When the 2020 NFL season began, there were several unusual sights for long-time football fans. Tom Brady suited up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Cam Newton replaced him in New England. Due to COVID-19, most teams played in empty stadiums. And, in the NFC East, the Washington Football Team hit the field with a brand new identity.
While football fans are still waiting for the team’s permanent name, things might be more settled than we think. According to Dan Snyder, the Washington Football team might have already found their long-term identity.
The birth of the Washington Football Team
For years, the Washington Redskins were simply a part of the NFL landscape. As of 2020, however, that name has officially been confined to the history books.
Although owner Dan Snyder had previously pledged to keep the team’s name intact, commercial pressure finally forced his hand. With brands like Amazon, Fed-Ex, and Nike taking a stand against the Redskins name, the franchise decided to shake things up and enter a new era.
Since the end of July, Washington has branded itself as the Washington Football Team. While they still wear maroon and gold, the Native American imagery is gone; each player hits the field with his number on the side of his helmet, similar to the University of Alabama.
As far as we know, though, that branding won’t be permanent. When Washington unveiled their new identity, Adam Schefter reported that “this is not a final renaming and rebranding for [the] team; this is the name it wants to use until pending adoption of a new name in the future.”
Dan Snyder might already have his long-term solution
Despite that reporting, Dan Snyder might have already found his team’s long-term identity. According to Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal, he confirmed that keeping the Washington Football Team branding is still a potential permanent option.
“Sure, it’s possible!” Snyder wrote in an email. “If the Washington Football Team name catches on and our fans embrace it, then we would be happy to have it as our permanent name. I think we have developed a very classy retro look and feel.”
If nothing else, the team is probably stuck its current identity for the foreseeable future. Under ordinary circumstances, a rebranding effort is carefully orchestrated over time; everything from fan opinion to legal paperwork has to be squared away. Becoming the Washington Football Team gives Dan Snyder and company that opportunity. Even if their current name isn’t ideal, it won’t cause any problems moving forward.
What are the other options for the Washington Football Team’s name?
Despite Dan Snyder’s confirmation that the Washington Football Team could keep its current identity, it’s unclear what the future holds.
Earlier in the summer, a few tentative names built up some steam on social media. The Washington Red Tails would allow the team to keep its color scheme intact while paying tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen; Tuskegee Airmen Inc. said they were willing to work with the team, but some former pilots expressed reservations. There was also some chatter about the Red Wolves and some other names tied to politics and Washington, D.C.
As of July, Odds Shark reported that the betting favorite was either the Red Clouds or the Red Tails at +125. The Warriors came in at +225 before things dropped off; the Hogs sat in third place with +650 odds. For whatever it’s worth, it doesn’t seem like there were any long-term odds for keeping the Washington Football Team as a permanent identity.
At this point, even Dan Snyder probably doesn’t know what the Washington Football Team will be called five years from now. Based on his tenure, though, it’s not unreasonable to expect the unexpected.