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Cities behind the teams: Washington DC

Posted Dec 26, 2017

We go behind the curtain of each NFL team's home city every week presented by Visit The USA.

The capital of the United States. The home of the White House. One of the most powerful cities in the world. Washington. The DC in the city’s name stands for ‘District of Columbia’ because Washington was created by the states of Maryland and Virginia each donating land for the federal district. After the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, it emphasised the need for the national government not to rely on any state for its own security.

Washington DC is situated on the banks of the Potomac river on the east coast (the opposite side of the country to the state of Washington!) – on an area which was settled by Native Americans at least 4,000 years ago. The city was created by George Washington, first President of the United States, who combined the two towns of Alexandria, Virginia, and Georgetown, Maryland, to create the federal district.  As the capital, Washington’s history is long and varied. During the civil war, the Virginia-donated land was returned to pro-slavery Virginia but then returned to the capital at the end of the war. It was also a key site for the civil rights movement and experienced three days of rioting after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Of course, it would be a big ask for any NFL team to live up to the excitement of the Capital. The Washington Redskins have done their best throughout their history. The Redskins originated as the Boston Braves in 1932 but changed their name to the Boston Redskins when they moved to the home of the Red Sox at Fenway Park.  They moved south to the capital in 1937 and in the same year won their first league championship.

The Redskins have intense divisional rivalries with the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. The  Redskins and Cowboys have won 31 combined division titles since 1961 and in 2016 their Thanksgiving day game was the most-watched regular-season game in Fox history. Their rivalry with the Eagles is most notable for the ‘body bag game’ in 1990 where nine Washington Redskins players left the game with injuries.

The Redskins have had three periods of success in their history. Initial early success came between 1936 and 1945, when they went to the NFL Championship game six times, winning two of them. Their longest period of modern success came between 1982 and 1991, when they won the Natinal Football Conference four times and went on to win the Super Bowl in the 1982, 1987 and 1991 seasons.   They are one of only five franchises to record more than 600 regular season and post-season wins.

The Redskins currently sit third in their division with six wins and eight losses. Their offense, led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, has not been as explosive this season and they will be looking to bounce back next season.

Fortunately, they have the support of the capital behind them and if their season does end early, there are numerous sights and attractions with which to distract themselves!

Of course, any visitors should try and visit the White House while they are in Washington. Take a trip down the National Mall, home to memorials which trace the history of the United States. From the Washington Monument to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and of course, the Lincoln Memorial.

Washington has also been described as ‘museum heaven’ with the National Air & Space Museum, Museum of American History, and the Museum of Natural History. For art-lovers there is the Corcoran Gallery, the American Art Museum, the Freer gallery of Art, the Museum of African Art and Museum of Women in the Arts.

Washington is also known for its nightlife with three major universities being situated n its metropolitan area and is also known as one of the best restaurant cities in the U.S.

A final Washington fact for you is that it’s sister city in the United Kingdom is not our capital, London but in fact, Sunderland, which is the ancestral home of George Washington.

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