Washington Valor
Established 2016
Folded 2019
Played in Capital One Arena
in Washington, D.C.
Washington Valor.png
League/conference affiliations
Arena Football League (20172019)
Team colorsRed, navy blue, silver, white
Owner(s)Monumental Sports and Entertainment
ChairmanTed Leonsis
PresidentRoger Mody
Head coachBenji McDowell
Team history
  • Washington Valor (2017–2019)
League championships (1)
Conference championships (0)
Division championships (0)
Playoff appearances (2)
Home arena(s)

The Washington Valor were a professional arena football team based in Washington, D.C. that played in the Arena Football League (AFL) from 2017 to 2019. The team's home arena was the Capital One Arena. The Valor were owned by Monumental Sports and Entertainment (Ted Leonsis, chairman), which also owns the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Washington Mystics of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL), Capital City Go-Go of the NBA G League and fellow AFL team the Baltimore Brigade.

The initial announcement was made in February 2016 of being close to a deal. The official announcement was made on March 10, 2016. The team name "Valor", and colors of red, white, blue and silver were announced in July 2016. The Valor were the first AFL franchise to play in the DC market since the Washington Commandos folded in 1990. The Valor have one Arena Football League title, having defeated fellow Monumental property Baltimore in ArenaBowl XXXI.

Following the 2019 season, the AFL ceased operations.


The Verizon Center in 2017
The Verizon Center in 2017

Washington, D.C. originally had one of the 1987 AFL charter teams called the Washington Commandos. The team played its home games during its first season at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland in 1987. The Commandos did not play in 1988, but returned as the Maryland Commandos the following season. The team moved to Virginia in 1990, again as the Washington Commandos and played at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia. The team was folded after the 1990 season. Later, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder tried to launch an expansion team called the Washington Warriors, but could not get the trademarks[1] and was eventually abandoned.[2]

On February 10, 2016, The Washington Post and radio station WTOP-FM first broke the story that Monumental Sports and Entertainment (Ted Leonsis, chairman), which also owns the NBA's Washington Wizards, WNBA's Washington Mystics, and NHL's Washington Capitals, were "close to a deal" in bringing a new Arena Football League expansion franchise to the Capital One Arena.[3][4] On March 10, 2016, AFL commissioner Scott Butera announced that the deal was finalized and that the new Washington, D.C., team would begin play in 2017.[5] The official website, Facebook and Twitter pages launched on March 15, 2016. On July 14, 2016, the team's name was announced as the Washington Valor with the team's colors being red, white and blue.[6] Jerseys and helmets designs were released on December 10, 2016. Valor owners Monument Sports and Entertainment also acquired a franchise in Baltimore on November 14, 2016.[7] The team's name was later revealed as the Baltimore Brigade. The Valor's first game was on April 7, 2017, in the Verizon Center against the Brigade. The Valor were the first AFL franchise to play in the DC market since the Commandos.[8] On July 28, 2018 the Washington Valor upset the Baltimore Brigade 69–55 at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore in Arena Bowl XXXI, despite having won only two regular-season games in 2018. Washington QB Arvell Nelson was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

In a January 2019 interview with Forbes, Leonsis noted that the Valor were not particularly successful in regard to finances, and that he mainly used the team and its Baltimore counterpart to experiment with ideas to later use with his more prominent sports properties such as the Wizards, Mystics, and Capitals.[9] Following the 2019 season, the AFL announced it had shut down the operations of local teams and was looking into becoming a traveling league. However, the league filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations entirely in November 2019.

The Valor playing the Philadelphia Soul in 2017
The Valor playing the Philadelphia Soul in 2017

Coaches and personnel

Head coaches

Name Term Regular season Playoffs Awards
W L Win% W L Win%
Dean Cokinos 20172018 3 15 .167 0 0
Benji McDowell 20182019 9 11 .450 2 3 .400


Washington Valor staff
Front Office   Coaches
  • Head Coach – Benji McDowell
  • Offensive Coordinator – vacant
  • Defensive Coordinator – Benji McDowell
  • Player Coordinator – Cos Dematteo
  • Strength and Conditioning – Ben Jenkins
  • Team Physician - Dr. Jeffrey Mayer, MD

Season-by-season results

ArenaBowl Champions ArenaBowl Appearance Division Champions Playoff Berth
Season League Conference Division Regular season Postseason results
Finish Wins Losses
Washington Valor
2017 AFL 5th 3 11
2018 AFL 4th 2 10 Won semifinals (Albany)
Won ArenaBowl XXXI (Baltimore)
2019 AFL 2nd 7 5 Lost in Playoffs (Philadelphia)
Total 12 26 (includes only regular season)
2 3 (includes only the postseason)
15 29 (includes both regular season and postseason)

See also


  1. ^ Dave McKenna (April 29, 1995). "Warriors, Come In to Play!". Washington City Paper.
  2. ^ Scott Allen (February 11, 2016). "'Washington Maul' and 12 other name ideas for D.C.'s future Arena Football League team". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ Ted Leonsis close to securing Arena Football League team to play at Verizon Center, Jonathan O'Connell and Dan Steinberg, Washington Post, February 10, 2016
  4. ^ Ted Leonsis to announce D.C. is getting an Arena Football League team, Scott Allen, The Washington Post, March 10, 2016
  5. ^ AFL Lands New Team in Nation's Capital, ArenaFootball.com, March 10, 2016
  6. ^ Russell, Jake. "And the name of D.C.'s arena football team is … the Washington Valor". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  7. ^ NEWSROOM MONUMENTAL SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT ACQUIRES AFL TEAM TO PLAY IN BALTIMORE, Monumental Sports and Entertainment website, November 14, 2016
  8. ^ Scott Allen (March 10, 2016). "Ted Leonsis to announce D.C. is getting an Arena Football League team". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ NBA London 2019: Wizards owner Ted Leonsis on why the NBA is the most valuable league. Forbes (January 17, 2019). Retrieved January 18, 2019.