It’s a tricky thing. To measure greatness.
Statistics are quantified. Qualities of a subject that one can measure with a certain standard. Touchdowns, yards, and, yes, even gold jackets. These things share a positive correlation with a player’s impact on a city. But they don’t necessarily go hand in hand.
Greatness is immaterial. It’s when you remember the first and last time that a player’s mud-splattered jersey entered the end zone. Or when you swoon at the mere mention of a player’s name. It’s when a player does not demand respect, but rather, attracts it, and attracts so much respect that you feel obligated to remember them.
It is rare that players alone attain this level of transcendence. Often times, they need help. It’s why you hear of the fabled football legends. The Doomsday Defense. Electric Company. The Purple People Eaters. These are teams and position groups who sustained team success parallel to the prowess of their individual players.
As a result, we remember them. The embodiment of greatness.
Throughout the history of the Washington Redskins franchise, there have been many who achieved this. Capital Punishment, with Dexter Manley and Charles Mann scouring the offensive ranks. The Posse, with Art Monk, Ricky Sanders, and Gary Clark breaking records left and right en route to three Super Bowl titles (count that, Eagles fans).
The ultimate goal of every NFL player, beyond making a living for themselves and their families, is to be remembered. So, when combing through the extensive history of one of the NFL’s original eight teams, and when deciding the Redskins’ greatest 30 players in history, there is only one question to be asked.
Who do we remember?
Honorable Mentions: Bruce Smith, Brig Owens, Mark Rypien, DeAngelo Hall, Kirk Cousins, Jerry Smith, Brandon Scherff, Santana Moss, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Chris Cooley, Brian Mitchell, Brian Orakpo, Joe Rutgens, LaVar Arrington, Jordan Reed, Deion Sanders, Henry Ellard, Sam Huff, Champ Bailey, Mark May, Pat Fischer, Trey Quinn