The nickname ‘Redskins’ predates the team playing football in Washington. The organization began playing football in 1932 — in Boston — under the nickname Braves. That was changed in 1933 to Redskins, and the franchise moved to Washington in 1937.
So where did the name Braves come from? The NFL was a fledgling league in the ’20s and ’30s, and teams in that era often chose names synonymous with the local baseball team. George Halas saw the success of the Cubs and named his team the Bears. When the Portsmouth Spartans moved to Detroit in 1934, the name “Lions” made sense for a city that already loved the Tigers. Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants began playing in New York in the 19th century, so it didn’t take the football team long to come up with a nickname in 1925. Like the Giants, the Boston football team simply copied one of the baseball team’s names — and they didn’t pick ‘Red Sox’. In 1932, the Atlanta Braves were still playing in Boston at Braves Field, and since that’s where the football team was scheduled to play, I imagine the team spent all of several seconds coming up with a name.
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