The stadium opened in 1997 as Jack Kent Cooke
Stadium, in honor of the recently deceased
owner of the team, and the stadium site was
known as Raljon. Before the stadium was built,
the Wilson Farm was there. The name "Raljon" is
a portmanteau of Jack Kent Cooke's sons' first
names - "Ralph" and "John." Notably, Cooke was
even able to register Raljon with the United
States Postal Service as a legal alternate
address for the 20785 zip code of Landover,
Maryland, in which the stadium is located, and
went to some lengths to require media to use
Raljon in datelines from the stadium.
A special exit, Exit 16 (Arena Drive), was built
from Interstate 495, the Capital Beltway. It is
generally open only on event days.
After the team and stadium were purchased by
Daniel Snyder, the naming rights were sold to the
FedEx corporation in November 1999 for an
average of $7.6 million per year; however, many
fans still refer to the stadium as "Big Jack."
FedExField replaced Robert F. Kennedy
Memorial Stadium in Washington, D.C., as the
home of the Redskins. FedExField has not had a
football season in which the stadium failed to sell
out its tickets. Even though it's the NFL's largest stadium, the waiting list for Redskins season tickets has reached well over 10 years.
For the past six years at FedExField, Redskins fans have set the regular-season home paid attendance record. In 2005, the team drew a record
716,999 fans overall. The December 18, 2005, 35-7 win against the Dallas Cowboys was the most watched game in Redskins history, with 90,588
fans in the stands.
The August 28, 2004, BCA Classic between the Virginia Tech Hokies and USC Trojans attracted a record 91,665 in attendance.
Design and Access
The stadium has five levels - the Lower Level, the Club Level, the Lower and Upper Suite Levels, and the Upper Level. The Lower, Club, and
Upper Levels are all named after important figures of the Redskins, NFL, and Washington, D.C. area. The Lower Level is officially named
"George Preston Marshall Lower Level", The Club is named "Joe Gibbs Club Level, and The Upper Level is called "Pete Rozelle Upper Level."
The Suite Levels have over 200 suite, loge, and Owner's Club luxury boxes.
The stadium is about a 15-minute walk from the Morgan Boulevard Station on Metro's Blue Line, which opened on December 18, 2004. Some
fans opt to take the Metro instead of spending $30 or even more (or in private "discount" lots as little as $25) on parking.
For some years, the Redskins and the local police sought to prevent people from walking to the stadium from the Metro or from private parking
lots. After a successful court challenge to the ordinance allowing the police to so act, walk-ins are now tolerated.
Walking is preferred to driving and parking; a limited amount of at-stadium parking is available; most "official" parking is actually at various
nearby office-parks, with lengthly walks to several bus stations. A bus (complimentary with purchase of parking at $30, but requiring a hospital-
style wristband to weed out non-"official" parking locations) takes parkers to a point in the parking lot that's a 5 minute walk to the stadium
proper. Given poor access control, it takes an average of an hour, and as much as two and a half hours to leave the stadium parking lot and
arrive at the remote parking locations.
FedExField hosts the annual Prince George's Classic college football game, which is a game usually between two historically black universities. It
has hosted several other college football games as well, including the 1998 game between the University of Notre Dame and the United States
Naval Academy, as well as the 2004 Black Coaches Association Classic between the University of Southern California Trojans and Virginia Tech.
The stadium has hosted numerous other events as well, including many big-time concerts.
FedExField is not well known as a soccer venue, as D.C. United of Major League Soccer elected to remain at RFK Stadium after the new
stadium's opening. As Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, it hosted four preliminary matches and one quarterfinal doubleheader in the 1999 Women's
World Cup. During the July 2005 World Series of Football, D.C. United hosted Chelsea F.C. there; the stadium did not sell out, but the 31,473
spectators represented D.C. United's third-highest ever home attendance.
Other notable events include:
- November 14, 1998: Notre Dame defeated Navy 30-0.
- July 1, 1999: The United States Women's National Soccer Team defeated the German Women's National Team 3-2 in the FIFA Women's
World Cup 1999 quarterfinals.
- January 8, 2000: The Washington Redskins defeated the Detroit Lions 27-13 in the first and, as of 2006, only NFL playoff game at FedEx
- December 29, 2002: The Washington Redskins defeated the rival Dallas Cowboys, 20-14, in Darrell Green's final game. The game also
broke a 10-game losing streak to the Cowboys.
- August 28, 2004: USC defeated Virginia Tech in the BCA Classic 24-13.