The Washington Redskins are a storied franchise in the NFL, with their history dating back to 1932 when they were the Boston Braves. They’ve won three Super Bowls and five NFL championships overall. The team has had legends like Joe Theismann, Art Monk, and Darrell Green wear their uniform.
In current times, the team has fallen on tough times — both on the field and in the stands. Here’s a look at how bad things have gotten for the once-proud franchise.
A steep decline in attendance
Over the last decade, the Redskins have suffered the biggest attendance decline in the NFL and the fifth-biggest decline of any team in the four major professional sports leagues in the U.S., according to an analysis by financial site 24/7 Wall St.
In 2008, the Redskins’ average home attendance was 88,604, or about 96.6% of the capacity of FedEx Field. In 2018, their average attendance was 61,028, or 74.4% of capacity. That represents a 31.1% decline during that 10-year period.
The next NFL team on the list was the Bengals, whose attendance dropped 21.4% over that same period. So that is a gap of nearly 10% between the Redskins and the next closest team in the league. It has gotten so bad that the team has admitted to lying about a season ticket waiting list.
Mistakes have been made
While some of the attendance drop could be linked to people not wanting to support the team until it changes its controversial name, the Redskins’ ownership and front office have also made mistakes that are turning fans off.
During the period from ’08-’18, the team went 72-104-1, thanks in part to owner Dan Snyder and president Bruce Allen, who has held various positions in the team’s front office since 2010.
One of the team’s biggest downfalls in recent years has been poor drafts. As NFL analyst Warren Sharp points out, of the 52 players Allen has drafted whose four-year rookie contracts have expired, only seven received another contract with the team and just one — RB Chris Thompson — received multiple contracts.
Further to the point, 34 of the 52 are now either out of the NFL or free agents not currently signed with a team. Even Robert Griffin III, who was supposed to be the team’s franchise quarterback, didn’t pan out.
The Redskins’ 2019 outlook
The team’s remaining fans hope things will get better sooner than later. So how are things looking for this season? Not great. They used the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft on QB Dwayne Haskins, but if he’s not ready to be the starter to begin the season they’re going to be stuck with a combination of Case Keenum and Colt McCoy at the most important position on offense.
Unfortunately, they don’t have much in the receiving corps either, with WR Josh Doctson as their top receiver. They have serviceable veterans at tight end with Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, but Reed is injury-prone and has never played a full 16-game season in his career and Davis is 35 years old.
The Redskins’ most promising position on offense is at running back, where they have Derrius Guice. The 2018 second-round pick missed all of last season with a torn ACL he suffered in his first preseason game. Thankfully, he is expected to be ready for the Eagles in Week 1. The other running backs on the roster include Thompson, Adrian Peterson, and Samaje Perine. If Haskins and Guice can live up to their potential, the Redskins could be a contender in a year or two but it’s unlikely to happen in 2019.