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Redskins' First Division Title Since 1999

Posted Dec 30, 2012

The Redskins will host the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday at 4:30 p.m. in a game broadcast on FOX. Veteran reflect on a season of redemption for the franchise.

With a 28-18 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, the Redskins clinched their first playoff berth since 2007 and their first NFC East title since 1999.

This was the crowning achievement on a remarkable season, one which included a seven-game winning streak to close out the season.

The seven-game winning streak in a single season is the team’s seventh in team history, excluding playoffs (seven in 1996, 11 in 1991, nine in 1983, nine in 1972, nine in 1942, seven in 1940). Washington made NFL Championship/Super Bowl appearances in four of these five seasons, winning two titles.

The Redskins are just the fourth team since 1990 to earn a playoff berth after opening the season 3-6, becoming the first team since the 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars to pull off the feat.

For the players, it has been a relentless ride that began in training camp with the idea that this team could do something special.

“It’s good to be here,” said defensive lineman Kedric Golston, who joined the team in 2006. “We’re going to enjoy this one, but we understand it’s just the beginning of the ultimate goal. We’re here now and we’re going to take it one game at a time.”

Golston is one of just seven Redskins remaining from the 2007 squad, the last time the team to go to the playoffs.

Now a veteran on this team, Golston reflected on how much the win meant to him and the former Redskins that mentored him.

“I was thinking before the game about some of the great players that I’ve played with and how I’m looking to enjoy this as much as they are,” he mused. “The Cornelius Griffin’s and Randy Thomas’s, and those guys that did a lot for this organization and didn’t have a chance to experience this.

“I’m looking to have them be a part of this and thinking about all this organization has been through in the last 10 years.”

The 10 wins in the regular season doubled the team’s total from 2011, and marked the first five-win improvement over the previous season since 1982-83. It was the first five-win improvement over a non-strike season since 1954-55.

The 10 wins were split evenly with five each at home and on the road.  The winning record at home was the team’s first since 2007, and broke an eight-game losing streak at FedExField.

The winning record on the road was the Redskins’ first since 1991, the team’s last Super Bowl season.

“We’ve changed drastically what this offense and defense has done over the course of this season,” said veteran tight end Chris Cooley. “Our coaches have done an outstanding job adapting game plans for the players. Mike [Shanahan], Kyle [Shanahan], [Jim Haslett] have put us in positions to win every week, and we’ve gotten better and better.  This is just another step that we’re taking right now. I think this staff has just been outstanding.”

This is the Redskins’ 14th division title in franchise history, and comes in a historical 80th Anniversary season. In 11 of the previous 13 division titles, the team would advance to either the NFL Championship Game or the Super Bowl.

The Redskins will host the Seattle Seahawks at FedExField in the first round of the playoffs next week, with kickoff slated for Sunday, Jan. 6, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. on FOX.

With a torrid finish under their belts, the Redskins look to continue the hot streak one game at a time through the playoffs.

Recent Super Bowl winners have frequently been the hottest team at the end of the season, and the 2012 Redskins could fill that role.

“We have a chance to be that team,” said veteran tight end Chris Cooley. “But every team is hot. Seattle is hot right now. There are a lot of good teams in the NFC.”

The Redskins have the advantage of having a playoff mentality since the bye week.

“We’ve had to win every single game since 3-6. That’s the way that it’s played out and it bodes well for us,” Cooley said. “We’ve embraced that, we’ve looked at every game like it’s an elimination game and it’s elevated our level of play.

“We’ll be ready to play this football game and we have a chance. What else can you ask for?”

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