The Boston Redskins most productive year in Boston came in 1936.  It started with the first annual NFL Draft on February 8, 1936, where the Redskins had the second overall pick. Their first selection as an NFL team was Riley Smith a blocking back from Alabama. The first player selected in the draft, Heisman Trophy winner Jay Barwanger, chose not to play pro football. Because of this, Smith holds the distinction of being the first drafted player to play in the NFL. 

Also in that draft, the Redskins chose Wayne Millner,  who became a large part of their offense.  Millner was a local who played football at Salem High School and went on to star at Notre Dame. Millner and Riley Smith joined stars Cliff Battles and Turk Edwards for the 1936 season.  The next big addition that came in 1936, when Marshall hired future Hall-of-Famer Ray Flaherty as head coach.  In the following decade, Flaherty led the team to two NFL championships and four divisional titles.  Among his innovations, Flaherty is credited with inventing the screen pass.



Under new head coach Ray Flaherty and assistant coach and trainer, Roy Barker, the Redskins held their first practice at Framingham’s Municipal Stadium on August 24th. Twenty five players, eighteen from last year, were put thru an intense workout right away, and when it was over at 4:30, many were ready to call it quits.

Coach Flaherty trotted out three plays for the players to learn after tough limbering-up drills at 9:30. Then it was signal drills followed by a dummy scrimmage, with a minimum of contact work.

The program was much the same in the afternoon, although it grew hotter and hotter.  Coach Flaherty plans two, two hour sessions each day for the first week, and will add three new plays each day, until a complete playbook of 40 plays is learned.

Veterans who reported were Ernie Pinckert, Jim Barber, Henry Wiesenbaugh, Turk Edwards, Charley Malone, Eddie Kahn, Cliff Battles, Swede Olsson, Gail O'Brien. Jim Moran, Frank Bausch, Jim Musick, Larry Siemering, Ernie Concannon, Flavo Tosi, Pug Rentner, Doug Nott and Steve Sinko. The team is greatly strengthened by the addition of Riley Smith and Ed Smith, two 1935 college all stars rated as outstanding forwards passers, will have two full weeks of preparation before engaging in an exhibition game on September 6th.

The first casualty of the season occurred when Flavio Tosi dislocated his shoulder on August 28th.  He is expected to be out for two weeks.  The Redskins held their first real scrimmage, with Coach Flaherty keeping the boys hitting for over an hour.  Much time was spent kicking and passing with Battles, Rentner, Nott and Ed Smith getting off some long boots.  The squad now numbers 30 and five more are expected to go after the All Star game in Chicago.

Riley Smith played four football games in 10 days, two with all-star college teams and two with his pro team, the Redskins.

The Redskins went on display at Chelsea High School Stadium before 4500 fans on August 30th. The squad split into two teams, the Baker’s Dozen and Musick’s Mustangs, and staged a fine pre-season game. Although the score was 7-7, everyone was quite satisfied.

After being outplayed in the first half and being too conservative, the Baker’s Dozen was given a pep talk by Coach Flaherty between halves, and as a resulted scored their touchdown. Cliff Battles took the opening kickoff for “The Dozen” and ploughed behind his wedge to the 45. They then pounded out a touchdown, with former Holy Cross ace, Eddie Britt taking two passes from Battles for the touchdown.

“The Mustangs” then scored in the second half, with Rentner taking a punt out to his 25.  Rentner completed a great pass to Ed Justice who ran it down to the Baker’s 12 yard line. Rentner then took it in for the score.  New player Vic Carroll from Nevada was impressive at guard. Ed Justice, from Gonzaga caught some great passes. Ed Smith, Henry Wiesenbaugh, Eddie Britt and Bob McChesney also were worth mentioning.  The three new young all stars, Riley Smith, Ray Karcher and Wayne Millner were absent, because they were in Chicago for the upcoming All Star game.


The Redskins opened the National League professional football season on September 13th under a wilting summer sun by losing 10-0 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.



Cliff Battles, Pug Rentner and the rest of the Redskins made merry with the Philadelphia Eagles, by rolling up the score 26-3 before a rain soaked crowd on September 20th. Riley Smith had a 35 yard field goal in the first period and Ed Smith added one in the final period. The picture play of the game was Battles’ sensational 67 yard run for a touchdown in the third period.

Capitalizing on almost every break their opponents gave them, the Boston Redskins walked off with their second victory on September 27th, when they turned back the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, 14 to 3. The first time the Skins got the ball, Cliff Battles zigzagged 68 yards for a touchdown. Then in the third period, Larry Siemering blocked Dick Crayne’s punt, recovered and dashed 32 yards for another touchdown. 

Battles maintained his lead over NFL backfield men in the race for individual offensive honors.  He is the leading ground-gainer, but was tied with Bill Hewitt, the Chicago Bears end, with 18 points. Battles has gained 274 yards in 55 attempts for a 4.0 average. Ed Danowski of the Giants leads the passers with 15 completions in 29 attempts, followed by Battles who is 9 for 22.


The Boston Redskins went down to a 7-0 defeat in a drab listless uninteresting game at Fenway Park on October 4th. The Redskins got in wrong with the fans and loud and insistent booing greeted announcements of future games. The fans found the entire grandstand reserved, and the price of admission raised. Those fans who sat in the unreserved section last year, were forced to sit out on the field for last year’s general admission price. 

Cliff Battles was the only bright spot for Boston. He lugged the pigskin, did plenty of extraordinary punting, half of the tackling, made many passes. The only touchdown was the result of a second period fumble, giving the Giants the ball in scoring position.



Keeping the attack of the Redskins bottled up for the entire four periods, the Packers defeated Boston, 31-2 on October 11th. The Redskins and the Packers have ousted the Bears from the lead as the best offensive team in the NFL. The Packers took the lead with 1116 yards while the Redskins gained second place with 1034 yards.

On October 18th, a very small crowd of less than 5000 showed up to see the Redskins trim the Philadelphia Eagles, 17 to 7. The increased price of admission to see an underperforming team is considered to be a large factor. 

Ray Flaherty had a nice looking new backfield of Pug Rentner, Eddie Britt, Harry Wiesenbaugh and Ed Justice. Cliff Battles was favoring a bad ankle. Minus Battles, the game appeared doomed to routine performances until Pug Rentner was given a good share of the ball-toting assignments which he fulfilled in spectacular fashion. 

Former Holy Cross star, Eddie Britt completed 7 of 14 passes for 142 yards and rushed twenty times for 70 more. Britt uncorked one toward the coffin corner the ball caromed off Wayne Millner’s hands into the anxious arms of Riley Smith, who wrestled his way across the goal line for the first score. In the second half, the Redskins orchestrated an 85 yard drive, with Rentner doing most of the yard work to set up another score.


The Chicago Cardinals and the Redskins staged one of the best Wild West shows ever staged at Fenway Park on November 1st. Spectacular enough was the scoring, with the Skins counting on pass plays of 28 and 64 yards, and the Cardinals getting a 25 yard scoring pass, added to a 36 yard field goal.

The half ended with the Redskins leading 13-10. Most of the third quarter was spent in Boston territory. George Grosvenor of the Cardinals, returned a 41 yard punt to the Boston nine, only to see it turned over by a fumble, recovered by Wayne Millner for the Redskins. Two Cardinal passes went incomplete as the game ended, the score still 13-10 in favor of the Skins. After week #8, the Redskins were tied for second place, one game behind Pittsburgh.

One dazzling third period aerial attack gave the Green Bay Packers a 7-3 victory over the Redskins on November 8th. The Pack was outrushed 114 yards to 18 but Green Bay quarterback, Arnie Herber chucked 14 successful passes in 29 attempts for 200 yards. Three of them were strung together in the third period for the game’s only touchdown.

The Bears gave the Redskins a merciless 26-0, beating on November 15th. The Redskins interior line was no match for the powerful Bear defense. Despite the loss, the locals remain in third place in the Eastern Division, less than a game behind. The Bears outgained the Redskins, 401 yards to 116 (278 to 58 on the ground). 

The Redskins next minced the Dodgers at Fenway Park, 30 to 6, on November 22nd, and climbed into second place. They did everything well, rolling up 15 first downs to Brooklyn’s six, outrushing them 220 yards to nine, and outgaining them in the air. They wore down the Dodgers in the early stages and ran them ragged in the closing quarters. 

Riley Smith opened up the scoring with a field goal. Rentner took the ball down to the four and then plunged through right guard for the score in the third quarter. On the first play of the ensuing kickoff, Brooklyn coughed up the ball. Battles picked the ball out of the air and was able to run it in for the score. A pass from Ed Smith to Sam Busich notched the Redskins’ final score of the day in the fourth quarter.

Only 4800 fans came to see the Redskins crush the Pirates, 30 to 0, and capture first place on November 29th. Capitalizing on every break handed them, the Redskins racked up 227 yards rushing and holding Pittsburgh to a net loss of two.

Cliff Battles was back in his usual form, running off tackle for consistent gains and running back kicks for 91 total yards.  He shared honors with young Vic Carroll, who turned in a phenomenal performance at guard. Carroll also recovered three fumbles and intercepted a pass for a touchdown. Turk Edwards, not to be out-done, recovered a Pittsburgh fumble in their own end zone for another touchdown.



Discouraged by poor attendance at home games, Redskins owner, George Preston Marshall was looking for promising sites to move the team. The team took up residence at Westchester Country Club, in Rye NY, in preparation for the final game of the season against the Giants at the Polo Grounds.

The Redskins slithered to a convincing 14-0 victory over the New York Giants on December 8th, in a cold drizzle, and clinching the right to meet the Packers for the NFL championship. A 38 yard drive and a 75 yard punt return by Cliff Battles produced the only scores. The Giants crossed midfield only twice in the first three periods. 

Turk Edwards blocked a punt, blocked a place kick, recovered two fumbles, made numerous tackles, and opened holes on the offensive line.

After obtaining permission to move the 1936 NFL Championship Game from Fenway Park to the Polo Grounds, Marshall wasn’t quite that he would get league approval to move. 

Marshall defended moving the game, by saying that he did it for the players. The players get 60 percent of the playoff gate, with 20% going to the league, and 10% to each club. He also commented how he received shabby treatment in Boston and lost $20,000 in spite of fielding a championship team. However, the Redskins weren’t a champion, much less a contender until mid-season. Fans felt moving the game to the Polo Grounds was analogous to the Red Sox playing their World Series home games at Yankee Stadium.

The Boston Redskins were walloped by the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Championship Game, by a score of 21-6, at the Polo Grounds in New York on December 13th.  Two long passes and a blocked punt gave the Packers their touchdown.  Green Bay’s power, speed and reserve strength were too much for Boston to contend with, especially after the Redskins lost Cliff Battles, with a leg injury, a few minutes after the game started. 

On December 16th, the Boston Redskins officially dissolved and were reorganized as the Washington Redskins. Marshall made arrangements to lease Griffith Stadium, home of Clark Griffith’s American League baseball club, for the 1937 football season.

Before leaving Boston, however, the Redskins made one more big addition that helped their franchise for years to come. The addition came after the 1937 NFL Draft on December 12, 1936, when they signed an innovative rookie quarterback from Texas Christian University, Sammy Baugh.

One of the reasons the Redskins didn’t draw, is because ownership got in wrong with the fans at the very beginning of the season. The fans found the entire grandstand reserved, and the price of admission raised for the first home game.  Those fans, who sat in the unreserved section in 1935, were forced to sit out on the field in 1936 for the general admission price. 

Also, their competition that year was the Boston Shamrocks of the new American Football League. The Shamrocks were a winning team, who won the league championship, outdrawing the Redskins with a lower ticket price.

After a few off seasons, Cliff Battles hit his stride again in 1936. He tallied 614 yards and five touchdowns. Battles sloshed 80 yards through the mud and rain at New York’s Polo Grounds for an insurance touchdown. An early injury forced him out of the championship game, when the Redskins fell to Green Bay.

08/24/1936 First practice in Framingham
08/29/1936 First scrimmage
08/31/1936 First intra squad scrimmage in Chelsea
09/13/1936 0-1 - at Pittsburgh Pirates L 10-0
09/20/1936 1-1 - at Philadelphia Eagles W 26-3
09/27/1936 2-1 - at Brooklyn Dodgers W 14-3
10/04/1936 2-2 -1 New York Giants L 7-0
10/11/1936 2-3 -1 1/2 at Green Bay Packers L 21-3
10/18/1936 3-3 -1 Philadelphia Eagles W 17-7
11/01/1936 4-3 -1 Chicago Cardinals W 13-10
11/08/1936 4-4 -1 Green Bay Packers L 7-3
11/15/1936 4-5 -1 Chicago Bears L 26-0
11/22/1936 5-5 -1/2 Brooklyn Dodgers W 30-6
11/29/1936 6-5 - Pittsburgh Pirates W 30-0
12/06/1936 7-5 1 at New York Giants W 14-0
12/08/1936 George Preston Marshall gets permission to move
the NFL Championship Game to New York
12/13/1936 Green Bay Packers L 21-0

Redskins draft Sammy Baugh


Redskins leave Boston and move to Washington D.C.