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Remembering The 50th Anniversary Season

Posted May 29, 2012

With the Redskins' 80th Anniversary campaign underway, it's an opportunity to look back at other milestone years. Next is 1982, the team's 50th season.

With the Redskins' 80th Anniversary campaign fully underway, it's an opportunity to reflect on the storied history of the franchise.  Today, a look at the team's 50th Anniversary season.

The year was 1982, and the Redskins had a roster talented enough to knock off the rival Cowboys, winners of six-straight NFC East titles.

But on the horizon, the NFL’s first large labor dispute was looming, and the 1982 season hung in the balance.  The Redskins needed a strong leader to keep them united, and that man was second-year head coach Joe Gibbs. 

Even as the player strike split coaches from their rosters, Gibbs encouraged his players to stay internally united and focused on football. 

It was an anniversary season for the franchise, and the beginning of a golden era in Washington.  The team’s success in 1982 would launch a decade of dominance, marked by three Super Bowl Championships and an army of Hall of Fame legends.

Here is a short list of highlights from the 1982 season, beginning with the enshrinement of an all-time great:

Aug. 7, 1982: Sam Huff enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

During his time at the heart of the Redskins defense, linebacker Sam Huff was one of the greatest players in the NFL. 

During his career in New York and Washington, he played in six championship games, five Pro Bowls, and earned a trio of All-Pro nods.

He was introduced in front of a crowd of 250,000 fans in Canton, Ohio, by Cowboys head coach Tom Landry.  While the selection may have seemed strange, few knew better than Landry how destructive Huff could be to an offense.

“Sam was a dedicated player and a good student of the game,” Landry told the crowd.  “He became the symbol of the new era of the defensive star.”

Huff called the day, “the best day of my life.”

Sept. 20, 1982: First ever players’ strike begins league-wide.

The Monday morning following the Redskins 21-13 victory over the Tampa Buccaneers in Week 2, the players did not report to the facilities. 

Along with their brethren around the league, the players held a 57-day strike in the name of better pay and benefits.

Around the NFL, players picketed the facilities, as relationships soured and teams fell into disarray.  Most teams, that is, except for the Washington Redskins.

Sensing that a work stoppage was on the way, head coach Joe Gibbs arranged that players should stick together, for the good of the team. 

When the player strike ended on Nov. 21, the season was abbreviated to nine games.  The Redskins lost but one game, to the Dallas Cowboys, before surging to a Super Bowl title.

Jan. 30, 1983: Redskins Defeat Dolphins In Super Bowl Rematch

A decade before, the Dolphins rattled off the only perfect season in NFL history by stifling the Redskins in Super Bowl VII: 14-7.

Ten years later, the Redskins were out for revenge, and took the field in front of the biggest NFL audience of all-time: 103,667 strong at the Rose Bowl.

The Redskins would not lead in the game until the fourth quarter, when running back John Riggins ripped off a 43-yard rumble to paydirt.  The iconic run was the finishing touch on a 276-yard rushing performance, 166 of which came from ‘The Diesel.’

Quarterback Joe Theismann passed for a cool 143 yards and two scores, sealing the game with a late touchdown to Charlie Brown.

Final score: Redskins 27, Dolphins 17.

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