Last week, Washington Football Team president Jason Wright told The Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala that while the team will continue to use the “Football Team” moniker for the 2021 season, the franchise will debut its new nickname in 2022. After years of pressure and resistance, the team finally announced last year that it intended to retire the team’s former nickname at the conclusion of its “thorough review” of said nickname.
“The team hired Code and Theory, a digital creative agency, to guide it through the rebranding process, which has included 40,000 submissions from fans, multiple focus groups, surveys and a digital rollout to give fans insight into the process,” Jhabvala writes. “The new name and logo will be revealed in early 2022, Wright said, and will retain the traditional burgundy and gold colors that are entrenched in the team’s history.”
The team had previously suggested that it could use the “Football Team” moniker permanently, but that will not be the case. Of course, there are some issues for the club to untangle as it searches for a new name, thanks to a man named Martin McCaulay, who has been squatting on the trademarks of several possible names for years. As of July of last year, McCaulay had filed for 44 different trademark applications of names Washington could potentially choose. McCaulay indicated last year a potential willingness to give the trademarks to the NFL for free to facilitate a name change, but then changed course after he was not contacted by anyone from the league or the team.
Earlier this offseason, some season-ticket holders were polled on a list of names, including:
AcesAmbassadorsAnchorsArchersArmadaAviatorsBeaconsBeltersBrigadeCommandersDefendersDemon CatsFirst City Football Club (FCFC)GriffinsGuardiansIconsMajorsMonarchsPilotsPresidentsRazorbacksRedtailsRedwolvesRed HogsRenegadesRiders RisingRoyalsRubiesSwiftsWarriorsWashington DC Football Club (DCFC)Washington Capital City Football Club (CCFC)WayfarersWild Hogs32FC (W32)Football Team
With a new name around the corner, we used the space below to run through some of these names, as well as some of the most popular suggestions from years past. Some of them could work, but there are also some that seemed logical on the surface but probably can’t happen (and thus were not included on the list sent to fans.)
Hogs / Red Hogs / Wild Hogs
Naming the team after the famed offensive linemen that helped power them to three Super Bowls in the 1980s and 1990s seems like an interesting idea and there’s already a built-in affinity for the name from the fanbase, but there is also far too much potential for … different interpretations if you name a team after the hogs. Can’t say I’d recommend any of these. (Our own Michael Bohlin also suggested the Warthogs last year, which was the name of Washington’s indoor soccer team.)
RedHawks / Redwolves
Miami (Ohio) University helpfully suggested this one, all the way back in 2014. While it would make for a smooth transition for CBS Sports Director of Programming Eric Kay, who is both a Washington fan and a Miami (Ohio) alum, it seems unlikely that the team would choose to become the second to make this exact name change. (i.e. “Redskins” to RedHawks) Redwolves seems… fine, I suppose. But there’s nothing Washingtonian about it. The Team can do better.
Senators / Presidents / Monarchs / Royals
This seems unlikely for a couple of reasons. First of all, the Senate has a disastrous approval rating, so I’m not sure anybody would want to root for the Senators. More importantly, the Washington Nationals still own the moniker “Washington Senators,” so it wouldn’t be possible even if Snyder wanted to pay tribute to the city’s original baseball team. (Unless he bought the name from Randy Lerner. But that seems even more unlikely.) The current president has a somewhat higher approval rating than the previous one, but it seems unlikely that the team will want to directly associated itself with whomever is in the White House at any given time. Meanwhile, the monarchy is much more closely associated with England than the United States, so those names seem better served for a potential future London Franchise than for renaming the Football Team.
Americans / Generals / Armada / Brigade / Commanders / Defenders / Guardians / Other military-themed names
One of the other teams in Washington is named the Capitals. Naming the team after the Senate (or the House of Representatives) seems like a horrendous idea. But it is based in our nation’s capital, so you know some people are going to suggest naming it either after the country itself, or one branch or another of the armed services. Personally, I think teams should be much more creative than this. You can name a team the Americans or Generals or any of these other names in any city in the country. The name should be specific to Washington in some way.
Bravehearts / Warriors / Renegades
Each of these names has the benefit of not changing the team’s overall aesthetic too much. They could probably keep the spear logo, which actually looks really cool on helmets, for example. (Just ditch the feather, probably.) With the Renegades, the team could also keep the “R” logo in place. They wouldn’t have to change their colors and the fight song could easily be tweaked to replace one word, and any of these options would work. This is probably the simplest route the team could go without making any drastic changes.
Redtails / Aviators / Pilots
Redtails is the name that won a design contest several years ago, and honestly, I dig it. It’s a nod to the planes flown by the Tuskegee Airmen, an all-Black squadron of fighter and bomber pilots who fought in World War II and were the first Black military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. Three of the first five admitted Airmen were from Washington, which gives the Redtails name a specific connection to the city. The team could easily keep the colors and the “R” logo, while also transitioning from a name with potential negative connotations to one with extremely positive connotations that honors the city, the armed services, and Black Americans. Going with the Aviators or Pilots would be a way to nod toward these Airmen without directly naming the team after them.
Aces / Anchors / Archers / Belters / Demon Cats / Griffins / Icons / Razorbacks / Rising / Rubies / Swifts / Wayfarers
These are the grab-bag names that would represent a pretty dramatic shift for the team away from its former identity. Some of them seem pretty good (Demon Cats sounds awesome), but others less so (Rubies, Swifts, Rising). Razorbacks seems particularly unlikely since the chances of the team becoming the most well-known Razorbacks football team are pretty slim, given the existence of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Belters is at least evocative of Washington (i.e. the Beltway), but it just doesn’t seem like a football name. Aces, Anchors, and Archers seem too plain, and Wayfarers are sunglasses, not footballers.
First City Football Club (FCFC) / Washington DC Football Club (DCFC) / Capital City Football Club (CCFC) / 32FC (W32)
If they’re going to use one of these, they might as well just stick with the Football Team.
This story has been edited to reflect new information regarding the team’s name change.