 yards (910 m) of total offense.[32] 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.[32] They dominated the NFL with a 14-win season which included scoring a then NFL record 541 points,[34] many of which came from Riggins, who scored 24 touchdowns. Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann would also be named the 1983 NFL's Most Valuable Player finishing the season with a career high in both yards passing 3,714 yds., and touchdown passes thrown, 29 Td's while throwing only 11 interceptions. In the postseason, the Redskins beat the Los Angeles Rams 51–7.[14] The next week, Washington beat the San Francisco 49ers 24–21 in the NFC Championship Game.[14] It was their final win of the season because two weeks later, the Raiders beat the Redskins 38–9 in Super Bowl XVIII.[14]

Joe Theismann at Redskins training camp in 1983

The Redskins finished the 1984 season with an 11–5 record,[19] and won the NFC East for the third consecutive season.[32] However, they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Chicago Bears, 23–19.[14] 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.[32] The Redskins finished 3rd in the NFC East behind the Cowboys and missed the wild card to the Giants by virtue of tiebreakers.

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, also the Redskins defensive end Dexter Manley set a franchise single season record when he recorded 18.5 sacks while earning 1st Team All-Pro honors and being selected to the Pro bowl. In 1986 season, 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.[19] 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.[32] The season ended next week, however, when the Redskins lost to the eventual Super Bowl XXI Champion Giants 17–0 in the NFC Championship game.[14][32]

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.[35] 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[14] 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 and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. 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 while also winning the games Super Bowl MVP award.[36] Rookie running back Timmy Smith had a great performance as well, running for a Super Bowl record 204 yards (187 m).[36]

1988 started off with a boom and the club had a 5–3 record at mid-season, but a 2nd half swoon saw them miss the playoffs with a 7–9 record.

The 1989 Redskins finished with a 10–6 record but missed the playoffs. That season is best remembered for the Redskins prolific wide receiver trio nicknamed "The Posse" consisting of wide receivers Art Monk, Gary Clark, and Ricky Sanders who became the first trio of wide receivers in NFL history to post 1,000-plus yards in the same season. Also, in a week 14 victory against the San Diego Chargers, Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs achieved career victory no. 100.

The Redskins returned to the playoffs in 1990 as a wild card team, lost in the Divisional playoffs to the 49ers, 28–10.[14]

The 1991 season started with a franchise-record 11 straight victories.[37] Also during the season, "The Hogs",[37] under the coaching of Redskins offensive line coach Joe Bugel, allowed a league low and franchise record nine sacks – the third lowest total in NFL history. The 1991 Redskins offense also dominated under the brilliant coaching of offensive minded head football coach Joe Gibbs scoring 485 points which was the most by any team in the 1991 NFL season. The 1991 Redskins defense was also dominant under the coaching of defensive coordinator and guru Richie Petitbon, giving up only 224 total points which was second best of any team in the NFL in 1991, while also not allowing a single point to opponents in 3 of the 16 games played that season. 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.[14] On January 26, 1992, the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI by defeating the Buffalo Bills 37–24[14] with Mark Rypien winning the games Super Bowl MVP award. After the Super Bowl, the Redskins set another franchise record by sending eight players to the Pro Bowl.[37] The 1991 Washington Redskins are widely considered one of the best teams in NFL history.

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.[14] 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.[37] The era ended on March 5, 1993, when Joe Gibbs retired after 12 years of coaching with the Redskins.[37] In what proved to be a temporary retirement, Gibbs pursued an interest in NASCAR by founding Joe Gibbs Racing.[38]

End of RFK and Cooke ownership (1993–1998)

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.[19] 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.[37] 1994 was even worse as they finished 3–13, their worst season in over 30 years. Their sole bright spot that year came 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).[37] They improved to 6–10 in 1995 where they were able to get a season sweep on the eventual Super Bowl XXX Champions the Dallas Cowboys. 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 FedExField).[37] The 1996 season saw Washington post their first winning record in 4 years by finishing 9–7. 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.[37]

On April 6, 1997, Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke died of congestive heart failure at the age of 84.[37] 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 would be named Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.[37] On September 14, 1997, the Redskins played in their new stadium for the first time, and beat the Arizona Cardinals, 19–13 in overtime.[37] 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. They would finish 1997 8–7–1 and would miss 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 record for games played.[37]

The 1998 season started with a seven-game losing streak,[39] and the Redskins finished with a 6–10 record.

Daniel Snyder ownership era (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,[37] a deal that was the most expensive team-purchasing deal in sporting history.[40] 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 FedExField.[37]

In Snyder's first season as owner, the Redskins went 10–6,[19] including a four-game winning streak early in the season,[41] 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 then club-record 1,405 yards (1,285 m) and quarterback Brad Johnson completed a then club-record 316 passes and threw for more than 4,000 yards (3,700 m) in regular play that season.[42] 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.[43] However, they ended up going 7–6, and on December 4, 2000, Norv Turner was fired as head coach.[42] Terry Robiskie was named interim coach to finish out the season,[42] which ended with an 8–8 record.[19] 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.[42]

Marty Schottenheimer era (2001)

On January 3, 2001, the Redskins hired former Browns and Chiefs head coach Marty Schottenheimer as head coach.[42] 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.[42] They finished the season with an 8–8 record[19] and Schottenheimer was fired after the final game. Snyder later said in a 2013 interview on the firing of Schottenheimer, "I like Marty and still do to this day, we are good friends, he'd still be here if he didn't want to do it all. He was insistent on doing it all, that was something that I don't think works, one guy can't do everything, he was a machine on that front. He wouldn't drop the personnel side and give us a chance at more of a team energy."[44]

Steve Spurrier era (2002–2003)


On January 14, 2002, Snyder hired University of Florida coach Steve Spurrier,[42] the Redskins' fifth new head coach in 10 years. They finished with a 7–9 record, their first losing season since 1998.[19] 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 FedExField. During his 20 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).[42]


The Redskins finished the 2003 season with a 5–11 record, their worst since 1994.[19] 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).[42] 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.[45] Snyder also expanded FedExField to a league-high capacity of 91,665 seats. Gibbs' return to the franchise did not pay instant dividends as the Redskins finished the 2004 season with a record of 6–10.

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' 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' first season.

Redskins on the field in 2005

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. The Monday Night Football game would go down as one of the greatest comebacks in Redskins history. Trailing 13 to 0 with 3:46 left in the game and facing a 4th down with 15 yards to go at the Dallas 39-yard line, QB Mark Brunell hit WR Santana Moss in the end zone with a pass to cut the lead to 13 to 7 after the PAT. After Dallas would go three and out on their next possession, The Redskins got the ball back at their 30-yard line. On the next play, Mark Brunell hit Santana Moss again and he went untouched into the endzone for their second touchdown, a 70-yard bomb. The Redskins led 14 to 13 and held off Dallas' last drive to preserve the come-from-behind win.

The Redskins 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,[14] 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,[14] 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.

Chris Cooley was a starting tight end for the Redskins in the 2000s
Redskins' safety Sean Taylor during practice

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 by Troy Vincent 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.

Redskins' running back Clinton Portis, 2007.
The Redskins gather at the line of scrimmage against the New York Giants

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.[46] 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 Washington 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.

Jim Zorn era (2008–2009)

Quarterback Jason Campbell played for the Redskins from 2005–2009

The Washington Redskins looked to return to the playoffs in 2008 but did not succeed, 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, things turned for the worse on the eve of the 2008 Presidential Election, when they were 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 during that six-week period being a 3-point victory of the then-2–8 Seattle Seahawks, who were at that point 3–11. The Redskins managed to upset the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16, but were eliminated from playoff contention after the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Minnesota Vikings 24–17 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.


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 in the first round, drafted defensive end Brian Orakpo out of Texas. Orakpo was dominant in his senior season (2008) with the Texas Longhorns winning multiple prestigious awards including the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Ted Hendricks Award, Lombardi Award, and The Bill Willis Trophy, the Redskins hadn't had a pass rushing force like Orakpo since Dexter Manley and Charles Mann donned the burgundy & gold. Orakpo would go on to finish his rookie season with 50 combined tackles, 11 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 passes defensed, and 4 run stuffs. Orakpo's highlight game would come on December thirteenth against the Oakland Raiders, Orakpo recorded 6 combined tackles, 4 sacks, and 1 forced fumble earning him the NFC Defensive Player of the Week Award for his efforts, he also was selected to his first Pro Bowl. The Redskins 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. While at the time it was stated in the press that Cerrato resigned, in a January 2013 interview with The Washington Post, Snyder stated he had in fact fired Cerrato for allowing him to hire the unqualified Jim Zorn as the head coach.[44] 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.

Mike Shanahan era (2010–2013)


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 the team's offensive coordinator, and ex-NFL head coach Jim Haslett for the defensive coordinator position.[47] 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.[48] Ahead of free agency, General Manager Bruce Allen released 10 players, including notables such as Antwaan Randle El and Fred Smoot.[49]

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, did not attend off-season team activities or mandatory minicamp. Shanahan refused to let Haynesworth practice at preseason camp until he passed a fitness test. Haynesworth was unable to pass this test for several weeks, during which the divide between him and Shanahan grew deeper. 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 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.[50] On October 24, 2010, DeAngelo Hall recorded 4 interceptions in a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, tying former Redskin Sammy Baugh with a team single-game pass interception record. The Redskins went on to win the game 17–14 and earned Hall a Pro-Bowl spot with his performance.

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 would finish the season with a 6–10 record.

Redskins training camp, 2011

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. 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. The Redskins then traded troubled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to the New England Patriots for a 5th-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Redskins then traded Quarterback Donovan McNabb to The Minnesota Vikings for two 6th round draft picks. The Redskins chose not to re-sign their 2005 first round draft pick Carlos Rogers, who later signed with the San Francisco 49ers.

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. Kerrigan won the The Bill Willis Trophy his senior season (2010) while also becoming the Big Ten Conferences all-time leader in forced fumbles with 14, which also tied the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) career record of 14 forced fumbles. Kerrigan was also awarded Purdue's "Pit Bull Award" in 2009, which was given to the player that exemplified and displayed tenacity and tough play. During his rookie season with Washington, Kerrigan would go on to record 63 combined tackles, 7.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 4 passes defensed, 4 run stuffs, and 1 interception that he returned for a 9-yard touchdown in week 1 against the Redskins NFC East division rival New York Giants. During the 2011 NFL season, Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan along with fellow Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo earned the nickname KERRAKPO for being the Redskins dynamic pass rushing duo, of which the likes the Redskins had not had since the pass rushing duo of Dexter Manley and Charles Mann during the 1980s. The Washington Redskins also 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 University 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.

Will Montgomery (right) with back-up Erik Cook at Redskins training camp in 2011

In the 3rd preseason game against the Ravens, Jenkins tore his ACL in the 1st quarter, resulting in an end to his promising rookie season.

On September 4, 2011 after final roster cuts were made, The Redskins kept 8 out of the 12 picks they drafted, sending Jarvis Jenkins to the IR, and 3 picks to the practice squad, meaning that all 12 draft picks are still in The Redskins' organization.

On the 10th Anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks which impacted both the cities of New York and Washington, D.C., the Redskins won their season opener, 28–14, at FedExField against the New York Giants. The game also featured an interception for a touchdown by 2011 first round draft pick Ryan Kerrigan against quarterback Eli Manning of the Giants.

During Week 6, quarterback Rex Grossman was benched in favor of backup John Beck after throwing four interceptions. John Beck was then given the nod by Coach Mike Shanahan to start the following week. Beck started the next three games going 0–3, and was finally benched after Shanahan realized that while Beck's mobility was exceptional and superior to Grossman's, he did not have the range of Grossman. Running back Tim Hightower played well starting in five of the Redskins' six games, in which he rushed for 321 yards on 84 carries with two total touchdowns, Hightower was placed on injured reserve due to a torn ACL. Afterward, Coach Shanahan began splitting reps between RB Ryan Torain and rookie RB Roy Helu. Torain showed inconsistency throughout the season, despite a good start against the Rams which he rushed for over 100 yards and 1 touchdown. On November 6, 2011 in his first career start, Helu broke the Redskins all-time record for receptions in a game with 14 catches, in a loss against the San Francisco 49ers. On November 27, 2011, Helu rushed for a Redskins rookie-record 108 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks' top-ten ranked run defense. He was then named the full-time starter by Coach Shanahan, and responded with three consecutive 100 yard performances. Following his 126-yard performance against the New England Patriots, Helu led all active rookies in rush yards. His streak of three consecutive 100 yard games is the most by any Redskins rookie in franchise history; a record he was unable to extend to four games due to an injury he sustained. During Week 16 against the Vikings rookie RB Evan Royster made his first career start rushing for 132 yards on 19 carries while Helu was nursing an injured knee and toe. After week 13 the Redskins were informed that starting TE Fred Davis and LT Trent Willams would be suspended for the rest of the season for failing consecutive drug tests. On December 27 RB Ryan Torain was released and the Redskins activated WR Aldrick Robinson, their 6th pick, from the practice squad making 11 of the Redskins 2011 draft picks on the 53-man roster (the only one who did not make it was 2nd round pick DE Jarvis Jenkins who was placed on IR during the preseason). The Redskins finished the season at 5–11, which was the worst season recorded for Coach Shanahan.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III won the league's Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2012, while also leading the team to their first division title since 1999.

The long-awaited arrival of the practice bubble at Redskins Park was completed in early 2012.[51] Former Redskins defensive end, Phillip Daniels, was hired as the new Director of Player Development on February 17, 2012. On March 2, 2012 the Redskins announced that they had placed a franchise tag on Fred Davis. On March 9, 2012, the Redskins agreed in principle to trade their first round (#6 overall) and second round (#39 overall) picks in the 2012 NFL Draft, as well as their first-round picks in the 2013 (#22 overall) and 2014 (#2 overall) NFL Drafts, to the St. Louis Rams for their second overall draft pick in 2012. They proceeded to select Robert Griffin III, after the Indianapolis Colts selected Andrew Luck from Stanford University with the 1st overall pick. Griffin III would go on to complete 65.6% of his passes for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions while also having a 102.4 passer rating which would be the highest rookie QB passer rating in NFL history. Griffin III also rushed for 815 yards and 7 touchdowns becoming only the sixth quarterback in NFL history to rush for at least 800 yards, he also won the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award for his outstanding play and was selected to his first Pro Bowl, but did not participate due to injury. On March 12, 2012, the NFL commission fined the Redskins $36 million in cap space over two years because of the organization's approach to structuring contracts in the 2010 NFL season, when there was no salary cap.[52] On March 26, 2012, the Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys, who were penalized $10 million in cap space, filed a grievance against NFL and the NFLPA to attempt to overturn their cap space penalties.[53] The joint grievance was dismissed on May 22, 2012.[54]

Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan were the first two free agents signings that the Redskins made for the 2012 season. Veteran kicker Neil Rackers was also signed to compete with inconsistent starter, Graham Gano. The team re-signed defensive co-captain, London Fletcher, to a five-year deal that expires in two. The Redskins also proceeded to re-sign last season's starters, Tim Hightower, Will Montgomery, Adam Carriker, and Kory Lichtensteiger during the offseason. They decided to not re-sign LaRon Landry, making him the third player who was a first-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins to leave the team since the Shanahan administration; the first being Campbell (via trade) and the second being Rogers (via free agency). Landry would later sign a one-year deal with the New York Jets.

The Redskins released veteran fullback, Mike Sellers, and last season's starters, Oshiomogho Atogwe and Jabar Gaffney. Despite being the team's leader in receiving yards, Gaffney was cut after the team failed to trade him. His leaving of the team was expected due to the additions of free agent wide receivers, Garçon and Morgan, and the expectancy of second-year receiver, Leonard Hankerson, to emerge as a threat for the 2012 season. The most surprising release of the season was starting tight end, Chris Cooley, on August 28, 2012. But to the delight of many fans, Cooley was re-signed by the team in October following an injury to Fred Davis.[55]

Running back Alfred Morris was drafted by the Redskins in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Following an impressive preseason, he was given the starting job. In an important game against the New York Giants on December 3, 2012, Morris became only the second rookie in Redskins history to gain 1,000 rushing yards in a season, ultimately finishing the regular season with 1,613 rushing yards which would be a Redskins single season rushing record, and the second most rushing yards in the league in 2012 only behind Adrian Peterson.[56]

Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo tore his left Pectoral muscle in a Week 2 game against the St. Louis Rams, on a play in which he had a sack and forced fumble. It was the same muscle he injured the previous season in the final game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Head coach Mike Shanahan confirmed the next day that Orakpo would have surgery and miss the remainder of the season and be placed on the injured reserve list. Orakpo's injury highlighted a slew of injuries suffered by the Redskins in 2012.

The Redskins would go on to make the 2012–13 NFL playoffs after winning their final seven games of the season en route to winning their division championship for the 13th time in franchise history, including defeating the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day by a score of 38–31, this marked the first time the Redskins had won at Cowboys Stadium as well as the first time Washington had defeated the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, previously 0–5 to their archrival on Thanksgiving Day. RGIII completed 19 of 27 passes for 304 yards and had 4 touchdown passes and 1 interception on his way to winning the Galloping Gobbler Award issued to the player deemed to have had the best performance in the game. Alfred Morris also had 113 yards rushing on 24 carries and 1 touchdown while the Redskins defense intercepted two passes from Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and sacked him a total of three times. Then in the last game of the 2012 NFL season the Redskins met the Cowboys in a huge game in prime time on NBC Sunday Night Football at FedEx Field in a matchup that was to decide the winner of the NFC East division with the winner advancing to the playoffs and the loser missing the playoffs. The Redskins would not disappoint the home crowd and put on a show winning the game 28–18 behind a spectacular performance by Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris who rushed for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns on 33 carries, while the Redskins offensive line only gave up one sack the entire game and held Cowboys defensive stalwart DeMarcus Ware, who was playing with a hurt shoulder and elbow, to 0 sacks and just one assisted tackle. The Redskins defense, led by London Fletcher's 11 total tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 pass defensed, confused and rattled Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo all game long. The Redskins defense had 2 sacks and 3 interceptions in the game with the final one being the most costly, with Dallas trailing 21–18 late in the fourth quarter from the Cowboys own 29-yard line, Romo threw a pass to the flat intended for Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray which was intercepted by Redskins outside linebacker Rob Jackson who was pretending he was going to blitz on the play but at the last second dropped into coverage fooling Tony Romo to make the game changing interception on a play designed by Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, propelling the Redskins to their first playoff appearance since 2007 and their first NFC East title since 1999.

The Redskins would go on to face the Seattle Seahawks in the wild card round of the 2012–2013 NFL playoffs. The Redskins quickly jumped out to a 14–0 lead on the Seahawks in the first quarter but Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III would tweak a previous knee injury he got against the Baltimore Ravens earlier in the season while scrambling to pick up a first down, he was hit by the Ravens 350 lb. defensive tackle Haloti Ngata causing his knee to bend awkwardly and spraining his LCL. Griffin III would try his best though to lead his team to victory and stayed in the game and played through the pain, although he was not very effective he showed courage up to the moment on a bobbled snap, his knee gave out from underneath him and he tore his LCL and ACL. The loss of RGIII proved to be too much for the Redskins to overcome, and eventually succumbed to the Seahawks 24–14. Griffin III had surgery on January 9, 2013 performed by Dr. James Andrews and both his LCL and ACL were repaired. Griffin then vowed to return better than ever for the Redskins 2013 season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Prince George's County and D.C. officials were reportedly making a play to lure the Redskins back to their respective areas for training camp at either RFK Stadium or Bowie State University.[57] However, the Redskins eventually chose to relocate their summer training camp to Richmond, Virginia.[58]


After winning the NFC East in the previous season, hopes were high for a repeat in 2013. However, these hopes were in vain, as poor play and controversy stirred during the entire year, leading to the disastrous record of 3–13. This was the worst record the Redskins have posted since 1994. Even though most players had a down year compared to last season, Pierre Garcon had his greatest season statistically yet. Garcon eventually broke Art Monk's 29-year-old franchise record for catches in a single season. Garcon had 113 catches total, which broke Monk's 106 catches in 1984 by seven.[59]

The Washington Redskins fired Shanahan and most of his staff on December 30, 2013.[60]

Jay Gruden era (2014–present)


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.[61] 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.[62]

Quarterback Kirk Cousins after the comeback victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015, the biggest in franchise history

In August 2014, team owner Daniel Snyder made public his desire of getting the team a new stadium, which would eventually replace FedEx Field, the home for the team for nearly 20 seasons. While the location has yet to be decided, Snyder indicated the possibility of building a domed stadium at the site of the old RFK Stadium in the district itself, but also stated that other sites in Maryland and Virginia were a possibility as well. Early plans have included making the stadium and fan experience more nostalgic, akin to the days at RFK Stadium, where the team spent over 30 years. Snyder also stated his desire for the area to host a Super Bowl as a contributing factor behind his push for a new stadium.[63]


On January 7, 2015, the Redskins hired Scot McCloughan to be their general manager.[64] 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.[65]

The Redskins clinched the NFC East division title on December 26, when they beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16, 38–24.[66] 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.[67]

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.[68]


On March 11, 2016, the Redskins announced that they had hired Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group to begin work on a new stadium.[69]

Logos and uniforms

Redskins primary logo (1982). This "tucked feather" version came about as a result of the decals not properly sticking to the helmets at the lower juncture of the feathers and the outer circle. The following year, the decal manufacturer started using a more flexible material, and the team reverted to the "hanging feather" version of the logo.

The Washington Redskins' primary colors are burgundy and gold.[70][71] 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 Miami Dolphins). 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 jerseys 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 worn on the road against other teams that like to wear white at home for games occurring early in the 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.[72][73] 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, even wearing a white throwback jersey in 2007.

Redskins primary logo (1965–69)

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.

Redskins 75th anniversary uniform (2007) with logo used from 1970–1971.

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 gold-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 of the 1969 season.) Vince Lombardi, who coached the Redskins in 1969 before dying 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.[74] 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 1980s and 1990s, 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 George Allen, the late father of then GM Bruce Allen, which had last been seen in the game vs. the Giants in 2007.[75][76] In 2010, the team wore burgundy jerseys for all regular season home games, including six total sporting the aforementioned 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.

In 2011, they would wear the burgundy jersey/gold pants look for five home games and a road game at Dallas, the burgundy jersey/white pants look for three home games and a road game at Miami, the white jersey/burgundy pants look for five road games, and the white jersey/gold pants look for a Bills game in Toronto.

In 2012, the team would wear an updated throwback uniform of the 1937 team in a loss versus the Carolina Panthers on November 4, in honor of Sammy Baugh's rookie season, and the team's championship season.[77][78] Due to NFL rules that limits the number of pants worn to three, combined with the popularity of the gold throwback pants, the Redskins quietly dropped the burgundy pants.

Although a recent NFL rule implemented in 2013 that states teams may not wear alternate helmets on account of player safety, the Redskins would again wear the 1937 throwbacks with the sticker removed from the regular helmet in an overtime win versus the San Diego Chargers on November 3.[79] That year would also see the team remove its burgundy collar from their white jersey, in order to have better consistency with the new Nike uniforms that debuted the previous season.[80]

For 2014, the team dropped their white pants and for the next two seasons wore the gold pants full-time with their standard uniforms. In 2016, the burgundy pants returned as part of the team's away uniform.[81]

Controversy regarding the name and logo

The name and logo of the Washington Redskins is part of a larger controversy regarding the use of Native American names, images and symbols by non-native sports teams, but receives the most public attention due to the prominence of the team being located in the nation's capital and the name itself being defined in current dictionaries of American English as "usually offensive",[82] "disparaging",[83][84] "insulting",[85] and "taboo".[86]

Native American individuals, tribes and organizations have been questioning the use of the name and image for decades. In the 1940s the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) created a campaign to eliminate negative stereotyping of Native American people in the media. Over time, the campaign began to focus on Indian names and mascots in sports.[87] The NCAI maintains that teams with mascots such as the Braves and the Redskins perpetuate negative stereotypes of Native American people, and demean their native traditions and rituals.[88] The NCAI issued a new report in 2013 summarizing opposition to Indian mascots and team names generally, and the Washington Redskins in particular.[89]

On June 18, 2014, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) voted to cancel the six trademarks held by the team in a two to one decision that held that the term "redskins" is disparaging to a "substantial composite of Native Americans", and this is demonstrated "by the near complete drop-off in usage of 'redskins' as a reference to Native Americans beginning in the 1960s."[90][91] The TTAB majority held that the NCAI represented about 30% of Native Americans during the time in question, which the board found satisfied the substantial composite test.[92] The Washington Redskins filed its appeal of the case on August 14, 2014; stating their belief "that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) ignored both federal case law and the weight of the evidence". They also cite infringement of their First Amendment right to free expression.[93] On July 8, 2015, the TTAB decision was upheld by the U.S. District Court.

Evidence of disparagement submitted by the petitioners in the TTAB case include the frequent references to "scalping" made by sportswriters for sixty years when reporting the Redskins' loss of a game,[94] and passages from movies made from the 1940s to the 1960s using "redskin" to refer to Native Americans as a savage enemy.[95] A linguistics expert for the team unsuccessfully argued that the name is merely a descriptive term no different than other uses of color to differentiate people by race.[96] The linguistic expert for the petitioners, Dr. Geoffrey Nunberg, argued that whatever its origins, "redskins" was a slur at the time of the trademarks, based upon the passages from books and newspapers and the movie clips in which the word is inevitably associated with contempt, derision, condescension, or sentimental paeans to the noble savage.[97]

In response to the continued controversy, the team owner Dan Snyder sent an open letter to fans that was published in The Washington Post on October 9, 2013. In the letter Snyder states that the most important meaning of the name Redskins is the association that fans have to memories of their personal history with the team. Snyder also states that the name was chosen in 1933 to honor Native Americans in general and the coach and four players at that time who were Native American; and that in 1971 the then coach George Allen consulted with the Red Cloud Athletic Fund on the Pine Ridge reservation when designing the logo.[98] Supporters also assert that a majority of Native Americans themselves are not offended, based upon a public opinion poll in 2004 in which 90% of those who identified as American Indians answered that they were "not bothered" by the name "Redskins" being used for the Washington football team.[99] However, in a commentary published soon after that poll, fifteen Native American scholars collaborated on a critique that stated that there were so many flaws in the Annenberg study that rather than being a measure of Native American opinion, it was an expression of "white privilege" and colonialism.[100] In May 2016, the Washington Post released a poll of self-identified Native Americans that produced the same results as Annenberg poll, in which 90% of the 504 respondents were "not bothered" by the team's name.[101][102][103] Native American groups responded with many of the same criticisms. NCAI Executive Director Jacqueline Pata stated "The survey doesn't recognize the psychological impacts these racist names and imagery have on American Indian and Alaska Natives. It is not respectful to who we are as Native people. This poll still doesn't make it right."[104]

The team continues to cite polls showing general public opinion in opposition to changing the name. One poll was part the 2014 poll of issues regarding the NFL, which included one question indicating 71% of the general public are in favor of keeping the name, with 18% in favor of a change.[105] On their website the team states: "This poll, along with the poll taken among Native Americans by the Annenberg Institute, demonstrates continued, widespread and deep opposition to the Redskins changing our name. The results of this poll are solidly in line with the message we have heard from fans and Native Americans for months – our name represents a tradition, passion and heritage that honors Native Americans. We respect the point of view of the small number of people who seek a name change, but it is important to recognize very few people agree with the case they are making."[106] The Oneida Indian Nation "believes more Americans would favor changing the team name of the Washington NFL club if they understood the full context of what the Oneidas and others consider a racial slur."[107] Mike Florio points out that since an AP poll taken in April 2013 showed 79% in favor of keeping the name; the 71% result in the new poll is a significant decrease in support in a short time.[108] A 2014 AP-Gfk Poll, however, showed 83% support keeping the name.[109]

Season-by-season records

Cowboys 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 Championships, including eight combined Super Bowls.[110] The rivalry started in 1960 when the Cowboys joined the league as an expansion team.[111] 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 difficult time bringing an NFL team to Dallas. 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.[112] 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.[112] He wanted revenge after the failed negotiations with Marshall. He approached Tom Webb, Murchison's lawyer, and sold the rights for $2,500.[112] 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.[112]

In 2016, the Redskins-Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day was most-watched regular-season game in Fox history. [113]

Players of note

Current roster

Washington Redskins roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics
Roster updated December 5, 2016
Depth ChartTransactions

53 Active, 11 Inactive, 9 Practice Squad

AFC rostersNFC rosters

Retired numbers

Washington Redskins retired numbers
Player Position Tenure
33 Sammy Baugh QB, DB, 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 selectable by new players. The following numbers of past Redskins greats fall into that category.

Sean Taylor's number 21 has not been reissued since his death during the 2007 season, but it is unknown, as of 2015, 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.[114]

The use of unofficial retired numbers drew controversy during Steve Spurrier's first year as head coach.[115] 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.[115] 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, for not being considered for GM and was upset that the team would let a player like Leonard Stephens wear his number.[116]

Pro Football Hall of Fame members

Washington Redskins inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame
No. Name Positions Seasons No. Name Positions Seasons
9 Sonny Jurgensen QB 1964–1974 17 Turk Edwards OTDT 1932–1940
20 Cliff Battles RBCB 1932–1937 21 Deion Sanders CB 2000
26 Paul Krause S 1964–1967 26 Don Shula DB 1957
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
40 Wayne Millner TE-DE 1936–1941 42 Charley Taylor WR 1964–1977
44 John Riggins RB 1976–1985 49 Bobby Mitchell RB 1962–1968
55 Chris Hanburger LB 1965–1978 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 89 Dave Robinson LB 1973–1974
60 Dick Stanfel OG 1956–1958
Name Positions Seasons Name Positions Seasons
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

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.

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 FedExField. 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:[117][118]

Redskins Ring of Fame
No. Name Position Tenure
George Allen Head Coach 1971–1977
20 Cliff Battles RB 1932–1937
33 Sammy Baugh QB 1937–1952
53 Jeff Bostic C 1980–1993
80 Gene Brito DE 1951–1953
43 Larry Brown RB 1969–1976
65 Dave Butz DT 1975–1988
84 Gary Clark WR 1985–1992
51 Monte Coleman LB 1979–1994
Jack Kent Cooke Owner 1961–1997
35 Bill Dudley RB 1950–1951, 1953
Wayne Curry Prince George's County Executive 1994–2002
37 Pat Fischer CB 1968–1977
Joe Gibbs Head Coach 1981–1992
28 Darrell Green CB 1983–2002
68 Russ Grimm G 1981–1991
55 Chris Hanburger LB 1965–1978
57 Ken Harvey LB 1994–1998
56 Len Hauss C 1964–1977
Phil Hochberg PA announcer 1963–2000
27 Ken Houston S 1973–1980
70 Sam Huff LB 1964–1967, 1969
66 Joe Jacoby T/G 1981–1993
47 Dick James RB 1956–1963
9 Sonny Jurgensen QB 1964–1974
22 Charlie Justice RB 1950, 1952–1954
17 Billy Kilmer QB 1971–1978
14 Eddie LeBaron QB 1952–1953
Vince Lombardi Head Coach 1969
72 Dexter Manley DE 1981–1989
71 Charles Mann DE 1983–1993
George Preston Marshall Team founder and Owner 1932–1969
40 Wayne Millner E 1936–1941, 1945
49 Bobby Mitchell WR 1962–1968
30 Brian Mitchell RB/KR 1990–1999
81 Art Monk WR 1980–1993
3 Mark Moseley PK 1974–1986
23 Brig Owens DB 1966–1977
Richie Petitbon S
Defensive Coordinator
Head Coach
65 Vince Promuto G 1960–1970
44 John Riggins RB 1976–1979
87 Jerry Smith TE 1965–1977
42 Charley Taylor WR 1964–1977
21 Sean Taylor S 2004–2007
7 Joe Theismann QB 1974–1985
Lamar "Bubba" Tyer Head Athletic Trainer 1971–2002
17 Doug Williams QB 1986–1989

The 80 Greatest Redskins

Mark May, offensive lineman for the Redskins between 1981 and 1989, was named one of 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.[119]

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.[119]

The list includes three head coaches and 67 players, of which 41 were offensive players, 23 defensive players and three special teams players.[119]

Among the 70 Greatest, there are 92 Super Bowl appearances, with 47 going once and 45 playing in more than one. 29 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.[119]

On August 24, 2012, the Redskins' 80th anniversary, ten more players and personnel were added to the list.[120]

# Name Position Years
21 Terry Allen RB 1995–98
56 LaVar Arrington LB 2000–05
41 Mike Bass CB 1969–75
20 Cliff Battles B 1932–37
33 Sammy Baugh QB 1937–52
31 Don Bosseler FB 1957–64
53 Jeff Bostic C 1980–93
4 Mike Bragg P 1968–79
80 Gene Brito DE 1951–53,55–58
43 Larry Brown RB 1969–76
77 Bill Brundige DE 1970–77
65 Dave Butz DT 1975–88
21 Earnest Byner RB 1989–93
84 Gary Clark WR 1985–92
51 Monte Coleman LB 1979–94
53 Al DeMao C 1945–53
36 Chuck Drazenovich LB 1950–59
35 Bill Dudley RB 1950–51,53
17 Turk Edwards OT 1932–40
44 Andy Farkas FB 1938–44
37 Pat Fischer CB 1968–77
28 Darrell Green CB 1983–2002
68 Russ Grimm G 1981–91
55 Chris Hanburger LB 1965–78
57 Ken Harvey LB 1994–98
56 Len Hauss C 1964–77
75 Terry Hermeling OT 1970–80
27 Ken Houston S 1973–80
70 Sam Huff LB 1964–67,69
66 Joe Jacoby OT/G 1981–93
47 Dick James RB 1955–63
76 Jon Jansen OT 1999–08
80 Roy Jefferson WR 1971–76
9 Sonny Jurgensen QB 1964–74
22 Charlie Justice RB 1950,52–54
17 Billy Kilmer QB 1971–78
26 Paul Krause DB 1964–67
79 Jim Lachey OT 1988–95
14 Eddie LeBaron QB 1952–53,55–59
72 Dexter Manley DE 1981–89

# Name Position Years
71 Charles Mann DE 1983–93
58 Wilber Marshall LB 1988–92
73 Mark May OT 1981–89
79 Ron McDole DE 1971–78
63 Raleigh McKenzie G 1985–94
53 Harold McLinton LB 1969–78
40 Wayne Millner DE 1936–41,45
49 Bobby Mitchell FL 1962–68
30 Brian Mitchell RB 1990–99
81 Art Monk WR 1980–93
3 Mark Moseley K 1974–86
29 Mark Murphy S 1977–84
21 Mike Nelms KR 1980–84
52 Neal Olkewicz LB 1979–89
23 Brig Owens DB 1966–77
26 Clinton Portis RB 2004–10
65 Vince Promuto G 1960–70
44 John Riggins RB 1976–79,81–85
11 Mark Rypien QB 1987–93
83 Ricky Sanders WR 1986–93
60 Chris Samuels OT 2000–09
76 Ed Simmons OT 1987–97
87 Jerry Smith TE 1965–77
60 Dick Stanfel G 1956–58
74 George Starke OT 1973–84
72 Diron Talbert DT 1971–80
42 Charley Taylor WR 1964–77
84 Hugh Taylor WR 1947–54
21 Sean Taylor S 2004–07
7 Joe Theismann QB 1974–85
67 Rusty Tillman LB 1970–77
85 Don Warren TE 1979–92
25 Joe Washington RB 1981–84
17 Doug Williams QB 1986–89
George Allen head coach 1971–77
Bobby Beathard GM 1978–89
Joe Bugel OL coach 1981–89,04–09
Ray Flaherty head coach 1936–42
Joe Gibbs head coach 1981–92,04–07
Richie Petitbon defensive coordinator 1978–92

Individual awards

Season Player Position
1972Larry BrownRB
1982Mark MoseleyK
1983Joe TheismannQB
NFL Offensive Player of the Year
Season Player Position
1972Larry BrownRB
1983Joe TheismannQB
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
Season Player Position
1975Mike ThomasRB
2012Robert Griffin IIIQB
Super Bowl MVP
Game Player Position
XVIIJohn RigginsRB
XXIIDoug WilliamsQB
XXVIMark RypienQB
NFL Coach of the Year
Season Coach
1971George Allen
1979Jack Pardee
1982Joe Gibbs
1983Joe Gibbs

All-time first-round draft picks

Coaches of note

Current staff

Washington Redskins staff
Front Office
  • Owner – Daniel Snyder
  • President – Bruce Allen
  • General Manager – Scot McCloughan
  • Personnel Executive – Doug Williams
  • Vice President of Football Administration/General Counsel – Eric Shaffer
  • Director of Player Personnel – Scott Campbell
  • Director of Pro Personnel – Alex Santos
  • Director of Football Operations – Paul Kelly
  • Director of Player Development – Malcolm Blacken
  • Director of Sports Medicine – Robin West
Head coaches
Offensive coaches
Defensive coaches
Special teams coaches
  • Special teams coordinator – Ben Kotwica
  • Assistant special teams – Bradford Banta
  • Special projects/special teams assistant - Bret Munsey
Strength and conditioning
  • Head strength and conditioning – Mike Clark
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Chad Englehart
  • Assistant strength and conditioning/skill develoopment - Joe Kim
  • Head athletic trainer – Larry Hess

Coaching staff
More NFL staffs

AFC East
NFC East

Single-season records

* Also an NFL record

Redskins career records

Single-game records

NFL records



Special teams



As of 2008, the Redskins' flagship station is WTEM (ESPN 980), owned by Red Zebra Broadcasting, which in turn is owned by Snyder.[144]

As of the 2013 season, Larry Michael is the voice of the Redskins on the radio. He took this role in 2004 after longtime announcer Frank Herzog left.[145][146][146]

Michael is joined by analysts Sonny Jurgensen and Chris Cooley. Jurgensen is a former Redskins quarterback who has been in broadcasting since he retired from the team in 1974, much of that time spent working for his former team. Cooley played tight end for the Redskins from 2004 until 2012 and made the Pro Bowl twice. Cooley replaced Sam Huff, the former Hall of Fame linebacker who played several years with the Redskins, as color commentator following Huff's retirement at the end of the 2012 season.

Another former Washington tight end, Rick "Doc" Walker, is the sideline reporter and Kevin Sheehan hosts the team's pregame show. Longtime Redskins running back/receiver/return man Brian Mitchell also contributes to broadcasts.

Radio affiliates

Map of radio affiliates

Washington Redskins radio affiliates include:[147]

District of Columbia

City Call Sign Frequency
Washington WTEM-AM 980 AM


City Call Sign Frequency
Cumberland WCBC-AM 1270 AM
Hagerstown WWEG-FM 106.9 FM
Mechanicsville WSMD-FM 98.3 FM
Prince Frederick WWXT-FM 92.7 FM
Snow Hill WSUX-FM 101.1 FM

North Carolina

City Call Sign Frequency
Durham WRJD-AM 1410 AM
Gastonia WGNC 1450 AM
New Bern WNOS-AM 1450 AM
Raleigh WAUG 750 AM
Roanoke Rapids WCBT-AM 1230 AM
Salisbury WSTP-AM 1490 AM
Valdese WSVM-AM 1490 AM


City Call Sign Frequency
Charlottesville WKAV-AM 1400 AM
Charlottesville WCHV-AM 1260 AM
Charlottesville WCHV-FM 107.5 FM
Fredericksburg WGRQ-FM 95.9 FM
Gloucester WXGM-FM 99.1 FM
Hampton WXTG-AM 1490 AM
Harrisonburg WSVA-AM 550 AM
Harrisonburg WHBG-AM 1360 AM
Radford WWBU-FM 101.7 FM
Richmond WXGI-AM 950 AM
Roanoke WFIR-AM 960 AM
Staunton WSVO-FM 93.1 FM
Tappahannock WRAR-FM 105.5 FM
Virginia Beach WXTG-FM 102.1 FM
Warrenton WWXX-FM 94.3 FM
Winchester WFQX-FM 99.3 FM

West Virginia

City Call Sign Frequency
Charles Town WMRE-AM 1550 AM
Martinsburg WRNR-AM 740 AM


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.

Kenny Albert does play-by-play, former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann is the color analyst, and Rick "Doc" Walker is the sideline reporter.

In the regular season, most games are shown locally on Fox O&O WTTG per the NFC contract with the Fox Broadcasting Company. The main exceptions are when the Redskins host an AFC team or play at night.

The Redskins haven't been blacked out at home since 1972, a year before local telecasts of sold-out home games were allowed, although the Redskins have often had to deal with no-shows (but not in recent years). Only three other NFL teams have had sellout streaks dating to before 1973.

Prior to the Carolina Panthers inaugural season of 1995, many residents of North Carolina were Washington Redskins fans. A handful of North Carolinians still are, particularly in the northeastern part of the state with those living further west (closer to the Interstate 26 corridor) either neutral or Atlanta Falcons fans. Therefore, prior to 1995, the Washington Redskins were often on television but not mandated by the NFL. A Triangle Redskins Fan club still exists in Raleigh as of 2011.

Superstition regarding U.S. presidential elections

Main article: Redskins Rule

For 17 of the past 19 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 exceptions were in 2004, when Republican incumbent George W. Bush won re-election despite the Green Bay Packers beating the Redskins,[148] and again in 2012, when Democratic incumbent Barack Obama retained the presidency on November 6, despite the Redskins losing to the Carolina Panthers on November 4, 21–13.[149] Other than these exceptions, 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.[150]

The Redskins Rule was discovered by Steve Hirdt, executive vice president of the Elias Sports Bureau, while searching for discussion fodder in 2000 for a game between the Redskins and Titans.[151]


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  1. Robert Rothman, Dwight Schar, and Frederick W. Smith are also a part of the ownership group[1]

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