The Washington Redskins are a professional American football team based in the Washington 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 Washington 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. The Washington Redskins have won five NFL Championships (two pre-1966 merger announcement, and three Super Bowls). The franchise has captured 14 NFL divisional titles and six NFL conference championships. 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”. 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, Dallas Cowboys, and New England Patriots (five each), and the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants (four each). 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. 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. 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.
During this period, the Redskins went without a single winning season during the years 1956–1968. In 1961, the franchise posted their worst regular season record with a 1–12–1 showing. Since 1992, the Redskins have only won the NFC East three times, made five postseason appearances, and had nine 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. They also set the NFL record for single-season attendance in 2007, and have the top ten single-season attendance totals in the NFL.
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. 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. The Redskins played and won their first game in Washington, D.C. on September 16, 1937, a victory against the Giants, 13–3. On December 5, 1937, they earned their first division title in Washington against the Giants, 49–14, for the Eastern Championship. 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. The Redskins then met the Bears again in the 1940 NFL Championship Game on December 8, 1940. The result, 73–0 in favor of the Bears, is still the worst one-sided loss in NFL history. 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.
The unofficial mascot of the Redskins team was Zema Williams (aka Chief Zee), an African American man who attended games beginning in 1978 dressed in a red, faux “Indian” costume, complete with feathered war bonnet and tomahawk. Other fans often dress in similar costume for the games.
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