Quantifying the Drought

Let me take you on a trip down memory lane, Redskins fans, back in the day when you were young (you’re not a kid anymore)… 

While starting the 1991 season 11-0, local radio station WPGC debuted weekly raps with lyrics about the most recent triumph over music from the Geto Boy’s “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”… chorus of course changed to “aw yeah, the Skins can’t lose homie!”  Only a Week 13 home loss to Dallas (chorus changed to “aw year, we won’t lose again homie!”) and a defeat at Philly in final week – with home field advantage already secure – kept Washington from a perfect season.  Life was good.

On January 4, 1992 the home team defeated the Atlanta Falcons 24-7 in front of the RFK faithful to advance to the NFC Championship Game.  The 17-point margin of victory was smaller than the regular season meeting between the teams when the Skins prevailed 56-17 in a rainy RFK in early November, but still wide enough.  A week later the Lions – beaten 45-0 in Week 1 – would also suffer their second RFK defeat, losing 41-10.

Heading into that Championship Game – the team’s fifth appearance in 10 seasons – it would pretty hard for any fan to fathom what lay ahead.  The Redskins have not made an appearance in the game since, while woeful teams from that year such as the Packers (4-12), Charges (4-12), Cardinals (4-12), Rams (3-13), Buccaneers (3-13), and Colts (1-15) have all made the NFL’s final four since then.

After making 50% of all NFC championship games over the span of a decade, Washington now owns the third-longest active Conference Championship Game appearance drought.  At 17 seasons, the Redskins are tied with 1991 foe Detroit, and behind only Cincinnati (20) and Cleveland (19).  Old DC also own the fifth-longest division title drought (9 seasons) and ninth-longest Super Bowl appearance drought (17).

The team that finished 14-2 in 1991 and won the NFC East by three games has won only one division crown (1999) since.  After not finishing outside the top three in the division for ten straight seasons, the Redskins have done exactly that six times since.  After winning 16 playoff games (including Super Bowls XVII, XXII, and XXVI) and appearing in 22 from 1982-1992, Washington has won just two and appeared in just five since.  After winning 66% of all regular seasons games from 1972-1991 and 70% from 1982-91, Washington has won just 44% since.

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