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RFK Aerial View

Stadium Information

Opened
October 1st, 1961
First Redskins game
October 1st, 1961
Last Redskins Game
December 22nd, 1996
Operator
D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission
Construction Cost
$24 million ($205 million in 2019 dollars)
Demolition
Expected to begin in 2022 and cost $20 million
Capacity
56,692 (football 1996), 45,596 (soccer)
Architect
Osborn Engineering (1960)

Stadium History

  • Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium opened in 1961 as the District of Columbia Stadium (D.C. Stadium) and was the home to the Washington Redskins for 36 NFL seasons (1961-1996).
  • The stadium is located two miles due east of the U.S. Capitol building, near the west bank of the Anacostia River and beside the D.C. Armory
  • RFK was one of the first major stadiums actually designed to host both baseball and football. It used what became known as a circular cookie-cutter design
  • During their stay at RFK, the Redskins won 5 NFC Championships games.
  • The stadium was renamed in January 1969 after U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who had been assassinated seven months before.
  • RFK was home to Major League Soccer’s D.C. United until 2017, and Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals until 2008.

Did You Know

  • In the 1982 Playoffs, the fans at RFK were chanting, ‘We want Dallas! We want Dallas!’ in the late stages of a convincing 2nd round victory over Minnesota. The cheers intensified and Redskin fans started bouncing in unison. The stadium seemed to come alive and was actually swaying up and down. Legend has it that the first and second sections actually compacted by nearly a foot!
  • The stadium hosted its first baseball All-Star Game in its inaugural season of 1962. The game was attended by Robert Kennedy’s brother, President John F. Kennedy.
  • The stadium is only half a mile from the Stadium-Armory station of the Washington Metro. It is served by both the blue and orange lines.
  • The stadium was featured in the climax of the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Embed from Getty Images

Notable Tenants

Washington Redskins (1961-1996)
RFK Stadium was home to the Washington Redskins for 36 seasons. Washington’s first game at D.C. Stadium was its first event. They lost 24–21 to the New York Giants on October 1, 1961. The Redskins played 266 regular-season games there, and were an impressive 173–102–3 (.628) record. They were also an unprecedented 11–1 in the playoffs. The Redskins‘ last game there was a victory, a 37–10 pounding of the division champion Dallas Cowboys on December 22, 1996.

Washington Senators (1962–1971)
The Washington Senators of the American League played at RFK from 1962 through 1971. It was known as a hitters’ park, aided by the stagnant heat of Washington summers. The Senators’ only had one winning season there, in 1969 at 86–76 (.531). Their home record at RFK of 363–441 (.451), is the most games, wins, and losses by any team at RFK in any sport. Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon all went to ball games there.

Washington Federals (2005–2007)
Washington had a USFL team, the Washington Federals, that played two seasons at RFK. They had the league’s worst record both seasons, and the league’s worst attendance in 1984. The opening game featured former Redskins coaching legend, and then coach for the Chicago Blitz, George Allen. The team went a dismal 7-19 in two seasons, and perhaps appropriately, only averaged 7,700 fans per game. The team was sold, and moved to Orlando and renamed the Renegades in 1985.

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Washington Nationals (2005–2007)
The Montreal Expos franchise moved to Washington, D.C. in 2005, and became the Washington Nationals. The Nationals played their first three seasons (2005–2007) at RFK, then moved to Nationals Park in 2008. While the Nationals were at RFK, it was the fourth-oldest active stadium in the majors, behind Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium. In three seasons at RFK, the Nationals never made the playoffs or posted a winning record. They finished with a 122–121 record at RFK.

DC United
D.C. United of Major League Soccer played over 400 matches at RFK Stadium. From the team’s debut in 1996 until 2017, RFK hosted three MLS Cup finals, including the 1997 match won by D.C. United. At RFK, United were 228–113–75. They played their final game there on October 22, 2017, to complete 22 seasons at the stadium.

Others:
George Washington Colonials (1961–1966)
Howard Bison (1970–2016)
Washington Freedom (2001–2003)
Washington Whips (1967–68)
Team America (1983)

Interested in more stadium information? Check out our page on Griffith Stadium.

Notes:

Photo credit – An aerial view of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium By MSGT Ken Hammond

RFK is slated for demolition, but it keeps getting pushed back.