Washington, D.C. is finally at long last a city of champions. After a 26-year championship drought the Capitals helped Washington sports fans to forget years of playoff disappointment. The last D.C. team to win a championship was the Redskins in Super Bowl XXVI on January 26, 1992. The Washington Redskins are hoping to capitalize on the Capitals fever that has swept on the nation’s capital.
Last Wednesday Redskins long snapper Nick Sundberg headed for the airport immediately following practice to head to Las Vegas for what would turn out to be the championship clinching game for the Capitals. It is fair to say that he was pretty excited late in the third period of game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
— Nick Sundberg (@NickSundberg) June 8, 2018
Countless Redskins expressed their support for the hometown Washington Capitals. Redskins middle linebacker Mason Foster got caught up in the Capitals hysteria.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 13, 2018
Redskins Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs also got in on the action.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) June 2, 2018
Perennial Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Kerrigan was ecstatic for the Stanley Cup Champions.
— Ryan Kerrigan (@RyanKerrigan91) June 8, 2018
Kerrigan was one of many Redskins players at game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, which was at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
“That was probably one of the best sporting-event experiences I’ve had,” Kerrigan said via Redskins insider John Keim. “From the moment we got there, the crowd was yelling and loud. It was such an energetic atmosphere. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
“It was bedlam in there. Everyone was high-fiving and hugging. Such an amazing atmosphere and the Caps capitalized on all the energy that was there.”
Foster wants to see the Redskins experience similar success. “We’ve got to get something going like that for the Redskins because these fans are amazing. To see them out in the streets watching the game. … We just got to keep the ball rolling.”
Jonathan Allen, who attended Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Virginia, agreed. “Being a local guy, it’s no secret we haven’t had the success we wanted as a community in a long time,” Allen said. “It’s special, man. It’s special.
“It gives you that much more motivation to want to go out there and perform your job and execute so we can give Redskins nation a chance to celebrate like that.”
The Washington Redskins are 2-5 in the postseason since 1992. The organization has failed to make the conference championship game since its last Super Bowl victory in 1992.
The Redskins are not alone though in its playoff tragedies. The Nationals blew a 6-0 lead to the Cardinals in Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS. The Nationals also collapsed in Game 5 of the 2017 NLDS against the Cubs losing 9-8.
The Wizards star duo John Wall and Bradley Beal consistently get stuck in the second round of the NBA playoffs. This year the eighth seeded Wizards lost their first round series 4-2 to the Toronto Raptors.
The Capitals have been just as inept in previous seasons. In 2010 the Capitals lost in Game 7 to the eighth seeded Montreal Canadiens. In 2016 and 2017 the Pittsburg Penguins defeated the Capitals in the postseason. Last season the Capitals lost Game 7 at home to the Penguins.
This year the Capitals finally flipped the script and defeated the Penguins on their way to winning the Stanley Cup. So how does the Capitals triumph impact the Redskins?
Winning can become contagious for a city. Great examples include Boston, Chicago, and Pittsburg where championship triumphs are a regular occurrence.
The Redskins upgraded the defensive line with the addition of Da’ron Payne, a first round selection from Alabama. Washington also got perhaps the steal of the draft in running back Derrius Guice in the second round. The electrifying running back slipped due to concerns over his character. That has proved to be blatantly false and he has quickly become a fan favorite.
The Redskins added veteran quarterback Alex Smith that should give the offense some stability. So can the Redskins win the Super Bowl this season? That seems unlikely considering that the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles could be even better this year with the return of starting quarterback Carson Wentz.
The Redskins do not quite have the pieces yet to become Super Bowl contenders, but a playoff appearance and win is not out of the question.
One thing is clear though; the Capitals championship triumph has changed things. The streets of Washington, D.C. were filled with pandemonium last Thursday night. Many young D.C. sport fans witnessed their first local championship winning team. The championship drought in D.C. is over and fans will start to believe that the Nationals, Redskins or Wizards time is next. “The Redskins are next,” said one man in the video below following the Capitals Stanley Cup triumph.
The Capitals have inspired the Redskins to keep the ball rolling. Championship fever can become infectious. Hopefully the Washington Redskins become infected and continue the frenzy and delirium this fall.