Say what you will about the franchise name “Washington Commanders,” but the name change was just about the only way this team has been amusing and/or relevant since the 20th century ended – and you know NFLbets is talking about NFL bettors, too: Between 2001 and ’21, the Washington Whatevers went a pitiable 1-5 SU/2-4 ATS in the playoffs.
Between 2004 and ’20, not one team repeated as NFC East champion, the longest such streak in NFL history. Six teams was the division won by the Philadelphia Eagles, five by the Dallas Cowboys and three each by the New York Giants and Washington.
So, post the name change, can NFLbets retcon “Washington Commanders” into the team’s history…?
The NFL team founded in Boston in 1932 was originally called the Braves, and these teams were a mostly forgettable lot excepting the ’36 season, when the team’s 7-5 record was just enough to get them into the championship game, where they’d lose 21-6 to the Green Bay Packers.
Things changed in 1937 with the move of the team to Washington and, more importantly, the arrival of Sammy Baugh to lead the offense. Baugh would ultimately become the NFL’s first true superstar quarterback, leading Washington to five championship games and two titles – though to be fair, he was the starting quarterback for the infamous 73-0 beatdown by the Chicago Bears in ’40.
But beginning with the downside of Baugh’s career in 1946, Washington suffered once of those droughts that can befall a football franchise: The team didn’t make the postseason again until 1971. That, of course, was the first season of mastermind George Allen as head coach after he’d come over from the Los Angeles Rams. Washington returned to winning under Allen’s command with five playoffs runs in six years, but could never win the big one; the franchise would need Joe Gibbs for that.
Gibbs took over as head coach in 1982 and immediately got Washington its first Super Bowl win. (Sure, it was the strike year, but still.) They made a return visit for XVIII, then winning Super Bowls XXII and XXVI, taking out a trio of 80s/early 90s Super Bowl beatdogs in the process: the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills.
Ultimately, in the 10 seasons spanning 1982 to 1991 – all coached by Gibbs – the Commanders ran up an insane 15-4 SU/14-5 ATS record in postseason play.
Head coach Joe Gibbs retired following the 1992 season and, three decades out, NFL bettors really have to wonder whether this team will ever be competitive again. To say that things just haven’t been the same for Washington football since is an understatement on par with “gee, Jimmy Johnson sure did get the better of that Herschel Walker trade.”
And just in case you think NFLbets is exaggerating, let’s put things this way: In the 30 seasons since Gibbs’s departure, Washington has employed 11 head coaches. The only one of these to get the Commanders into the postseason twice was … Joe Gibbs, who came out of retirement to coach in Washington from 2004 to ’07. Between 1993 and 2022, the C’s went just 3-7 SU (but 6-4 ATS!) in all playoff games – and two of the SU/ATS wins were Gibbs’s!
Until further notice, then, NFL bettors may want to keep the Commanders in the “do not wager” column…
No matter what you call them, the Washington Commanders are rarely worth the betting – and haven’t really been so since the early 1990s, and the stats are just crazy. Like, would you believe that, between 1992 and 2022, this team is not only 3-7 SU (but 6-4 ATS!) in all playoff games but that they were only postseason favorites twice in the 30 years?