A year and a half after retiring its old name and promising a new one, the Washington Football Team will soon reveal its identity. In a video published Tuesday morning, Washington announced that it will unveil its name and logo Feb. 2.
That rebrand has stretched to nearly every facet of the organization, including the names of streets leading into its headquarters in Ashburn and its stadium in Landover, and has not only indicated not only shift in aesthetic, but a complete 180 in philosophy. Team owner Daniel Snyder, who grew up a fan before purchasing the team in 1999, had fought vehemently against calls to change the name, insisting it honored the heritage of Native Americans. In a 2013 interview, he vowed: “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
When the team relented, it didn’t provide a timetable for revealing the name. It wasn’t until this past summer when team president Jason Wright announced that its more permanent identity would be finalized in early 2022, after it whittled a collection of some 40,000 fan submissions and worked through multiple focus groups to create a shortlist of options.
Wright described the team’s rebranding as “a reintroduction to the fan base” and “a catalyst” for its bigger projects, such as building a new stadium and expanding its business to include multiple non-football entities, much like the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys have done.
“Also implicit in that is the expansion of us from a sports franchise into a media and entertainment company,” Wright told The Washington Post in the summer. “It’s our vision, and this is part of what I sold Dan and Tanya [Snyder] on in my interview process: In the next decade, we should have other business lines, that are not football-related, that are at the scale of our local football business.”
Over the past 18 months, Wright and the team have remained tight-lipped about its plans for its name and logo, offering only minimal details through team-promoted videos or articles. Wright vowed two things would stay — Washington’s signature burgundy and gold colors — but later ruled out “Warriors” and any other nickname linked to Native American imagery.
“We recognize that not everyone is in favor of this change,” he wrote in an article for the team’s website. “And even the Native American community offers a range of opinions about both our past and path forward. But in these moments, it is important to prioritize the views of those who have been hurt by our historical use of Native American language, iconography and imagery.”
On Tuesday, Wright ruled out two more options: RedWolves and Wolves.
“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,” he wrote, citing potential trademark issues.
The team’s promotional video about the name announcement spanned more than seven minutes and attempted to wed the old with the new. Multiple team executives and alumni, including senior adviser Doug Williams, General Manager Martin Mayhew and former coach Joe Gibbs, were interviewed, and highlights of past Washington teams were interspersed with clips of current players. The video even included snippets of the team’s new jerseys and helmets, described, of course, by former players.
“You just got the number and the uniform, stripes around the shoulders, and that’s it,” Williams said. “That’s going to be a good-looking uniform.”
This is the glimpse Washington provided of its new uniforms, to go with narration from Doug Williams: "You just got the number and the uniform, stripes around the shoulders and that's it." pic.twitter.com/7y3L1qWI7h— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) January 4, 2022
The team announced in August that it had pared its list of options to three contenders. By September, according to its newest video, the creation process was underway, all while fans engaged in a months-long guessing game about their team’s identity.
On Feb. 2, the game will end and the next era will begin in Washington.
What to read about the Washington Commanders
Exclusive: An employee of Washington’s NFL team accused Commanders owner Daniel Snyder of asking for sex, groping her and attempting to remove her clothes, according to legal correspondence obtained by The Post. A team investigation concluded the woman was lying in an attempt to extort Snyder.
Capitol Hill: Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, announced that the committee intends to issue a subpoena to compel the testimony of Snyder.
Kevin B. Blackistone: If NFL players care about social justice, why haven’t they rebuked the Commanders’ defensive coordinator?
Penalized: The NFL fined Commanders head coach Ron Rivera $100,000 and docked the team two OTA practices in 2023 for excessive hitting during their offseason program this year, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.