In the NFL’s stop-watch era, when the 40 time became seemingly as important as any on-field statistic, Green was the league’s first speed demon. A perennial winner of the league’s fastest man competitions, Green became recognized as one of the NFL’s premier cornerbacks for close to two decades. In 20 seasons, all with the Redskins, Green had a team-record 54 interceptions, which he returned for 621 yards and six touchdowns. He shares the NFL record for most seasons scoring a TD with Jerry Rice (20) and the NFL record for most seasons with one team (20, Jackie Slater). Among the records the ‘Ageless Wonder’ holds on his own are oldest player with an interception (41) and most consecutive seasons with at least one interception (19). The seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion was a Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner and a 2008 inductee into the Hall of Fame.
WR Art Monk
The first-round pick in 1980 combined size and speed to put together one of the great receiving careers of his time. A three-time Pro Bowler, Monk played the first 14 of his 16 seasons in Washington. In 1984, he led the NFL with 106 receptions, becoming the first player in history to eclipse the 100-catch mark and later became the first player ever to nab 900 career passes. He also retired with the NFL record for consecutive games with a reception at 183. A true Redskin, Monk was on the team for all three of the franchise’s Super Bowl victories and was a member of the NFL’s 1980s All-Decade Team. Fittingly, the Redskins’ greatest all-time receiver joined the greatest all-time cornerback — Darrell Green — in the Hall of Fame in 2008. Monk’s induction was notable for the length of his ovation, one of the longest in the Hall’s history.
RB John Riggins
After five seasons with the New York Jets, Riggins joined the Redskins in 1976, but struggled with injuries and took some time to become a fan favorite. However, after a contract dispute in 1980, Riggins scored 13 TDs in 1981, but finally took off in the 1982 postseason. The Diesel dominated the playoffs, including his amazing run (which included a team playoff-record 185 yards against Minnesota) with an MVP performance in Super Bowl XVII. In the game, he ran for a then-Super Bowl record 185 yards, including perhaps the most iconic run in NFL history, a fourth-down run that turned into a 43-yard score that gave the Redskins the lead for good in the fourth quarter and the Redskins’ first championship in 40 years. Riggins followed that up with consecutive seasons of leading the NFL in rushing TDs, including a then-NFL record 24 in 1983. Riggins holds numerous rushing records for players supposedly past their prime, including oldest player with 1,200 and 1,300 yards in a season and oldest player to eclipse 100 yards, 150 yards and 175 yards in a playoff game. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.
QB Sammy Baugh
Believed by many to be the first great true ‘passing’ QB, Baugh’s contributions came not only in wins and championships, but in helping revolutionize football. Baugh is generally credited with making the forward the pass an integral part of NFL offenses. After moving his team from Boston to Washington before the 1937 season, George Preston Marshall chose Baugh with the sixth pick in the draft. The dividends came immediately, as Baugh led the league in passing as a rookie with 1,127 yards and established an NFL record with 91 completions (while also playing punter and defensive back). The season culminated with Baugh throwing for 335 yards in the championship game against the Bears (which remain the most passing yards by a rookie in a postseason game) and leading and the Redskins to their first NFL championship. His all-around greatness was perhaps best on display in 1943, when Baugh led the league in passing, punting and interceptions. By the time Baugh retired in 1952 he held 13 NFL records in passing, punting and defense. His records for most time leading the league in passing (six seasons, tied with Steve Young) and most time leading the league in lowest interception percentage (five) still stand. The seven-time All-NFL selection was also known as the ultimate competitor. When asked whether a dropped pass in the end zone by a receiver would have made a difference in the ‘Skins famed 73-0 loss to Chicago in the 1940 NFL title game, he responded, “Yeah. It would have made it 73-7.” Baugh was among the Hall of Fame’s inaugural 17-member class in 1963.
QB Sonny Jurgensen
No passer in the 1960s was as prolific or entertaining as Jurgensen. He led the NFL in passing with more than 3,000 yards five times in the decade, twice with the Eagles and three more times after coming to the Redskins. In his 11 seasons in Washington, he threw for 22,858 yards and 179 TDs. He made four Pro Bowls with the Redskins and set a seemingly endless string of individual records. In 1967, he broke his own record with 3,747 yards passing while also setting records with 508 attempts and 288 completions. Two seasons later, he led the league in attempts, completions, completion percentage and passing yards, while also setting a team record for passing TDs in a season (31), which amazingly still stands today. And one record he will never lose (unless the NFL field is lengthened): He has thrown a 99-yard TD pass. He has the Redskins’ highest career passer rating at 85.0 and is second in franchise history in passing yards, attempts, completions and TDs. Though he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983, he never won any major award. But he earned an accolade perhaps greater than any trophy could bestow. After taking over as Redskins coach in 1969, legendary coach Vince Lombardi said of his QB, “Jurgensen is a great quarterback . . . He may be the best the league has ever seen. He is the best I have seen.”