10 Greatest Redskins Teams of All Time

Joe Gibbs led the Redskins to three Super Bowl victories in a span of 10 years

The Washington Redskins were actually founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves. The next year, they changed their name to the Boston Redskins and then moved to Washington in 1937. Today, they are one of only five NFL franchises with more than 600 wins (regular and postseason).

 

The Redskins have also won five NFL championships over two 10-year periods and fielded other great teams along the way. Here are the 10 best.

 

10. 1940

Finished: Lost to Chicago Bears 73-0 in NFL Championship

Regular Season Record: 9-2

Washington won the NFL Eastern Division by one game to make the championship and face Chicago, who it had beaten 7-3 three weeks earlier. Unfortunately, Redskins owner George Preston Marshall had said the Bears were crybabies and would quit when things got tough. Not only did that make them mad, but the Bears also installed the revolutionary T formation offense for their final two games and the Redskins had never faced it. The result was the most lopsided victory in the history of professional sports.

 

9. 1986

Finished: Lost to New York Giants 17-0 in NFC Championship Game

Regular Season Record: 12-4

The 1986 Redskins make this list because, in addition to their record, they upset the defending champion Bears at Soldier Field and ended what could have been a dynasty. Chicago had gone 14-2 and once again sported the top-ranked defense.

 

8. 1945

Finished: Lost to Cleveland Rams 15-14 in NFL Championship

Regular Season Record: 8-2

Washington could very well have won a sixth NFL title if not for a now-defunct rule. In the first quarter of the championship game, Sammy Baugh threw a pass from the end zone, but it hit the goal post, which was on the goal line until 1974. The ball bounced out of the end zone for a safety and that proved to be the difference in the game. The league changed the rule in the offseason declaring that any pass that hits the goal post is automatically incomplete.

 

7. 1972

Finished: Lost to Miami Dolphins 14-7 in Super Bowl XVII

Regular Season Record: 11-3

In 1971, head coach George Allen led the Redskins to their first postseason appearance in 25 years. The next year, he took them to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the undefeated Dolphins.

 

6. 1937

Finished: Beat Chicago Bears 28-21 in NFL Championship

Regular Season Record: 8-3

In 1936, the draft was held the day before the championship game so the Boston Redskins drafted TCU quarterback Sammy Baugh with the sixth pick and lost in the NFL title game to the Green Bay Packers the next day. In the offseason, owner George Preston Marshall moved the team to Washington. The Redskins celebrated their first season in the nation's capital with Baugh leading the league in passing and the team winning its first championship.

 

5. 1983

Finished: Lost to Los Angeles Raiders 38-9 in Super Bowl XVIII

Regular Season Record: 14-2

The defending champion scored a then NFL-record 541 points en route to making its second straight Super Bowl. However, key turnovers and an MVP performance by Raiders running back Marcus Allen resulted in a blowout in the final game.

 

4. 1942

Finished: Beat Chicago Bears 14-6 in NFL Championship

Regular Season Record: 10-1

The Redskins' only blemish was a 14-7 loss to the New York Giants in week two. They won their 10 remaining games and avenged the 73-0 championship loss to the Bears two years earlier.

 

3. 1982

Finished: Beat Miami Dolphins 27-17 in Super Bowl XVII

Regular Season Record: 8-1

The Redskins were the top team at the end of the hot mess of the strike-shortened regular season. And at the end of the 16-team "Super Bowl Tournament," they were the best team in the NFL thanks in part to 610 rushing yards from John Riggins over those four postseason games.

 

2. 1987

Finished: Beat Denver Broncos 42-10 in Super Bowl XXII

Regular Season Record: 11-4

In yet another strike-shortened season, Washington went 8-4 with its regular roster and 3-0 with replacement players. But in the playoffs, head coach Joe Gibbs chose to start Doug Williams over Jay Schroeder in a move that went down as one of the best in NFL history.

 

1. 1991

Finished: Beat Buffalo Bills 37-24 in Super Bowl XXVI

Regular Season Record: 14-2

Football Outsiders, which analyzes NFL statistics, ranks this team as the greatest Super Bowl team of all time. That is the subject of debate, but the '91 Redskins' dominance isn't. They had the top scoring offense and the second-ranked scoring defense and were the best team in the league from start to finish, losing their two games by a total of five points.

 

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

 

(Top photo courtesy of crescentcitysports.com)

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