(photos by Brian Murphy)
Did you know that the Washington Redskins won the first three games ever played at FedEx Field?
Seriously, it’s true. Look it up.
They defeated Arizona, Jacksonville and Dallas on Monday Night Football to break in their new venue back in 1997.
Unfortunately for the home team though, wins have been much harder to come by at FedEx Field since then.
While the Redskins enjoyed tremendous success during their 36-year stretch at RFK Stadium, the house that Jack Kent Cooke built in Raljon has been a lot less hospitable for the burgundy and gold.
In fact, if the Redskins are able to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday, it will give the franchise a completely mediocre 60-60-1 regular season home record at FedEx Field.
Here’s a year-by-year breakdown of how the Redskins have fared at FedEx Field:
The Redskins started out the ’11 season with back-to-back wins over the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals … and then lost their final six home games.
In Mike Shanahan’s first season in Washington, ‘Skins fans were “treated” to five-consecutive home losses to end the 2010 campaign.
In Jim Zorn final season, the maroon and black were outscored at home by their NFC East rivals by an average score of 30-12.
A one-yard Clinton Portis touchdown run gave the Redskins a 10-3 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles and enabled the team to finish the season at .500.
Home wins over Chicago and Dallas during the final month of the season launched quarterback Todd Collins and company into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.
Troy Vincent, Sean Taylor and Nick Novak sparked an improbable come-from-behind 22-19 victory over Dallas during a thrilling November match-up.
Washington swept the NFC East at home, with the team’s only two home losses of 2005 coming against Oakland and San Diego.
Sadly, the Redskins needed to win two of their final three home games of ’04 just to finish 3-5 on the year.
The Redskins were outscored by Dallas and Philadelphia by a score of 58-7 in the final two home games of the season. Ouch.
Washington started the season 1-3 at home, before turning things around and winning the final four home games of the year.
Jeff George, Tony Banks and Kent Graham were prominently involved in this season, so let’s just pretend it never happened.
The end of the Norv Turner era. Good times.
The Redskins won their one and only home playoff game since FedEx Field opened by a score of 27-13 over Detroit in ’99.
Washington started the season 0-3 at home and 0-7 overall before quarterback Trent Green got into a groove.
Long before receiver Joshua Morgan came into our lives, wide out Michael Westbrook was the king of taking foolish penalties at the worst-possible time.
I know Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman and John Beck were on the payroll and all, but how in the world has Shanahan gone just 4-12 at FedEx Field? How is that even remotely possible for a man with two Super Bowl wins on his resume?
Just for giggles I went and looked up Shanahan’s record in home games during his time in Denver. During the regular season, his Broncos went 83-29 at home. They went a perfect 8-0 at home four different times and had a losing record at home just once (3-5 in ’99) during his 15 seasons in Denver.
Again, what on earth is going on with him at FedEx Field? Does his overly-tanned skinned not do well unless it’s in the thin air of Denver? Should the Redskins just abandon FedEx Field and petition the league to let them play their home games in their new state-of-the-art bubble?
And while I understand Zorn took over a team that qualified for the playoffs in two of the last three seasons and ran the franchise into the ground, he did still manage to go 7-9 at home during his two seasons in Washington.
Joe Gibbs 2.0 might have only gone 30-34 during his second stint with the Redskins, but he actually had a winning record at home — going 17-15 at home.
For as bad as Steve Spurrier was at the pro level (he went 12-20 with Washington), the ol’ Ball Coach still managed to go 8-8 at FedEx Field.
During Marty Schottenheimer’s season in charge, his squad went 4-4 at home and 8-8 overall.
Of course, he can only dream of being as successful as interim coach Terry Robiskie, who went undefeated at FedEx Field. Sure, he was only 1-0, but that still counts.
And then there’s Norv, who amazingly guided the Redskins to a 18-12-1 record at home during the first four seasons in the new stadium. Honestly, did you ever think you’d see a Norv Turner coached team perform at a high level than a Gibbs or Shanahan squad? Me neither.
Which brings us back to today’s team.
For all the talk of Robert Griffin III being the next Cam Newton or Mike Vick, Redskins fans should hope and pray that if he follows in the footsteps of any NFL quarterback, it’s Falcons QB Matt Ryan. Why? Because he’s gone 26-6 at home since coming to Atlanta.
If the RGIII era can start off half as successfully at that, the local fans will finally have something to look forward to each and every Sunday.