Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The Forgotten Dynasty
Ahh Super Bowl time. The biggest sporting event in our great country. A time of year when ESPN and NFL Network shows often look back and reflect on the greatest Super Bowl teams of all time. It's a nostalgic time. The great players. The great moments. The great Dynasties.
There have been some great Dynasties in the NFL. Whether it be the 1940's Chicago Bears, the 1960's Green Bay Packers. Or the 1970's Pittsburgh Steelers, The San Francisco 49ers of the '80s, and the Dallas Cowboys of the '90s. I guess one could also say the New England Patriots of the 2000's. Seemingly every decade has had a dynasty. What constitutes a dynasty anyways? Is it a long run of sustained success? Is it winning multiple championships in a short amount of time? One or the other? Both?
The 1960's Packers won five titles in a seven year span including the first two Super Bowls. The Monsters of the Midway won four NFL Championships during a seven year run in the 1940's. Those are definitely Dynasties. The Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70's were the first NFL franchise to win four Super Bowls and they did it in a six year window. No one can argue about the 49ers dominance of the 1980's. San Francisco matched the Steelers remarkable record of four Super Bowl titles in a decade by winning four from 1981-1989 and tacked on another championship in '94 for good measure.
The Cowboys of the '90s are an interesting Dynasty. Dallas won three Super Bowls in four years from '92-'95. The one year Dallas didn't win it they lost to San Francisco in the NFC Championship game. A dominate four year run for sure. The New England Patriots of the 2000's won their three Super Bowls in a four year span ( '01-'04 ) much like Dallas did the previous decade. These are the Dynasties that always get talked about this time of year. These teams, the "Greatest Teams of All Time", are the teams that get all the attention and love from the aforementioned networks.
I want to talk about, what I believe to be, a forgotten Dynasty. This time of year always makes me feel nostalgic. I always think back to my childhood and reflect back on just how great my Washington Redskins were. That's right! The Redskins! I know what you are probably thinking: "The Redskins? A Dynasty? No chance!" Well, you would be wrong in thinking that! The Redskins won three Super Bowls, played in four, during a ten year stretch from 1982-1991. During that time Washington played in five NFC Championship games. Their one NFC Championship game loss came at the hands of the New York football Giants in 1986. The Giants, you remember, would go on to win the Super Bowl that year.
The '82 Redskins finished a strike-shortened season at 8-1, beating Miami 27-17 in Super Bowl XVII. The following year saw the Redskins finish 14-2 on their way to setting several NFL records for offensive production. Including points scored in a season with 541 and John Riggins set the touchdown record with 24. Unfortunately the Burgundy and Gold got steamrolled by the L.A. Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII. I Still hate the Raiders. Third graders can be pretty cruel. That '83 Redskins team is still recognized as one of the best Redskins teams.
The 1987 version of the Redskins would finish the regular season at 11-4 ( another strike cost the NFL one game ). Washington would go on to crush the Denver Broncos, 42-10, in one of the most lopsided Super Bowls in NFL history. The Skins second quarter offensive explosion is still one of the most remarkable quarters of football in NFL history. The '91 Redskins would get off to the best start in franchise history. Racing out to an 11-0 start on their way to another dominate regular season of 14-2. Super Bowl XXVI would see the Redskins manhandle the high powered, no huddle, offense of the Buffalo Bills 37-24. That game was 17-0 at halftime, 24-0 midway through the third quarter, and 37-10 before coach Joe Gibbs called off the dogs.
Each one of the Redskins three Super Bowl wins were by double digit points. Every one of those Super Bowl games the Skins set records and had memorable performances. You cannot watch or read a list of greatest Super Bowl moments and not see or read about John Riggins, Doug Williams, Ricky Sanders, or Timmy Smith. The Redskins individual performances get recognized but the era does not.
Washington would only have one losing season during their run. A 7-9 campaign in 1988 that was marred by injuries and inconsistent play by a rookie quarterback named Mark Rypien. Seven playoff appearances during the ten year run from '82-'91. Two of the non-playoff teams finished the regular season with records of 10-6, hardly bad seasons. So I am talking about seven playoff teams that played in five NFC Championship games, winning four of them. Played in four Super Bowls and won three of them in dominating fashion. Many records were set. Regular season Most Valuable Player awards were won. Hall of Fame players. Yet how many times have you heard or seen the Redskins mentioned with those other all time greats?
Sustained excellence plus multiple championships equals Dynasty. It's time for the '82-'91 Washington Redskins to get the respect they truly deserve and to be mentioned along with the other great Dynasties of the NFL. The '82-'91 Washington Redskins, the forgotten Dynasty no more.