This franchise was actually founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1932 and named the Braves. In those days, professional football teams often bore the names of the popular local baseball teams of the time. The Detroit Lions (Tigers), Chicago Bears (Cubs), New York Giants, etc. Baseball was king. It was thought that the struggling game of football might gain in popularity with recognizable nicknames.
The Boston Braves football team shared Braves Stadium with the Boston Braves baseball team. In 1933, the team moved their home games to Fenway Park because of a rent increase. On July 5th of that year they announced their name change to the Redskins.
Ironically, the Redskins first head coach was Williams Henry "Lone Star" Dietz, Native American (Sioux). Here's where things get sketchy. There are accounts that Washington owner George Preston Marshall named his team the Redskins in honor of Dietz. Meanwhile, there are many that believe Dietz was not Indian after all, merely pretending. He did play his college football at the Carslisle Industrial Institute with Jim Thorpe and was coached by Pop Warner.
After struggling with attendance at Fenway Park, Marshall moved the Redskins to Washington D.C. in 1937. That first year in D.C. the team drafted one of football's all-time greats, Sammy Baugh. The move and the play of this future Hall of Famer electrified this franchise.
Why the names of the Braves and then Redskins? Washington owner George Preston Marshall was a member of Tammany Hall. This was a powerful political organization founded in New York City in 1786. They were named for Tamanend, a Native American leader of the Lenape. Their symbol was an Indian Chief.
Tune in tomorrow for more!