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If or when the Washington Football Team finds a new name, former cornerback Fred Smoot has some bold ideas on which approach they should take.

Smoot played six seasons for the franchise in the mid-2000s, so his insight definitely carries some weight thanks to his status as an ex-player. But some of the team’s most loyal fans might disagree with their defender’s approach to a new name.

Fred Smoot wants Washington to move beyond nostalgia

Washington cornerback Fred Smoot in 2009.
Former Washington cornerback Fred Smoot has a bold idea for the team’s next name | Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The Washington Football Team took a step toward letting the past die when the franchise changed its name last summer. Fred Smoot believes the organization should continue moving in that direction.

The Athletic included Smoot in a brainstorming session involving the team’s next name. Although the franchise is not expected to return to using any Native American imagery, some fans and media members have suggested finding other ways of using the team’s history — such as Hogs, referring to the former offensive line group — for the next name.

Smoot understands that line of thinking, don’t get him wrong. But the former cornerback explained why he’d prefer Washington didn’t look back.

“Everyone wants to hold on to nostalgia. The old people want to hold on to nostalgia. The new generation wants the new. If I’m running a Fortune 500 company, I’m only worried about the future. I can’t drive my car looking in the rearview mirror. I drive it looking out the front windshield.”

Fred Smoot

Smoot also urged caution about Dan Snyder and the team’s front office depending too much on fans to find a new name.

“We watched the name of the basketball team go from the Bullets to the Wizards,” Smoot said. “They completely bombed it. They let the fans pick, and they completely bombed it, so I can see the pressure on Dan here to get it right.”

Washington must listen to Smoot when the time comes

According to The Athletic, the Washington Football Team received over 40,000 submissions for its next name. Some, naturally, will have a better chance of being picked than others.

Smoot is correct in his assessment that the team should not stick to nostalgia. Washington also should not even consider anything tied to politics, even if it is as simple as the Senators. There is too much to lose by going down that route, especially given the current political climate amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Many social media users cracked jokes in the summer of 2020 after the franchise became the Washington Football Team. As basic as that name is, it’s also creative in its own right, and the team won the NFC East Division in its first season under that branding.

Yes, “Red Tails” or “Hogs” may be appealing. But why not do something totally different and stick with the Washington Football Team? If the WFT wins the NFC East again this year, the front office should strongly consider keeping the current name as a good luck charm.

The Cleveland Indians are changing their name soon, too


Cleveland Indians Fans Have Assembled a Surprising Contender for the Team’s New Name

The Washington Football Team isn’t the only professional sports franchise that could have a new name in the coming years.

Over in the baseball world, the Cleveland Indians are approaching the end of their current name. The team is expected to have a new look by the 2023 season at the latest.

Much like Washington, Cleveland is changing its name and retiring its ties to Native American imagery. The baseball team officially ditched Chief Wahoo, its longtime logo, after the 2018 season.

Just get ready for 2023, when the Washington Hogs and Cleveland Avengers end their seasons with championship parades. Overpriced championship shirts and champagne corks will be on sale soon.