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RFK Stadium opened in October 1961 as the District of Columbia Stadium and was later named in honor of Robert F. Kennedy, a U.S. Senator and Presidential Candidate who was assassinated in 1969. The stadium was built for multiple sports and was home to the Washington Redskins from 1961 to 1996 and was also home to the Washington Senators from 1962 to 1971. The stadium also served as the home of the Washington Nationals from 2005 to 2007 while their new stadium was under construction. The National Park Service leases the land and the stadium to Events DC.


  • RFK Stadium

RFK was one of the first stadiums in the United States designed as a multi-sport complex, setting a trend that was followed by many stadiums in subsequent decades. During the 36-years that RFK was home to the Washington Redskins, a name that became increasingly controversial given its history as a derogatory slur aimed at Native Americans for many centuries, the stadium saw a confrontation between the National Park Service who owns the land and the family that owned the team and refused to allow black players. Facing eviction from their own stadium, the owners relented and the Washington Redskins became the first team to integrate.

During these years, pro football Hall of Famers such as John Riggins, Joe Theisman, and Art Monk played for Washington. The first game played at this stadium was a 24-21 loss to the New York Giants on October 1, 1961.  The first victory at the new stadium came against Washington's rival, the Dallas Cowboys, on December 17, 1961. That victory was the team's only win that season as the team recorded a dismal 1-12-1 record.  

The first Major League Baseball All-Star game at RFK was held in 1962 and featured an appearance by President John F. Kennedy. The city lost its MLB affiliate when the Senators left Washington. When the Nationals began playing their home games at this stadium while awaiting the construction of a new stadium, RFK was the fourth-oldest active Major League ballpark behind Fenway, the former Yankee Stadium, and Wrigley Field.

A 'Showdown' That Changed Football's Racial History. National Public Radio. September 04, 2011. Accessed July 28, 2018. https://www.npr.org/2011/09/04/140066378/a-showdown-that-changed-footballs-racial-history.