The Washington Commanders
The Washington Commanders certainly have an interesting history within their 91 years of professional football. The Commanders obviously started as the Washington Redskins, and had quite the controversy over the years to change their name. The team has played over 1,000 games and is just one of five teams in the National Football League with over 600 wins. Let’s take a look at some important history when it comes to the Washington Commanders, part of the NFC East.
FedEx Field Is the Home of the Washington Commanders
The Washington franchise started their games back in 1932 at Braves Field. They spent one season there, before moving to Fenway Park for the 1933-1936 seasons. That’s when they finally found a place they could call home – Griffith Stadium. They played at Griffith Stadium from 1937-1960. Then – the franchise moved to the beautiful Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and called that home until 1996. Finally, FedEx Field was built, and from the 1997 season on that’s where the organization has played.
FedEx Field was originally Jack Kent Cookie Stadium. It’s located just east of Washington, D.C. From 2004 until 2010, the stadium had the largest capacity in the National Football League, at more than 91,000. Construction has been done to the venue since then, and the place now sits 62,000 fans.
FedEx Field has always been a busy, crowded venue, with 716,000 fans going to games in 2005. In 2007, in a win over the Cowboys, the stadium had more than 90,000 in attendance and clinched a postseason spot. The franchise led the league in attendance every season between 2002 and 2008. The first playoff game at FedEx Field came in 2000.
FedEx Field has hosted several College Football games, which include Army-Navy, USC-Virginia Tech, and others. International soccer friendlies have been played at FedEx Field as well, along with numerous concerts and rugby.
Why the Commanders and Who Are They?
As many know, the organization started as the Washington Redskins. In recent years, that has turned to controversy, only to see them change to the Commanders. The original name Redskins was not meant to be a negative ton, as it was chosen by the organization to honor Native Americans. The team had four of them playing and a coach at the time. The team originally thought they would go with the “Braves” but wanted to be careful not to get confused with the Braves playing Major League Baseball.
Then, in 2020, many retailers got involved in the process of not liking the term “Redskins” which started putting pressure on the team to change their names. Of course, like in the old days, the organization had a fan vote for the new name. The team went through hundreds of thousands of votes and finally decided on the “Commanders”, as many said it was in homage to the United States Capital connection to the military. With the team being based in Washington, D.C., it seemed to make sense.
Historical Records for the Washington Commanders
The obbs was one of the most successful head coaches in the game.rganization has over 600 wins, and 23 more in the postseason. Joe Theismann is a name many remember for his time as the signal caller. Art Monk was an elite receiver for Washington, and Joe Gibbs was one of the most successful head coaches in the game.
Monk finished his career with over 12,000 career yards receiving and 65 touchdowns with the organization.
Super Bowl Titles for the Commanders
The franchise has won five league championships. The first two were before the merger of 190 between the AFC and NFL. Those two were won in 1937 and 1942. Since the Super Bowl era, the organization has won three of them. The first came in the 1982 season, as they won Super Bowl XVII.
Joe Gibbs led the Redskins at the time to the Super Bowl title at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Washington scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to erase a 17-10 halftime deficit. The Redskins and Dolphins played in front of more than 103,000 fans in attendance. John Riggins, the fullback for Washington, was named the MVP of the game with 166 yards on 38 rushing attempts.
It was not too much later, and the Redskins won Super Bowl XXII. The Redskins trailed 10-0 after one quarter and scored 35 points in the second, and cruised to a win over the Broncos. Washington won the game 42-10 for Joe Gibbs’s second title. Doug Williams, the quarterback, was named the MVP of the game with 340 passing yards and four touchdowns in the game. The game was played in San Diego in front of more than 73,000 fans in attendance.
The third and most recent Super Bowl title for the organization came in 1991. Super Bowl XXVI saw them smack the Buffalo Bills around 37-24. Washington did not score in the first quarter but went on to score 37 in the 13-point win. This game was in Minneapolis in front of 63,000 fans. Mark Rypien, the team’s quarterback, was the MVP of the game with 292 yards passing and two touchdowns.
Washington has won five conference championships. Outside of the three Super Bowl years, they lost in the big game in 1972 and 1983. Washington has 15 divisional championships, starting with six in the NFL Eastern and 9 more in the NFC East. Washington won back-to-back NFC East titles in 1983 and 1984.
Heading into the 2023 season, Washington has reached the postseason 25 times. The best runs for the franchise came from 1971-1976 and then again in 1982-1987, where they reached the postseason 5 out of 6 seasons.
Famous Quarterbacks for the Washington Commanders
There are five quarterbacks that most Washington football fans are familiar with. Each of those five quarterbacks made a mark on the franchise with their success on the field. The first name, and the leader in passing yards, is Joe Thiesman. Thiesman leads the franchise with 25,206 passing yards. After that, Sonny Jurgensen has 22,585, Sammy Baugh with over 21,000, while Kirk Cousins and Mark Rypien round out the Top 5.
Sammy Baugh leads in touchdowns thrown, with 187, but also interceptions, with 203. Second, on the list for touchdowns is Sonny Jurgensen, followed by Thiesman. Rypien finished his career with 101 passing touchdowns, while Cousins was at 99 before moving on.
When it comes to postseason wins by a starting quarterback, they do not have a guy that has won since the 2005 season. Todd Collins, Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, and Taylor Heinicke all lost their only start.
That winner in 2005 was Mark Brunell, and it was his only win as a starting quarterback for the organization in the postseason. Brad Johnson also went 1-1 for Washington. Before that, Mark Rypien had success going 5-2 in his career.
Doug Williams was the big winner in 1987, going 3-0 in his only season leading the team. The season before, Jay Schroeder went 2-1. Joe Thiesman has the most career postseason wins for the franchise, as he finished 6-2.
Billy Klimer went 2-5, Sammy Baugh 3-3, and Riley Smith 0-1 to round out the signal callers for Washington.
Washington Commanders Hall of Famers
The Washington Commanders organization has 15 players that are primarily known for their time with the organization. There are 10 others that spent some time with the organization in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They have 7 guys in management, with 5 of them considering going into the Hall of Fame with the organization.
The first player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame from the organization was Sammy Baugh back in 1963. He played several positions for the Redskins back in 1937-1942. After him, Bill Dudley, Turk Edwards, Wayne Millner, and Cliff Battles were part of the 1960s and inducted as well.
In the 1970s, the organization did not see a single player inducted into the Hall of Fame. That changed in the 1980s as Sonny Jurgensen, Sam Huff, Ken Houston, Charley Taylor, and Bobby Mitchell all went in.
In the 1990s – John Riggins was the only true player from Washington inducted. Since 2000, Washington has seen the following players go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Art Monk and Darrell Green in 2008, Russ Grimm in 2010, and Chris Hanburger in 2011.
Joe Gibbs, the head coach for all those seasons with the Redskins was inducted in 1996. Other guys in management include George Allen, Bobby Beathard, Ray Flaherty, and George Preston Marshall.
Final Washington Commanders Tidbits
The Washington Commanders added a new mascot when they went from the Redskins to the Commanders. “Major Tuddy” is a hog, which signifies the offensive line that dominated the league in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Commanders have the oldest marching band in the National Football League. They have been around since 1937. They play “Hail to the Commanders” after each touchdown scored at home.