The results are in on ESPN SportsNation’s “Franchise Players” poll, which purports to determine the “best of all time for every NFL team.” The winner for the Redskins is Darrell Green, although not by a particularly overwhelming majority: of 47,481 votes cast, Darrell has 29.7% of them, the lowest percentage of any team’s winner.
By contrast, Brett Favre takes a 73.2% of 102,801 votes in Green Bay, and Dan Marino takes 90.4% of the 47,233 votes cast about Miami, and Barry Sanders earns a whopping 94.6% of the Lions vote. Even Bobby Hebert got a solid 44% of the Saints’ 65,366 votes (which I assume has driven Archie Manning into some sort of berzerker rage).
All of which is a roundabout way of saying that the Redskins don’t actually have a single face of the franchise. Cold Hard Football Facts calls Sammy Baugh the face of the franchise. USA Today called Clinton Portis the face of the team (although they were clearly talking about the team at the time of writing, not all time). ExtremeSkins tackled the topic in 2006, with no conclusive results — most people suggested Joe Gibbs, who wasn’t eligible on the ESPN poll — and TheWarpath.net had pretty much the same outcome in 2007.
For me, after being around the team for the last month or so, my opinion has changed. At the time of the voting in the ESPN poll, I believe I voted for Art Monk, one of my favorite players I’ve ever seen. Now, though, I think I’d have to go with Sonny Jurgensen — one of the best pure passers alive when he was a player, and he’s also gone on to be something a voice of the team on radio and TV. I remember watching him co-host Redskins Sidelines as a kid, and I’ve listened to him on the radio broadcasts all my life. And watching him interact with the team’s rookies at the Hall of Fame cemented my agreement with Sonny’s 3.1% of the ESPN voters. That would make me feel old, I suspect, but their commenters are running heavily in favor of Sammy Baugh, so that helps a bit.