The Washington Football Team has a new military-inspired name and look. Officially announced Wednesday morning on the TODAY show, the Washington Football Team’s new name is now the Washington Commanders.
The team revealed their new name, logo, and uniform design in front of a national audience after two seasons of sporting an unembellished placeholder. The decision followed years of intense debate over race and cultural identity, while many decried the team’s former name as overtly racist and insensitive to Native Americans.
The Army recently got a uniform change, too! Check it out here: Meet the New Army Pink and Green Uniform!
What Will Washington’s New Name Be?
The Washington Football Team’s new name following the rebranding, “The Washington Football Team,” was meant to be a placeholder for the 2020-21 season, but was kept on for a second season as a fresh identity was yet to be settled on.
Several names were considered, including the Armada, Brigade, Commanders, Defenders, Presidents, Redhawks, and fan-favorite RedWolves – but copyright issues kept team president Jason Wright from pulling the trigger.
The 90-year-old franchise ultimately chose to be called the Washington Commanders, in a salute to the nation’s capital and its service members.
Wright told TODAY that the name is “something that broadly resonated with our fans and it’s something that we believe embodies the values of service and leadership that really define the DMV and this community. It’s also something importantly that we can own and grow for the next 90 years.”
Washington team owner Daniel Snyder once publicly announced that the name would never be changed. But after years of protests and debate, threats from advertisers, and the 2020 request from FedEx – who owns the stadium rights – the Washington Redskins decided to rebrand.
What Is Washington’s New Logo?
To go with their new identity, the Washington Commanders will step onto the gridiron this fall with a simple yet elegant design. The burgundy and gold colors are sticking around, with a revised “W” helmet decal.
Team captain and defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said he fell in love as soon as he was strapped in.
“I feel like it really embodied not only what the players represent but also what this community and the DMV represents,” he said.
The Washington Commanders Almost Suffered an Early Reveal
Clues about the Washington Football Team’s new name surfaced in leaks leading up to Wednesday’s announcement. Former quarterback Joe Theismann let the name slip on CBS Sports Radio but immediately tried to backtrack.
Another near-miss occurred as NBC Washington noticed new signs at FedEx Field during a flyover. Social media was all over the news before it was news as well, and Twitter’s rumor mill lit up after a post went viral that detailed the domain Commanders.com had been picked up by a subsidiary of the NFL.
The Washington Football Team’s New Name & New Future
Aside from the identity controversy, the Washington Commanders have not been without their scandals. Last July, the team came under intense scrutiny for what the NFL called a “highly unprofessional” workplace after accusations of sexual harassment were lodged.
The NFL fined the Washington Football Team $10 million and the club forced Snyder into a lesser role with the team. The NFL also refused to publicly reveal a report of their findings.
During the New York Times investigation into the accusations, the news giant uncovered emails from former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Joh Gruden, detailing his denouncement of women in on-field positions and the drafting of openly gay players. Gruden’s email troubles would ultimately multiply and lead to his resignation from the Raiders.
Wright, the first Black team president in the history of the NFL, said that the Washington Football Team’s new name is a sign that better things are ahead.
“It’s from that position of strength now that this diverse and empowered leadership team is united to bring a championship back to the burgundy and gold under the banner of the Washington Commanders,” he told TODAY.
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The Washington Redskins Become the Washington Commanders
The Washington Football Team started out in New England as the Boston Braves. The name was changed to “Redskins” just a year later. The change was made by George Preston, the team’s founder, in order to distinguish the club from the baseball team of the same name.
In 1937, the Redskins went to Washington. In DC, they earned their fanbase and remained undisturbed for 85 years. All those years were not spent peacefully, however.
Beginning in 1971, the first major complaints about the overtly racist team name began circulating. The complaints went mostly ignored until recent years. In 2013, Snyder told fans and the media that he would never change the name.
After protests following the police killing of George Floyd, racial justice became the public focus, and the Washington Redskins identity was living on borrowed time. Since July 2020, Washington has been operating with a name.
Let’s celebrate the name change with some military-themed cocktails! Check out our hilarious suggestions here: 5 Military-Themed Cocktails to Wash Down Your Celebrations