What are the worst moments for each NFL franchise? Yahoo Sports provides our opinion, which you are free to disagree with (and we’re sure you will).
Three week prior to the 1940 NFL championship game, the Washington Redskins beat the Chicago Bears 7-3. Fast forward to Dec. 8 and, well, things went just a wee-bit differently. Twenty-one points in the first quarter, seven in the second, 26 in the third and 19 more in the fourth added up to 73-0 Bears, a shellacking that is still … the most points ever scored and the largest margin of victory in league history. To this day this is the benchmark of blowouts, and until it’s broken (if?), the Redskins will remain the biggest losers ever.
4. RG3 tears his ACL
Hindsight is, of course, 20/20, but by the wild card round of the 2012 playoffs, Robert Griffin III’s knee was hanging on by maybe a couple of threads, if we’re being generous. He had taken brutal hits throughout the year – an ugly collision with Haloti Ngata in Week 14 among them – and on a chewed-up Fedex Field turf against a vicious Seattle Seahawks defense, his knee finally gave out. Keep in mind the Redskins gave up an absolute fortune to draft him that spring – a second rounder and two future first-round picks. Griffin was never the same after, nor close to it. Did he come back too quickly? Should he have been playing in that game in the first place? Was it Mike Shanahan’s fault? Whatever it was, it forced the Redskins to start anew just months after drafting the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
3. Lawrence Taylor ends Joe Theismann’s career
Legends should go out as such: on their own terms, with their heads held high. Instead, Theismann left writhing in pain on the RFK Stadium turf and eventually carried off on a stretcher. It happened on “Monday Night Football” before a national audience on a November night in 1985. Theismann took a pitch back from John Riggins on an attempted flea-flicker but was under immediate duress. Lawrence Taylor leapt in the air to bring down the 36-year-old quarterback, landing on Theismann’s lower leg, bending his knee at an impossible angle. Taylor immediately called for help from the sidelines, signaling that something was not right. And it wasn’t. Theismann suffered a compound fracture of his tibia, with the bone poking out of his skin. It was a horrific moment, not just for Theismann, but for the franchise. Even though Theismann was no longer really an effective player at that point, he was an absolute legend. He had joined the organization at the end of the George Allen era (with aging legends Billy Kilmer and Sonny Jurgensen ahead of him on the depth chart), survived the Jack Pardee era and jumpstarted the Joe Gibbs era with a Super Bowl ring in Gibbs’ second year in charge. To see him go out like this was tragic.
2. Jack Squirek’s pick-six in Super Bowl XVIII
The Redskins were favored by three points over the Los Angeles Raiders heading into Super Bowl XVIII. They lost by 29. Their league-best run defense was gashed for over 200 yards, 191 of which came from Marcus Allen. Their league-best offense found the end zone just once. It was an awful day all-around and no play summed it up better than Jack Squirek’s interception. With just 12 seconds before the half and the Redskins backed up deep in their own territory, they ran a screen. The play was a designed fake to the right, so when quarterback Joe Theismann swung back to his left and lobbed a pass toward running back Joe Washington, he didn’t expect that Squirek would be there. Except that he was, the second-year linebacker not falling for the misdirection, but instead picking the pass off at the five and strolling into the end zone for a game-crushing touchdown. Going into halftime down 14-3 wouldn’t have been ideal, but still OK considering how good this team was. But going in down 21-3 was a whole different animal. The Redskins scored on the opening drive of the second half, but that’s as close as they’d get in a 38-9 drubbing.
1. The death of Sean Taylor
At home nursing an injury on Nov. 26, 2007, Sean Taylor was in his bedroom when burglars broke into his house around 1:45 a.m. Upon confronting the intruders, Taylor was shot in the leg, severing his femoral artery. Taylor had lost copious amounts of blood by the time he arrived at the hospital and was put in a coma. He died a day later, the life of one of the NFL’s most promising young stars stopped short at just 24 years old. Drafted in 2004 with the fifth overall pick by the Redskins, Taylor earned two Pro Bowl selections, one posthumously, and was named first-team All-Pro in 2007. Upon his death, an outpouring of sympathy and support came in from around the United States, but especially from Washington D.C. and Miami, the two places he had called home. The following week, every helmet in the league had a No. 21 decal on it, and the Redskins took the field with 10 men on their first defensive play. The team rallied, winning three of its final four games to sneak into the playoffs. But that would be their last postseason berth for a while, as the Redskins finished last in the NFC East in each of the following four seasons.