The Washington Commanders have been in the news lately a lot, with many asking the all-important question, “Is Jeff Bezos going to buy the Washington Commanders?”
The NFL franchise is up for grabs for a cool $7 billion price tag. The Washington Commanders have had a tough last season, ending up at the bottom of the NFC East. The franchise was also out of the odds for the Super Bowl with sportsbooks thanks to their dismal playing record of 8-8-1.
With news of a possible change in ownership coming soon, there’s a newfound interest in the football franchise. The Washington Commanders are still widely regarded as the proverbial “Sleeping Giant,” and the team’s luck is ready to turn a corner. For those interested in history, here are some interesting facts about the Washington Commanders.
Washington Commanders: A History
The Washington Commanders, also previously known as ‘The Boston Braves,’ ‘The Washington Football Team,’ and the ‘Washington Redskins’ has had a long and colorful history. The franchise began in Boston after the city was awarded an NFL franchise back in 1932. A year later, they dropped the name and relocated to Fenway Park. The newly baptized Redskins played their first season in Washington, DC, in 1937.
The franchise has been in the news for the past few years for all the wrong reasons, particularly because of its name. For years, critics and keyboard commandos have made their views known about the team’s name, claiming that the franchise’s name (along with that of the Kansas City Chiefs) was a slur against the Native Americans. In 2020, the franchise dropped the Redskins name and logo. The club unveiled the new team name and logo in 2022 and is now known as the aptly named Washington Commanders.
The Washington Commanders were one of the first NFL franchises to have their own fight song, “Hail to the Commanders,” which their marching band plays following each touchdown at the FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, the team’s home ground. According to Forbes, the franchise is worth $5.6 billion, making them the sixth most valuable franchise in the NFL. The franchise has had 32 former players and coaches inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
The Washington Commanders have won Super Bowls, XVII, XXII, and XXVI. They also won NFL championship games in 1937 and 1942, which was eons ago, and have been the runners-up multiple times in both Super Bowls and NFL championship games. The Commanders also boast of an overall record (post-season) of 23-18, earning 14 division titles and making 24 post-season appearances.
As of 2023, the team’s Super Bowl wins (they’ve won it three times) are tied with the Las Vegas Raiders and the Denver Broncos, each of which have won the Super Bowl a total of three times. The Commanders have also won the NFC East a total of four times and have a winning record in nine seasons, reaching the post-season in seven.
The team was managed by legendary Vince Lombardi in the 60s, which got them their first winning record. George Allen (Class of 2002 Hall of Fame inductee) also took over the reins in 71 and coached the Commanders through five playoffs and 69 victories. This was followed by an impressive run by Joe Gibbs, who led the team as coach from 81 to 92 and is considered the most successful coach in the team’s history. Jay Gruden was hired as the team’s coach in 2013.
Currently, the team’s head coach is “Riverboat Ron” Rivera. The 30th head coach of the Washington Commanders is also the only coach in NFL history to lead two teams with a losing record in the playoffs. Rivera also has the de facto general manager for the team until 2021 before Martin Mayhew was hired, but he still has the final say when it comes to the team. While the club has had a rough few years, they are still considered to be one of the most dominant teams in the past quarter-century history of the NFL.
The Washington Commanders was the first club in NFL history to have their own fully televised season in 1950. The team also holds the record for having the first radio network (1944) and NFL’s first-ever marching band back in 1937. The marching band can be seen playing the team’s fight song, “Hail to the Commanders,” after every touchdown at the FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
The FedEx Field was completed in 1997 in Landover, MD, and has a total capacity of 67,717. Built in the hometown of the Washington Commanders, it is where the team plays all of its home games. The 1991 Washington Football Team (the then Washington Redskins) is considered to be one of the best teams in the history of the NFL, with 485 points and just nine sacks. The team’s current owner is Daniel Snyder, but that could soon change if Jeff Bezos, owner of Seattle-based Amazon, purchases the franchise in March 2023.
While battling with problems ranging from a leaky offensive line to momentum-sapping penalties, the Commanders look to find their ground during the Pro Bowl season with the likes of Tress Way, Jeremy Reaves, Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen, and Terry McLaurin leading the way. Sam Cosmi is slated as the team’s only lineman, as per the mock draft for the senior bowl, and if all goes well, the Washington Commanders could end up with an offensive lineup (Schmitz, Cosmi, and Torrence) that has a full five-year shelf life.
For those wondering about the sale of the franchise, while the NFL would not be looking for any major headlines during the playoffs, those who are fans of the franchise could have their answer by March . That’s when the team will hold its annual meeting. With the new league year opening come March 15th, things could get very interesting for the Washington Commanders and their fans.