Throwback Thursday: The Last Game of the Boston Redskins

After losing a championship to the Packers, the team decamped for Washington.

On December 13, 1936, the Boston Redskins played a championship game against the Green Bay Packers at the New York Polo grounds. They lost 21-6 and never looked back, relocating permanently to Washington, D.C. for the 1937 season.

The team had played as the Boston Redskins at Fenway Park since 1932, but it had been an unhappy run. Crowds were slim, and their owner George Preston Marshall had a bad relationship with the Boston press, which he accused of ignoring his team.

“One time he was angry that a girls field hockey team was featured on the front of the sports section of one of the papers instead of his Redskins,” Redskins historian Mike Richman remembers in an NFL film on the team origins.

Even when the Redskins made it to the championship in 1936, attendance remained low. So after defeating the Giants for the eastern division title in front of a much larger crowd in New York, Marshall decided to make a change.

“Marshall decided to lobby the NFL to have the championship game played at the polo grounds,” Richman says. (Yes, the home field advantage was so useless that he willingly ceded it.) “Marshall knew at that time that because of his losses and because of his dislike for the Boston media and fans that he was going to move the team elsewhere.”

Boston’s professional football prospects remained fairly terrible for a while after. A team called the Yanks played here from 1944-1948, but the region didn’t get a franchise that stuck until the AFL formed along with the New England Patriots in 1960.

A lot has happened since the Redskins played Fenway, like oh for instance, the Civil Rights movement. That means you can thank the apathetic Boston fans of yesteryear for making the controversy surrounding the Redskins team name Washington D.C.’s burden to bear.