Three Super Bowl victories in the 1980s and 1990s make the Washington Redskins one of the most successful teams in recent NFL history. However, the glorious days of the Redskins from the U.S. Capital when they were among the most dominant and innovative teams of the NFL are about 60 years ago.
George Preston Marshall was awarded the NFL franchise for the New England area in 193 which was inactive since 1929 when the Boston Bulldogs were dissolved. Marshall initially called his new team, which played in Braves Field, Boston Braves. However, after the change to the Fenway Park a year later, he changed the name to Boston Redskins. Marshall quickly proved to be very a short-tempered owner. Because he did not feel supported by the fans enough, he moved the championship game to New York in 1936. The Redskins, deprived by their owner of the home advantage, lost the almost certain title to the Green Bay Packers.
Not surprisingly, the Redskins didn’t return to Boston from New York, but settled in Washington DC, where they started to play in Griffith Stadium. And Marshall further proved himself to be a busy owner: He introduced the first brass band in 1937, which put the stadium in a good mood. Marshall also recognized the value of radio and television broadcasts very early and closed the necessary deals. The Redskins owner was very controversial, despite its innovations throughout his life, but especially because of its racist attitude: Still in the 1950s, he announced that his team would only contract their first “Negro” player, if the Harlem Globetrotters added white players to their team.
The most outstanding player personality of the early days was quarterback Sammy Baugh. In a time in which the majority was still set to the running game, Baugh established the forward pass as an important part of the attack game. Even as a rookie in 1937, Baugh led the Redskins coached by head coach Ray Flaherty to their first NFL title, another title should follow in 1942.
After 1945, a long dry spell should start for fans of the Washington Redskins: In the years until 1971, the Redskins we one of the worst teams of the NFC East and didn’t even reach the playoffs once. This could neither be changed by the move to D.C. Stadium in 1961 – which was renamed to Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in 1969, nor the obligation of a success coach like Vince Lombardi in 1969. But with the signing of head coach George Allen the Redskins improved again. Allen led the Capital city to the Super Bowl for the first time in 1972 and reached the playoffs four times in his six years of activity.
Under the leadership of head coach Joe Gibbs, the Redskins had an even better time: Under the Don Coryell disciple the Redskins reached the playoffs nine times in twelve years and played in the Super Bowl four times, where they could win three titles and watching Washington Redskins games was one of the most exciting things in the NFL these days. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the three titles were won with three different captains: Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien testify to the happy hand Gibbs’ in his choice of quarterbacks.
In 1997, the Washington Redskins moved to a new stadium again, the FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. But the success didn’t follow the team to their new home, yet. Even Joe Gibbs couldn’t change that who returned to the Washington Redskins for a second time in the years between 2004 and 2007.