American Football Database
American Football Database
Washington Commandos
Established 1987
Folded 1990
Played in Patriot Center
in Fairfax, Virginia
League/conference affiliations
Arena Football League (1987, 19891990)
Team colorsRed, blue, white
Head coachMike Hohensee
Team history
* Washington Commandos (1987, 1990)
  • Maryland Commandos (1989)
League championships (0)
Conference championships (0)
Prior to 2005, the AFL did not have conference championship games
Division championships (0)
Prior to 1992, the AFL did not have division
Home arena(s)
* Capital Centre (1987 & 1989)
  • Patriot Center (1990)
  • The Washington Commandos were an arena football team based in Fairfax, Virginia. The Commandos were founded in 1987 and were an inaugural member of the Arena Football League (AFL), and were based in Landover, Maryland. After not playing during the 1988 season, the team returned for the 1989 season as the Maryland Commandos. Following the 1989 season, the Commandos moved to Fairfax, Virginia, where they once again became known as the Washington Commandos. The team never achieved much success at either of its locations, winning a total of four games in three seasons, including a winless 1989 season.


    Inaugural season (1987)

    The Commandos had the honor of playing in the first AFL regular season game on June 19, 1987, losing to the Pittsburgh Gladiators 48-46 at the Civic Arena.[1][2] The Commandos picked up their first win in franchise history the following week, when they defeated the Denver Dynamite, by a score of 36-20 in their home opener.[3] The Commandos finished the season with a 2-4 record,[4] a disappointment, but the team was in every game except one, losing three games by a total of six points.

    Move to Maryland (1989)

    After a one-year hiatus, the Commandos returned to play in 1989 and operated as the "Maryland Commandos", playing their sole home game that year at the same venue as in 1987, Landover's Capital Centre.[5] The team went 0-4 in the abbreviated 'travelin' season of 1989. The Commandos coaching staff consisted of Ray Willsey, Mike Hohensee, Mike Dailey, and Jerry Kurz. Hohensee, Dailey and Kurz would all go on to become members of the Arena Football Hall of Fame.

    Return to Washington (1990)

    The team returned to the Washington name for their final season in 1990. They were coached by Hohensee, who had been promoted from his assistant position.[6] The Commandos started the season 0-3.[7]

    In 1987 and 1989, the team played its home games at the Capital Centre (later known as USAir Arena) in Landover, Maryland. For the 1990 season, the team was based at the Patriot Center on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.[8]

    Return of the AFL in Washington

    In 1999, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder announced that he would bring an expansion team to DC to be called the Washington Warriors.[9] (At the time, there was speculation in the media that Snyder actually wanted to change the name of the Redskins to the Warriors, due to the controversy over the NFL's team monicker.) But after a ten-year wait and the AFL's canceling its season in 2009, that never materialized.[10]

    In 2016, it was announced that Ted Leonsis of Monumental Sports, owner of the NBA's Washington Wizards, WNBA's Washington Mystics and the NHL's Washington Capitals was launching an expansion franchise that would play at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. in 2017.[11][12] The Washington Valor began play in 2017.

    Notable players

    Final roster

    Washington Commandos roster

    Wide receivers/Defensive backs

    Running backs/Linebackers
    • -- Jeff Blankenship
    • -- Mickey Paige
    • -- John Rymiszewski
    • -- Fred Smalls
    • -- Fernando McWherter

    Offensive linemen/Defensive linemen

    • -- Patrick Cain
    • -- Matt Conerly
    • -- Anthony Corvino
    • -- Rod Ferguson
    • -- Jeff Garneca
    • -- Chuck Harris
    • -- Bill Leach
    • -- Andrew Marlatt
    • -- Rodney Smith
    Wide receivers/Linebackers
    • -- Dan Burmeister
    • -- Alvin Blount
    • 20 Wade Lockett


    • -- Dan Plocki

    Rookies in italics
    Roster updated March 13, 2013
    26 Active, 0 Inactive, 0 PS

    Arena Football League Hall of Famers

    Washington Commandos Hall of Famers
    No. Name Year Inducted Position(s) Years w/ Commandos
    -- Mike Dailey 2012 Assistant Coach 1989–1990
    -- Dwayne Dixon 1998 WR/DB 1987
    -- Mike Hohensee 2012 Asst./Head Coach 1989–1990
    67 Jon Roehlk 1999 OL/DL 1987

    All-Arena players

    The following Commandos players were named to All-Arena Teams:

    Head coaches

    Name Term Regular season Playoffs Awards
    W L T Win% W L
    Bob Harrison 1987 2 4 0 .333 0 0
    Ray Willsey 1989 0 4 0 .000 0 0
    Mike Hohensee 1990 2 6 0 .250 0 0

    Season-by-season results

    ArenaBowl Champions Division Champions Wild Card Berth League Leader
    Season Team League Division Regular season Postseason results
    Finish Wins Losses Ties
    Washington Commandos
    1987 1987 AFL -- 3rd 2 4 0
    Maryland Commandos
    1989 1989 AFL -- 5th 0 4 0
    Washington Commandos
    1990 1990 AFL 6th 2 6 0
    Totals 4 14 0 All-time regular season record (1987–1990)
    0 0 - All-time postseason record (1987–1990)
    4 14 0 All-time regular season and postseason record (1987–1990)


    1. "Arena Football Debuts". The New York Times. June 21, 1987. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
    2. Gary Tuma (June 20, 1987). "Gladiators smashing in 48-46 win". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.,7032170. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
    3. "Commandos win home-opener". The Free Lance-Star. June 29, 1987.,5213762. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
    4. "Commandos 52, Gladiators 31". July 24, 1987. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
    5. Kevin James Shay (September 3, 2013). "Arena Football League considering putting team at proposed Shady Grove venue". Post-Newsweek Media, Inc./Gazette.Net. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
    6. Tom Boggie (June 9, 1990). "Firebirds Host Commandos In Arena Football Opener". The Daily Gazette.,2390897. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
    7. David Fink (June 23, 1990). "Barretta leads Glads over Commandos". Pittsburgh Post=Gazette.,6482735. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
    8. "ArenaFan Online : Washington Commandos - Team History - 1990". ArenaFan.
    9. Are You Ready for the Washington Warriors?, Bryan Curtis,, May 6, 2002
    10. Cheap Seats Daily: Washington Warriors Won’t Ever Play in the AFL?, Dave McKenna, Washington City Paper, August 5, 2009
    11. Leonsis close to securing Arena Football League team for D.C., WTOP Radio website, February 10, 2016
    12. AFL Lands New Team in Nation's Capital,, March 10, 2016

    External links

    Template:Washington Commandos Template:Washington/Maryland Commandos seasons Template:Original Arena Football League teams