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Redskins #7—A Cold, Hard Fact?

Jun 19, 2008, 6:51 AM EDT

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According to the guys at the blog ColdHardFootballFacts.com, the Washington Redskins are the NFL’s #7 franchise.

Not this year. Not over the past few years.

Ever.

CHFF rated all 32 current NFL franchises from #32 to #1. The rankings were far from cold, hard facts, although in the introduction they tried to make it sound like they used objective criteria.

So here’s what we did: we tackled the challenge of ranking the franchises from the point of view of the fans, using our Misery-to-Joy Theory of Fan Relativity. Essentially, we measured the amount of misery a franchise has forced upon its fans against the amount of celebratory games, moments and titles a franchise has gifted upon its fans.

The fans who have endured the most misery will find their teams at the bottom of the list. The fans who have enjoyed the most celebratory moments will find their teams at the top of the list.

They don’t reveal any sort of formula, though, so it seems that a high degree of subjectivity was the order of the day.

Regardless of the method used, the CHFF guys put a lot of work into it and the list is fairly valid. You can’t argue much, for example, that the Arizona/Phoenix/St. Louis/Chicago Cardinals are the worst franchise in NFL history. One title in the title game era and that came in 1947. If it’s before I was born, and it is, it was a long time ago.

And it’s also hard to dispute their ranking of the Green Bay Packers at the top of the heap. Twelve titles, more than anyone else, and they claimed three in a row twice. No other team has accomplished a threepeat even once.

The Redskins were ranked seventh on the strength of their five NFL titles and the fact that those championships came in distinctly different eras. They also have titles in four different decades.

Unlike many, including a lot of Redskins fans, the CHFF crew recalls an upset that was on par with the Giants’ win over the Patriots earlier this year.

It never got any better for Redskins fans than it did on: Dec. 13, 1942

The Redskins, 14-point underdogs, pulled off one of the great shockers in pro football history as they bested the undefeated Bears, 14-6, in the 1942 NFL championship game.

The 11-0 Bears entered the game as the single most dominant team in the history of the NFL, outscoring opponents 376 to 84. They were unstoppable … or at least it seemed that way. The Redskins (who were 10-1) not only shut out the juggernaut Bears offense (the only Chicago points came off a fumble forced by the defense), they produced one of the great goal-line stands in history: the Redskins stuffed the Bears on four straight plays after Chicago had reached 1st-and-goal at the 2.

Of the six teams ranked ahead of the Redskins, I have an issue with one of them, the #5 San Francisco 49ers. The Niners have the same number of championships that the Redskins do, five, but all of those came in the 1980’s. They entered the NFL in 1950, so they have zero titles—and zero appearances in the championship game—in five of the six decades they’ve been around. That seems to be a lot of “moments of misery” to me.

But, regardless, seventh still is a pretty good ranking for the Skins. That puts them in the top 25% and that seems to me to be about where they belong.

Hats off to the guys at Cold, Hard Football Facts for having a sense of history that starts before they were born and coming up with some excellent work.

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