It’s safe to say the 2020 NFL season is unlike any fan would have imagined. Cam Newton is the starting quarterback for the New England Patriot; Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are suiting up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Teams are playing in empty stadiums, and, in the NFC East, the Washington Football Team is taking the field under its placeholder name.
When the club announced their change of identity, fans took to social media to speculate about potential team names. While the suggestions have been rolling in, Washington Football Team president Jason Wright still sent an encouraging message about the current process.
The Washington Redskins became the Washington Football Team
For years, the Washington Redskins were simply a reality of the NFL; even if you couldn’t stand their name, it didn’t seem to be going anywhere. In 2020, however, that finally changed.
Despite owner Dan Synder’s previous statements—no matter how much public pressure mounted, he vowed that his team’s name wasn’t going anywhere—he was forced to change his course. Following a summer of protests and conversations about racial justice, brands like Amazon, Fed-Ex, and Nike decided to flex their muscles. The Redskins name was suddenly no more.
Since then, the club has been going by the Washington Football Team and wearing uniforms that resemble their previous gear, just without any Native American imagery. In theory, that name is a placeholder; Dan Snyder, however, has also said that moniker could become permanent if it “catches on and our fans embrace it.”
Receiving over 9,000 suggestions for their new name
While remaining as the Washington Football Team could be a long-term option, it isn’t a foregone conclusion yet. If anything, it seems like fans have plenty of ideas about what the club’s permanent name should be.
According to an update from team president Jason Wright, the team has “received almost 9,000 submissions to date and the ideas continue to roll in.” According to images shared in his weekly brief on WashingtonFootball.com, at least a few of those ideas are names that we’ve heard before.
Some of the attached images show potential branding for the Washington Wolves/ Red Wolves and the Washington Red Tails, which allude to the famous Tuskeegee Airmen. There was also a mock-up of the Washington Seals and two designs without a clear indicator of their hypothetical name.
The process will take time, but the Washington Football Team wants to get things right
Given that sheer volume of suggestions, it might seem like the Washington Football Team are on the verge of deciding on their new identity. In reality, however, the process isn’t going to be concluding anytime soon.
In Wright’s update, he explained that the team’s rebranding process has five steps. First came transformation, which is where the former Redskins became the Washington Football Team; that, obviously, has been completed. The club is not in the second phase, discovery, which “will continue throughout the entirety of the 2020 season.”
After that, the team will go through insight, creation, and execution phases; it’s not clear how long those will each take.
While the wait may be a bit annoying for fans, it’s reasonable that Washington wants to take their time. Rebranding is a major decision, and, given their previous identity, it’s essential for the franchise to get this one right. It seems like the organization is doing all the right things and taking the proper steps.
Jason Wright himself said it best.
“Without exception, the number one topic that fans, staff, partners, etc. want to know is — ‘What’s the name going to be?’ — except y’all aren’t afraid to ask it with some… let’s call it passion,” he explained. “Here’s the (honest) answer: ‘Bruh/sis, cut me some slack, we need some time to do this right! We can’t ** this up!”