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Adding to the legacy: the 90 Greatest in Washington franchise history

Let’s talk about who needs to be added to the list

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Drew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images

The franchise is about to celebrate its 90th anniversary (1932-2022).

The Redskins published a list of the “70 Greatest Redskins” at the time of its 70th anniversary, and “80 Greatest Redskins” at the time of its 80th anniversary.

With the franchise’s 90th anniversary about to arrive on July 9th, the team has announced that it wants to involve fans in expanding the list to the “90 Greatest”.

As part of the 90th season celebrations and commemorations, the team also will launch a “Command Legacy” website on July 9, which will feature historical moments celebrating the rich 90-year history of the franchise.

On the site, fans will have the opportunity to help decide which ten players will be added to the current “80 Greatest” list to make up the “90 Greatest” list.

On the team’s 70th and 80th anniversaries, players and coaches who were significant contributors to the team’s storied history were selected to be part of the 70 and 80 Greatest lists for the Washington franchise. The team will reveal the “90 Greatest” list during the 2022 season. Voting will run from July 9th through the Commanders home preseason game on Saturday August 13th.

To help get everyone warmed up and ready to vote, I thought we could discuss which 10 names should be added to the list.

Click here to see the list of the 80 Greatest Redskins

I’m not sure what criteria the team will use for its official nominations and voting, but I do know that the list isn’t restricted to players (for example, Joe Gibbs is on the current list of the 80 Greatest).

The last 10 names added to the list (in 2012) were:

  • Sean Taylor
  • Joe Bugel
  • Bobby Beathard
  • Lavar Arrington
  • Terry Hermling
  • Jon Jansen
  • Roy Jefferson
  • Richie Petitbon
  • Chris Samuels
  • Clinton Portis

To keep this article manageable however, I am focusing on players, and looking at rosters from 15 seasons (2008-2022) for the purposes of providing my own nominations. I am including players who are still active in the NFL, though I am sure they won’t be eligible for official voting — I’ve done this only for discussion purposes.

Feel free to use different criteria in the comments. For example, if you want to discuss only retired players, or if you want to consider 20th century players who have been overlooked on past lists, that’s fine. Also, I haven’t listed coaches or front office staff, so you might want to cast the net more widely that way.

What I’d like to do is generate some discussion around which 10 names should be added to the official list this season. Hopefully, we can help give each other some clarity so that Hogs Haven members can join the official voting in July and August, fully confident that they know who should be added.

Here are my nominations (not limited to 10 names) to ‘prime the pump’ and get you thinking:

Active players (maybe for the 100 Greatest list in 2032?)

  • Terry McLaurin
  • Chase Roullier
  • Jonathan Allen
  • Tress Way
  • Brandon Scherff
  • Ryan Kerrigan
  • Trent Williams
  • Jamison Crowder
  • Preston Smith
  • Kirk Cousins

Retired players

  • Jordan Reed
  • Chris Thompson
  • Adrian Peterson
  • DeAngelo Hall
  • Pierre Garcon
  • Desean Jackson
  • Chris Baker
  • Darrell Young
  • Alfred Morris
  • Robert Griffin III
  • Brian Orakpo
  • London Fletcher
  • Reed Doughty ;-)
  • Nick Sundberg
  • Santana Moss
  • Chris Cooley
  • Mike Sellers
  • Jason Campbell

Who did I miss?

Which pre-2008 players need to be recognized?

Should any coaches or front office staff be added?

Use the comments section to identify anyone that you think should be added to the franchise’s “Greatest” list. You can focus on one individual and state your case, or you may want to list your 10 nominees. The goal is to have a lively discussion and get some refinement of opinions.

I know there will be a number of people who will want to use this opportunity to state that this franchise has no history because it changed the name of the team. You have the right to type that comment, though I have two thoughts of my own that I’d like to share:

(a) I find the comments tiresome - the name change is a fait accompli. If your connection to the team is severed, then I don’t know why you’re still here. If you still feel connected enough to be a part of the community, then I don’t get the argument that this is “an expansion team without any history”.

(b) I don’t agree. NFL franchises move; they also change team names. Aside from the very unique situation with the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens, the history stays with the franchise. Earl Campbell played for the Houston Oilers, but if you check the Tennessee Titans all-time rushing leaders, you’ll find him listed 2nd on the list behind Eddie George, who played in both Houston and Tennessee. The Washington Commanders started out in Boston; they have been called the Braves, the Redskins, the Washington Football Team, and now the Commanders. Sammy Baugh, Doug Williams, Joe Theismann, Jason Campbell, RG3, Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke have all played quarterback for this team. It is not an expansion team without a history. The history is long and rich. If you want to embrace the legacy of Joe Gibbs, John Riggins and Sean Taylor, then, in my opinion, you have to accept that a name change (and this franchise is on it’s 2nd city and 4th team name) doesn’t erase that history.

So, while I understand the desire to push back at combining the Commanders name and the Redskins legacy, it is inevitable, and it seems that the only choices are to accept that or fight a futile battle against a decision that has already been made.

My view is that no one will ever try to discount the on-field achievements of Terry McLaurin, the courageous comeback of Alex Smith, or the Cinderella season of Taylor Heinicke because the team was called the Washington Football Team when they occurred. They are part of our franchise history, and the team name in 2020-21 will eventually be just a footnote in Wikipedia — not a defining watershed event in those players’ careers.

Yes, the team name has changed, but the 90th anniversary of the franchise is soon to arrive, and it’s a good time to honor and celebrate the achievements of the franchise’s greatest players and coaches.

So, let’s get the discussion started.


Who is the ONE player from my list of nominees above that should be an absolute lock to go onto the 90 Greatest list?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Jason Campbell
    (1 vote)
  • 14%
    Chris Cooley
    (75 votes)
  • 28%
    Santana Moss
    (153 votes)
  • 47%
    London Fletcher
    (256 votes)
  • 0%
    Desean Jackson
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Pierre Garcon
    (10 votes)
  • 1%
    DeAngelo Hall
    (10 votes)
  • 1%
    Jordan Reed
    (6 votes)
  • 4%
    None of the above
    (23 votes)
535 votes total Vote Now


Should Sean McVay someday be considered for inclusion on the list (say, the 120 Greatest)?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    (39 votes)
  • 90%
    (370 votes)
409 votes total Vote Now