The Washington Football Team is going to have a new name at some point in the future. It ditched its old “Redskins” moniker back in the summer of 2020 after FedEx — the naming rights sponsor for the team’s stadium — called upon them to make the change.
Shortly thereafter, Nike stopped selling Redskins apparel on their website. And Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser confirmed that the team’s name remained an impediment to the team building any new stadium in the District of Columbia.
As a result, owner Daniel Snyder announced that the team would undergo a “thorough review” of its name, citing a desire to get input from a variety of groups about the moniker’s future.
“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and the history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said in a statement.
On July 13, 2020, Washington announced it would change its name and logos ahead of the 2020 NFL season. They would be temporarily known as the Washington Football Team until a new name was chosen.
Nearly a year-and-a-half (and two NFL seasons) later, no decision has come about a permanent name. When is the Washington Football Team going to announce its permanent name? And what are the potential options? Here’s everything that you need to know about the name change that Snyder was adamant he would never make.
When will Washington Football Team pick new name?
The Washington Football Team has selected its new name. It will be revealed on Feb. 2, 2021, as the team announced in a video feature in early January.
𝙼𝚊𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝙱𝚛𝚊𝚗𝚍: 𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙵𝚒𝚗𝚊𝚕𝚎 | @Vistaprint
We’ve got an update on a popular name option, a sneak peek at the jerseys and a confirmed announcement date pic.twitter.com/IeSnetFebq
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) January 4, 2022
Team president Jason Wright had originally announced that the Washington Football Team is set to reveal its new name in 2022.
“The new name and logo will be revealed in early 2022,” Wright said in an interview. “And [it] will retain the traditional burgundy and gold colors that are entrenched in the team’s history.”
That timeline put Washington on track to pull off a full rebrand of its organization in 18 months. The thorough rebranding process that “has included 40,000 submissions from fans, multiple focus groups, surveys and a digital rollout (at washingtonjourney.com) to give fans insight into the process,” per Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post.
The team remained the Washington Football Team for the 2021 NFL season, but this will be the last year during which the team operates under that nickname — at least on a temporary basis.
Washington Football Team name options
The Washington Football Team narrowed down its list of potential nicknames to eight possibilities. Tanya Snyder, co-CEO of the team, announced them on a recent episode of the Adam Schefter Podcast. They are:
- Red Hogs
- Red Wolves
- Washington Football Team
However, there are now only seven in the running, as the team announced that Red Wolves wouldn’t be the choice due to trademark issues with other pro sports teams.
A couple of these are self-explanatory. Washington could opt to keep its current name “Washington Football Team” permanently or they could opt to roll with “Presidents” as a nod to Washington D.C.’s status as the nation’s capital.
Here’s why the other options are finalists for Washington.
“Red Hogs” stems from a nickname for Washington’s offensive line during the late-80s and early-90s. Washington’s offensive line was then known as “The Hogs”, and was one of the best in the NFL. They helped the team win three Super Bowls with Joe Jacoby and Russ Grimm leading the unit.
Hogs would be a nod to that group — and the “Hogette” mascots that succeeded them — while keeping the word “red” would be a nod to the team’s former nickname.
Armada, Brigade, Commanders and Defenders
The Defenders, Armada, Brigade and Commanders all are centered around the military. That’s something that coach Ron Rivera, who grew up in a military family, has expressed an interest in tying into the team’s new name.
“This issue is of personal importance to me,” Rivera said when the name change was originally broached. “I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our military.”
As such, any of those could be in play.
Why Red Wolves won’t be Washington Football Team name
“Red Wolves” was considered an interesting option, as it gained lots of traction among Washington fans on Twitter shortly after the name change was announced. Red wolves are an endangered species that reside in the southeastern United States.
“Redwolves” gaining serious traction in Washington. DL Jonathan Allen hyped the name on Twitch, Compton did below and the fan petition supporting it just passed 3,500 signatures. Redwolves are an endangered species native to SE US, as well as a past support squad for Navy SEALs. https://t.co/f6Pj0A0FBv
— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) July 10, 2020
Red Wolves was one of the 40,000 fan submissions for the team name choice. However, Wright announced in a president’s brief that “legal hurdles” prevented the team from choosing that name.
Early on we understood Wolves — or some variation of it — was one of our fan favorites. As I’ve said all along, we take feedback from our fans seriously, and because of your interest in this name, we put Wolves on a list of options to explore fully. Once we began looking into Wolves, however, we became aware of a notable challenge: trademarks held by other teams would limit our ability to make the name our own. And without Wolves, variations like RedWolves wouldn’t have been viable either for these and other reasons.
Understanding the weight and importance of our team name, and excitement around other name options — both internally and within our fan base — we didn’t want to risk going down a route that could be dotted with legal hurdles. The prospect of years of litigation wasn’t something that we wanted you, our fans, to have to bear as you begin to embrace a new brand.
So, Red Wolves is out of the running, which leaves seven potential options for the team.