The Washington Redskins have not had the most success recently. In fact, they’ve been pretty awful over the last 20-ish seasons.
However, they have a long history. And they are actually one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. Due to that, they’ve definitely had some incredible seasons.
So sure, they’ve had some down years, but the future looks bright right now. And Washington could be building towards a new run as one of the better teams in the NFL.
What about the past though? Yes, the Redskins are building towards a good team again. But what is the standard? Who were the best teams in Washington franchise history?
Let’s take a look back and try to decide who the five greatest teams in the history of the Redskins franchise are.
Recency bias? Maybe. And it’s not like the team was crazy good. But that was also one of the most magical seasons in franchise history, so it had to make the list.
Robert Griffin III took the NFL by storm. The quarterback won Rookie of the Year, and there was a strong argument running back Alfred Morris was deserving of the award too. Saying the future looked bright was an understatement.
Washington also had Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss and Josh Morgan as veteran receivers. They also had potential with the receivers Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson. This was just a fun team.
London Fletcher was still anchoring the defense, with Perry Riley up the middle too. Ryan Kerrigan was in his prime and DeAngelo Hall was one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the NFL.
The Redskins ended up losing in the Wild Card round to the Seattle Seahawks. If Griffin III stayed healthy, the story might have been different though. They bolted out to a 14-0 lead before RGIII suffered an injury.
This is a hill I will die on. This team would have been very good had the quarterback not been run into the ground that game. Fight me on it.
This spot was between two teams. 1972 and 1983. Both lost in the Super Bowl. 1983 had the better record at 14-2. They got blown out in the Super Bowl though, losing 38-9 to the Los Angeles Raiders.
Meanwhile, the 1972 team went 11-3 in the regular season. And when they lost in the Super Bowl that year, it was a much closer contest. Washington dropped the biggest game of the year 14-7. And they did it to the Miami Dolphins, the only team to go undefeated in the regular season and playoffs.
1972 saw Larry Brown win the MVP, one of the greatest running backs in franchise history.
Not only did the Redskins have a good record in 1972, but they dominated most of the season. It seemed like every week they were running away from teams with an incredible offense and a stout defense.
Easily one of the greatest teams in franchise history. And if they didn’t run into the brick wall that was the Dolphins, this might be right at the top. However, not getting a Super Bowl hurts them because, spoiler, the last three teams did.
1982 was the first Super Bowl win in the history of the Redskins franchise. The season was shortened to just nine games due to a strike.
In that time, Washington absolutely dominated. They went 8-1 and then went 4-0 in the playoffs, including a 27-17 win over the Dolphins in the Super Bowl.
The Redskins didn’t just win games either. They were truly the elite. Joe Gibbs won Coach of the Year and Mark Moseley won MVP. Seriously, Moseley won MVP, a kicker. John Riggins went on to win the Super Bowl MVP and Joe Theismann was the Walter Payton Man of the Year.
This team was absolutely stacked and ran through everyone as proof of it.
In 1987, Washington went 11-4 in the regular season. They then went on to go 3-0 in the Super Bowl. That Super Bowl was a 42-10 shellacking of the Denver Broncos.
This is probably the most well-known team in Redskins’ history. That’s due to Doug Williams. The quarterback won Super Bowl MVP that year. What was significant about the situation wasn’t exactly that though.
Williams was the first black quarterback to start on a Super Bowl-winning team. And he definitely pulled his weight too, winning Super Bowl MVP.
This team also boasted the deadly duo of Gary Clark and Art Monk at wide receiver and an elite offensive line. Meanwhile, the defense was incredible too with Dexter Manley and Charles Mann anchoring the pass rush and Darrell Green and Barry Wilburn locking it down at cornerback.
There really wasn’t much for opponents to do against this unit. They were set to lock you down in any way defensively. Meanwhile, the offense wasn’t exactly making life easy on anyone either.
1991 was the best year in franchise history. They went an incredible 14-2 and 3-0 in the playoffs to win the Super Bowl. That Super Bowl saw them go defeat the Buffalo Bills 37-24.
The Redskins got an elite season from quarterback Mark Rypien and he put the cherry on top by winning Super Bowl MVP.
Meanwhile, Gibbs was still an elite coach and proved it with his Coach of the Year award.
Earnest Byner and Ricky Ervins were causing problems in the running game, and Clark and Monk were an even better duo this year than they were back in 1987.
Even the special teams were on lockdown, Brian Mitchell was on the team at that point, and we all know how good he was.
Mann was still dominating on the defensive line at this point. And now Wilburn was gone, but Green was dominating again. This time he was doing it with some extra company this time. That made the defense even scarier.
This team dominated from start to finish. And it’s going to be very hard for someone to dethrone them.