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Will the 2019 Redskins be worse than the 1961 Redskins?

It’s not out of the question...

In 1960, the Washington Redskins had a bad season, going 1-9-2 in a 12-game schedule. The following season saw a lot of changes for the NFL and the Redskins franchise.

The league added a team — the Minnesota Vikings, and moved the Dallas Cowboys from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference.

In addition, the NFL expanded the schedule from 12 to 14 games, and eliminated the bye week by having an even number of teams again.

For the Redskins, the team fired coach Mike Nixon, who had gone 4-18-2 in two seasons, promoting Bill McPeak, who had been one of Nixon’s assistants. McPeak had played his college ball at the University of Pittsburgh and had been a Steelers defensive end for 9 years, after being selected in the 16th round of the 1948 draft.

Although the Redskins never had a winning season under McPeak (he had an overall 21-46-3 record as head coach), during his 5-year tenure the team acquired players (many of whom would become Hall-of-Famers) that would eventually play a part in their later winning years such as Sonny Jurgensen and Bobby Mitchell, and drafted future stars such as wide receiver Charley Taylor, tight end Jerry Smith, center Len Hauss, and linebacker Chris Hanburger.

McPeak went on to have a long career in coaching and scouting, spending twelve years as the director of scouting for the New England Patriots.

As a rookie head coach in 1961, however, he had the distinction of leading the least successful NFL campaign in Redskins history — a 1-12-1 effort that stands as the worst Redskins season in franchise history.

The team was actually 0-12-1 through 13 games, avoiding a winless season by defeating the Dallas Cowboys 34-24 in a home game on 17 December in front of 21,451 fans.

Interestingly, the Cowboys were not only the only team to lose to the Redskins in 1961, they were also the team that played to a tie with Washington at the game in Dallas in November. The Redskins managed to lose twice to each of the following teams: Eagles, Giants, Browns, Steelers, Cardinals, as well as one game each to the 49ers and Colts.

Is it possible that the 2019 Redskins could set a new franchise record for futility?

Could this team go 1-15 or 0-16?

Prior to the start of the season, I didn’t think so, but that was when I thought the Redskins defense was going to be among the top-10 in the league, and that the offense would play a slightly more wide-open version of last year’s ball control and field position game.

Through three games, the offense has been close to what I anticipated, with less success running than I would have expected, but the defense has been a tragedy, with opponents racking up an average of 402 yards and 31 points per game.

Suddenly, the Redskins look like they offer a “get well” game for the Giants, where — for most of the off season and preseason — I thought it would be the other way around.

Every team in the league that has the Dolphins on the schedule has that game marked as an automatic “win” — but maybe not the Redskins. Could this Washington team be so out-of-sorts that they could travel to Miami in Week 6 and come away with a loss?

If the Redskins lose to the Giants today and the Dolphins two weeks later, they would probably be 0-6 and it would be hard to see where a win would come from in the remaining schedule given the noise that a six-game losing streak would generate. Jay Gruden would never survive that (there have been reports that he will not survive a loss to the Giants today), which would mean a certain coaching change, a likely quarterback change, and a lost season.

The 2019 Redskins could become only the third team in history to go 0-16.

To avoid that, the team needs to play superior football today. The Redskins need to go to New York and come away with a win.

A loss today could be the tipping point, leading to the worst season on record for a Redskins team. Or a win could be the start of a turnaround and salvaging a respectable season.

The 1961 Redskins were the worst team in franchise history. I’d really like it to stay that way.


What’s the most likely outcome for the 2019 Redskins?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    (63 votes)
  • 11%
    (56 votes)
  • 54%
    2-4 wins
    (279 votes)
  • 21%
    5-8 wins
    (110 votes)
508 votes total Vote Now