The Washington Redskins play in the NFL’s National Football Conference (NFC) in the East Division. Although they have competed in various divisions, they have been members of the NFC East since 1970 when the AFL and NFL merged.
George Preston Marshall established the franchise in 1932. The team’s first home was in Boston, Massachusetts, where they were known as the Boston “Football” Braves. The term “football” was inserted into the name informally to differentiate the football team from the Boston Braves baseball team. They became the Boston Redskins in 1933, and in 1937, due to a lack of fan support, the club moved to Washington, D.C.
The team has played in the NFL’s Eastern Division (1933-1949), American Conference (1950-1952), Eastern Conference (1953-1969) and Capitol Division (1967-1969).
The franchise won 12 Division Championships, five Conference Championships, two NFL Championships and three Super Bowls. The Redskins earned six NFL East titles (1936, 1937, 1940, 1942, 1943, 1945) and six NFC East crowns (1972, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1991, 1999). Five NFC titles have been earned with the club’s first coming in 1972. Washington won three conference championships in the 1980s (1982, 1983, 1987) and one in the 1990s (1991).
In the 1980s, the Redskins captured two of three Super Bowls, winning their first in 1982 when they beat the Miami Dolphins 27-17 in Super Bowl XVII. They returned to the Super Bowl the following year, losing to the Oakland Raiders 38-9. After winning the NFC in 1987, they met the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII, winning by a score of 42-10. Their last Super Bowl appearance was at the 1991 contest. In that game, Super Bowl XXVI, the team beat the Buffalo Bills 37-24.
A total of two-dozen Redskin players, coaches and executives have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. These include quarterbacks Sammy Baugh (1937-1952) and Sonny Jurgensen (1957-1963 Philadelphia Eagles and 1964-1974 Redskins), running back John Riggins (1971-1975 New York Jets; 1976-1979 and 1981-1985 Redskins) and head coach Joe Gibbs (1981-1992 and 2004-2007).
Baugh played for the Redskins his entire career. Finishing with a QB rating of 72.2, “Slingin’ Sammy” was a five-time All-Star and nine-time All-Pro. He was selected to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and the NFL 1940s All-Decade Team.
After helping to establish the Eagles as a contender, Jurgensen went to the Redskins where he had some of his most productive years. Four of his five Pro Bowl and All-Pro seasons were with the Skins. Over his career, the signal caller threw for 255 touchdowns. He earned a QB rating of 82.6, accumulating a total of 32,224 passing yards.
Running back John Riggins, who was nicknamed “The Diesel,” entered the NFL as the sixth overall pick in the 1971 draft. Chosen by the New York Jets, Riggins played with the team for five seasons before going to the Redskins as a free agent. He played with Washington from 1976-1979 and then from 1981-1985, sitting out the entire 1980 season due to a contract dispute. In his career, Riggins carried the ball 2,916 times, rushing for 11,352 yards. He scored a total of 116 touchdowns with 104 of those being made through the ground game. He’s a member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade team.
Coach Joe Gibbs led the Redskins to five conference and three Super Bowl championships. Along with being a champion in the NFL, Gibbs has won three NASCAR titles as a team owner. His coaching record in professional football is 154-94-0 in the regular season and 17-7 in the post season.
As the Boston Braves, the club occupied Braves Field, and in 1933 as the Redskins, they played at Fenway Park until moving to Washington in 1937. In Washington, The Skins, originally called Griffith Stadium (1937-1960) home. From 1961-1996, they played in RFK Stadium, which from 1961 to 1968 was known as D.C. Stadium. In 1997, the Redskins moved to FedExField, which is located in Landover, Maryland. The stadium has a capacity of close to 92,000.
The team is presently owned by businessman Dan Snyder, who bought the Redskins for $800 million after longtime owner Jack Kent Cooke passed on. The team’s new head coach, replacing Joe Gibbs who retired after the 2007 season, is former NFL quarterback Jim Zorn. Previously, Zorn has been with the Seattle Seahawks (offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach) and Detroit Lions (quarterbacks coach).