The Washington Football Team, after a two-year stint with a temporary team name in place of their previous moniker, have found a new identity this past weekend. Although it was somewhat expected, the rollout showed how disconnected Washington’s front office is from the community that supported them the most.
In 2019, after multiple sponsors threatened to pull out financial backing for the team — including stadium namesake FedEx — the Washington team retired their old name. They settled on the “Washington Football Team” as a placeholder for a name to be determined in two seasons’ time.
With a new name in sight, Washington decided to fire general manager Bruce Allen and move president Dan Snyder to owner, leaving the door open for Washington to hire former NFL player Jason Wright as their president. Snyder and Allen, along with ex-coach Jay Gruden, have since been accused of sexual misconduct in the workplace dozens of times with no conviction, as a written report of over 100 pages filed by the NFL has yet to be released.
Fans across the world submitted their ideas as to what they believed Washington should rename themselves to, with names such as “Redwolves” and “Hogs” becoming heavy favorites from social media users.
Despite years of speculation, Snyder made the ill-advised decision to recharacterize the team by his own merit, deciding the team’s name would be the “Washington Commanders” from the start.
How does everyone know this? Well, Snyder registered the domain name “commanders.com” mere MINUTES after the retirement of the old title. He constantly insisted that Commanders was a top name, even though no fans have shown evidence of approval from anywhere outside the front office.
He also was adamant about head coach Ron Rivera being involved in the name decision, even though he had only been there for two seasons and hadn’t produced a team with a winning record in either.
Commanders was one of the ‘final three names,’ according to CBS Sports, along with Hogs and Redtails. Fan support grew for the latter two more than any other name, yet, as Feb. 2 came around, the Washington Commanders’ identity was finalized.
I have been an avid fan of Washington football, and most of my Sundays are spent with my family, watching this team play sometimes good, mostly underwhelming, football. It was definitely a big moment for me to see what the front office decided was best for the city.
But, once again, Snyder decided himself.
He made the same decision during the 2019 NFL Draft in April, going against the entire draft room to select Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, a player that struggled against tough competition and was out of a starting job after one full season. He made the same decision while on workplace probation, promoting his wife Tanya to his co-owner so he could make decisions through her without consulting his peers.
Now, he has made the decision on the team’s name. Years of spuriously listening to fans on their ideas culminated into a rebrand that makes fans feel one unceremonious emotion: bleh.
Even though fan support among the jerseys and crest have been encouraging, the revolt seems to reside more with how the rollout happened, rather than its final product. There were, in classic Washington fashion, mistakes across the board.
Wright, in an interview with the Pat McAfee Show, insisted upon the presence of “misdirection” stating how most leaked information would be false, and to wait until the actual release date for the real logo and uniforms.
Well, a month before the release, images of the Washington Commanders’ new look were released and, sure enough, they matched the real rollout almost exactly. In fact, NBC Sports Washington themselves aired footage of Wright holding a picture of the new crest, which was identical to their released crest.
This all wraps back around to the front office. Snyder has been poisoning this team since his promotion and, under all the glitz in the uniforms and logos, there is a toxic group of higher-ups controlling this team like their personal marionettes.
Snyder must go.