Analyzing the Washington Football Team’s retired numbers

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Hall of Fame halfback Bobby Mitchell of the Washington Redskins makes a catch while Steelers defensive back Bill Daniels attempts to bring him down in a 23 to 21 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 18, 1962 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Nate Fine/NFL) *** Local Caption ***

In June, 2020, the Washington Football Team announced that jersey No. 49 – the one worn by Hall of Fame running back/receiver Bobby Mitchell during the 1960s, would be officially retired.

Mitchell’s number joined Sammy Baugh’s No. 33 as only the second number to be retired throughout the Washington Football Team‘s almost 90-year history.

At the time of the announcement, a lot was written about Mitchell and how deserving he was of this honor. No need to rehash his monumental achievements both on and off the field. You can find plenty of material (some written by yours truly) on that subject.

We had discussed doing a longer piece on the whole idea a retired numbers, and decided that it would be most appropriate to plan any such discussion to coincide with the Washington Football Team’s official retirement ceremony. The team intended to do this at a home game during the 2020 season.

However, as you know, there are no fans in the stands at home games in 2020, and the team has not addressed when or even if they will hold such a ceremony. Perhaps they will wait until 2021, when hopefully they can give “No. 49” a proper retirement.

With that in mind, I thought the bye week might be a good time to consider the entire retirement issue. At the very least, it will recall some glorious days during these dark times. And if I’m lucky, it will also stir up some nasty arguments about who, if anyone, is deserving of joining Sammy and Bobby in the hallowed grounds of retirement.

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