Last week I took us back to the first year in D.C. and the first of 5 championships that the Washington Redskins would win. This week I am making a U-turn. There won't be any sentiment, or heart-warming stories of one-time greatness. These will be facts. Facts of life, liberty, and Redskins Football.
It's almost as if Redskins fans, bloggers, writers, and critics tend to look over the past. More worried about the here and now. I disagree with that, you don't know where you are going until you know where you came from. So, in light of recent fan reactions to this current slump the Redskins have fallen into, I have decided to remind those that have forgotten, those that don't remember, and those that never knew that this isn't the first time the Redskins have had to rebuild. It all started in 1945.
The Redskins began a decline starting in 1945 that would last until a playoff berth in 1971.
In 1945 the Washington Redskins, led by Head Coach Dudley DeGroot, would lose the NFL Championship to the Cleveland Rams. Little did he know, that would be the catalyst propelling the ‘Skins into a 26-year hole.
Between 1946 and 1951, the Redskins would have 4 different head coaches. Something current Washington fans are all-too-familiar with. Former players Turk Edwards and Dick Todd as well as John Whelchel and Herman Ball would lead the Redskins to a total of 28 wins and 34 losses. But that's not even the worst part. Between 1952 and 1970, the Redskins' record was an abysmal 91-144-12. That equates to around a .380 for wins. Disgusting.
Light almost came to the horizon when Vince Lombardi was selected as head coach. The Redskins went 7-5-1 under Lombardi. Unfortunately, Vince succumbed to cancer on the eve of the 1970 season.
Those that are still with me, don't worry, it gets better. Literally.
January 6, 1971. This was the day that the Redskins would begin to climb out of their hole. The Redskins would sign former Los Angeles Rams head coach George Allen to lead the team. And lead he would.
Just as Shanahan has, (Don't think I'm comparing Shanny to George Allen.. seriously.. just use it as a reference), Allen demanded and was granted full authority over player/personnel decisions. This era, under Allen,would form the Washington Redskins dynasty.
Allen spent his first year acquiring veterans, from nearly all positions, to fill his squad. Not quite the ground-up build we have today. He traded, acquired, or stole 7 players from his former Los Angeles Rams. Including the ENTIRE starting linebacker corps. Try doing that nowadays. Not happening.
The George Allen era was a rebuild, a different method, but a rebuild all-the same. It is. To rebuild, is to re-model, or re-make. He did just that, and it may have happened faster for him than it is for Shanahan but look where it got him, a few GREAT seasons, and one Superbowl. The George Allen era can officially be used as the reason for a lot of people's loyalty to this team.
My point behind this is: Have faith. This really isn't the worst we have been through. As a fanbase, or franchise.
Perhaps the most important win of Allen's 1971 season will be discussed tomorrow in this week's Flashback Friday post.
Read more articles and gameday info at The Burgundy Warpath