stations in Southern cities and towns to carry the games, and he directed his coaches to draft players mostly from Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Texas colleges. They did, and the team became the Confederates of the NFL. One original line in the Redskins' fight song went, "Fight for Old Dixie," before it was revised to "Fight for Old D.C."
To this day, many season ticket holders make the trip north on Sunday from South and North Carolina, Richmond and The Tidewater areas of Virginia.
Commercial concerns, however, couldn't explain away the provision in Marshall's will seeking to forbid funds that he had provided for child welfare programs from going to anyone with integrationist notions. That intent was foiled after his death in 1969.
To Marshall the NFL meant entertainment. He was, for example, the first owner to form a volunteer team marching band. In 1937, when 10,000 wild-eyed Washington fans boarded special trains to New York to watch the Redskins beat the Giants for the division title, sports writer Bill Corum of the New York Journal-American wrote: "George Preston Marshall slipped unobtrusively into New York today at the head of a 100-piece band."
He also would argue furiously with referees from his box or the field, never more so than after the infamous final-game loss to the Giants two years later when Bill Halloran ruled that Bo Russell's last-minute field goal kick was wide. Marshall positively erupted and wanted Halloran banned from officiating at NFL games. Halloran never did referee again, though it was not clear whether that was because of Marshall's fury.
What was clear was that not all of the angry Redskins fans at the Polo Grounds that day were sober. Of the scores of irate letters I received about Russell's kick, one was particularly memorable. "I was sitting on the 50-yard line," the fan wrote. "I saw two balls and two sets of goal posts, and I know damn well one of those balls went through one set of those posts."
Redskin fans had no complaints with Marshall in those early years.