Washington Redskins: From Glory to Horror Story – Part 1

The Washington Redskins are a famed and storied franchise. They have 85 years of stories that cover their existence in the NFL. Coaches such as Vince Lombardi, Otto Graham (‘66-‘68), George Allen (‘71-‘77), Joe Gibbs (‘81-‘92, ‘04-‘07), Marty Schottenheimer (‘01), and Steve Spurrier (‘02-‘03) have walked the sidelines of this franchise. The history includes over 600 franchise wins, 14 Division titles, 6 Conference Championships, 2 NFL Championships, and three Super Bowl Championships. However, through all that glory the franchise has become a recent horror story.

Follow along as we take a small journey through the Washington Redskins: From Glory to Horror Story.

The Beginning

The Washington Redskins began play as the Boston Braves in 1932. They changed their name in 1933 to the “Redskins”. In was not until 1937 that they moved to Washington D.C.

The franchise won its first of two NFL Championships in 1937. They defeated one of the NFL’s original franchises, the Chicago Bears in doing so.

The team would win their second NFL Championship in 1942. Again, the Washington Redskins defeated the Bears. Nonetheless, this would begin a slid of playoff no-shows.

The Glory Years

The 1970s

The Redskins would return to the playoffs in 1971. At this time their head coach was one of the greatest, not only in the franchise but the history of the NFL, George Allen. Allen would be the beginning of the glory years for the Washington Redskins. He would be named the Coach of the Year in 1971. The redskins would lose to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs that season. Nevertheless, the road was being paved.

Washington would host their first playoff game since 1942 in 1972. The would beat the Green Bay Packers 16-3 in the divisional round. Next up would be the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC Championship. The Redskins would go on to defeat the Cowboys 26-3 to go to their first Super Bowl. However, the Washington Redskins would not be successful, losing to the undefeated Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII.

The Redskins would be a perennial playoff team in the 70s. Repeatedly making the playoffs in ’73, ’74, and ’75. Although they would lose in the first round each year they went.

The 1980s

The ‘80s would see more paving of the glory road. It would see the ushering in of the first Joe Gibbs era. The Washington Redskins would see themselves play in three Super Bowls in the decade. They would win two of those. The loss came in 1983 against the Oakland Raiders. That was a devastating loss. The Redskins were never in the game and would lose 38-9.

The wins, however, would come in 1982 against the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII. That was 10 years after the Dolphins defeated the Redskins in Super Bowl VII. This win would come on the back of the infamous John Riggins 4th down run which he broke for a TD.

The second Super Bowl victory in the ‘80s would come in 1988 against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.  The Washington Redskins would set several records in this game. RB Timmy Smith would set a single-game rushing record. The Redskins set a single-quarter scoring record with 35 unanswered points in the 2nd quarter. Doug Williams would become the first African American QB to play in, start, and win a Super Bowl. He would go out to win the MVP of Super Bowl XXII as the Redskins would win 42-10.

The 1990s

The ’90s would see the last Super Bowl in the history of the Washington Redskins. They would play the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI. Mark Rypien would be the hero for the Redskins on this day. He would throw for 292 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT en route to the Super Bowl MVP.

The season leading up to the Super Bowl win of 1992 was also special. The Washington Redskins would finish the year at 14-2. They started the season 11-0 which was a franchise record. The offense scored 485 points on the season. Meanwhile, the defense was the second-best in the league, allowing only 224 total points on the season. They also had three shutouts on the season.

The ‘90s would also the end of an era in ownership. Jack Kent Cooke, the long-time owner of the Redskins would pass away. He died on April 6, 1997, of congestive heart failure. In his will, he left instruction for his foundation, The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to take over ownership of the team and sell it.

Instead, the estate, headed by John Kent Cooke (Jack’s son) took over ownership. They would announce the building of a new stadium that would be named after the late owner. In 1997 the Redskins would play their first game in Jack Kent Cooke Stadium. Beating the Arizona Cardinals 19-13 in overtime.

That was all for not though. After two seasons of ownership, the estate run by John Kent Cooke was unable to raise enough money to fully purchase the Redskins franchise. Therefore, on May 25, 1999, the Washington Redskins were purchased by Daniel Snyder. That is where the horror story begins.

To Be Continued……..

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