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Report: ‘Pretty Good Chance’ Commanders Get New Team Name

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With Daniel Snyder’s sale of the Commanders becoming final yesterday, ESPN reporter Don Van Natta Jr. says the new ownership group could hit the reset button by giving the franchise yet another new name.

Van Natta, who has reported extensively on Snyder’s ownership tenure, appeared yesterday on Rich Eisen’s radio show. Asked if the new owners might want to rename the team, Van Natta replied, “I think there’s a pretty good chance of that, to erase any part of the Snyder legacy to have a complete do-over. I would not be surprised at all, Rich, to see a name change and a complete rebranding.”

The team has already operated under three different names since 2020: Redskins, Washington Football Team, and Commanders. A fourth team name in such a short span would be unprecedented.

It’s not clear how long it would take for a rebranding to be executed. We’re always hearing that it takes two years to introduce new uniforms, but they were able to pivot to the WFT identity very quickly in 2020. If the new owners don’t like “Commanders,” maybe they could revert back to WFT while a new name is in the works.

Phil was asking me just yesterday if the five-year rule on uniform changes applied even when there’s a change in ownership. I told him that I thought the five-year rule was just that — five years, irrespective of ownership switcheroos. But that’s for a uniform change; if there’s a name change, it seems obvious that the uniforms would have to change as well, regardless of the five-year time frame. In any case, NFL owners are probably as eager to rid themselves of Snyder’s legacy as the team’s new owners are, so they might suspend the rule, expedite the paperwork, and so on.

Bottom line: Remember how everyone spent a few years proposing new names and uni concepts for this team? It looks like we may be going through that cycle again.



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Can of the Day

It’s always interesting to see a cursive “Q” that looks like a “2.” I wasn’t taught to write a “Q” that way (were you?), but it shows up here and there. For those of you whose first and/or last name begins with a “Q,” do you write it that way when signing your name?

Comments (81)

    Another couple of years of dealing with the name, oh joy. Between that and the stadium derby, it’s going to be a drag for those of us in and around the Beltway.

    The new origami W logo is fine, just go back to the burgundy over gold and white over burgundy uniforms and be done with it.

    Yes, just come up with another new name, if you must, but revert back to the colors and uniforms that the team wore when they were known by their previous nickname (because those were great looking uniforms), and either apply a logo based on the new nickname, or use the “Origami W”.

    In a way, it’s a shame that burgundy and gold are such great colors and absolutely “belong” to the DC team … I say this only because if there was ever a franchise that could use a *break* from the past history/ownership/etc, it’s Washington.

    I think whatever name — but more importantly unis — comes out of this sale, the overwhelming consensus will be to keep burgundy and gold (and hopefully ditch the BFBS). I just can’t see the team wearing anything but b&g.

    B&G is non-negotiable – I think I have seen one person suggest a new color palette. I am not sure who likes the BFBS either. “Football Team” was more popular than Commanders.

    It’s really amazing what happened to this franchise. They were the only one that mattered around DC 30 years ago. Now, they have no buzz. My kids are 15 and 9 – they and their friends don’t really care about the team. I see plenty of Nats and Caps gear and other NFL teams when I walk them to school. Little or nothing from the former Snyder franchise. Nobody under 40 really remembers them going to the playoffs in consecutive seasons.

    In the olden days, transplants adopted the team when they got here. Now, it’s so easy to stick with your old team. The baggage associated with the nickname hurt. People have been quite happy to “become Washingtonians” – see the proliferation of DC flags as an example as well as cheer for the Nats and Caps. Snyder and the nickname were non-starters for so many.

    I’m dating myself here (do they even teach cursive any longer???), but I was taught to write a cursive Q very similarly, sort of like a G. In fact, it was one of the things I did not like about having to write that letter, as it always looked like a cockeyed G to me (obviously was just the way I was doing it). I love that type/text on the can though.

    Tim – I have a 23 year old son and 17 year old daughter. Neither knows how to write in cursive. Neither wrote any paper or essay. Everything is typed. In fact my son just graduated from college and never used a physical textbook in his years there. He just started his first job (with the NFL, no fringe benefits for dad yet) and we had to teach him how to sign his name and fill out paper forms. Stuff I always took for granted

    For sure. I have 4 sons, aged 17 – 24, and none learned cursive, or at least had to do much writing that way, and I just recently had to help my 17 yo though actually signing his name to something. I don’t think we were taught cursive before printing, but it was at about the same time. I wrote entire essays in cursive in ye olden days. I remember those pages with the dotted lines in the middle to guide you as to how high your swoops and lower case letters should be.

    I can tell you that teaching cursive is still a big deal in Montessori education. My kids learned to write cursive before they learned to print.

    Thanks for this comment, my kids (both under 10) who were at one time in Montessori but now homeschooled are learning cursive. But even if they’re not learning it in school parents should always be filling in the blanks at home.

    I’m 36, and likely part of the last primary school cursive generation. Our uppercase “Q”s were of the “2” variety.

    I was taught to write it like a 2. Didn’t like it.

    It’s one of the reasons (the other being my Fs and Ts looked too much alike) that I started printing capital letters and writing lower case in cursive. My 9th grade English teacher didn’t say a thing when I made the switch and I’ve been doing it ever since.

    Ontario just announced they’re adding cursive back into the school curriculum: link

    (Also, I learned to write my Qs like 2s.)

    While I think Commanders was a weak choice (not bad, just weak), I think it would do more damage to the brand than good to change it. The average person casually watching football really doesn’t have much of a clue about all the mess with Snyder. But what they would notice is that in the course of 5 years the team having 4 different names. That just makes the organization look completely dysfunctional and look like a joke. Name changes for sports teams are no small thing.
    Changing the logo and uniforms, yeah move on that ASAP, and given the reaction to the current uniforms, this probably would have happened even under Snyder after the mandatory waiting period. But at this point just stick with Commanders.

    “That just makes the organization look completely dysfunctional and look like a joke”

    Well, if the shoe fits…

    If the team gets a new stadium deal (hopefully in DC), they can open that with a new name and wash the stink of the Snyder era off for good, but yeah I wouldn’t change the name without the new stadium.

    I’m okay with the name. Fits the DC theme, fun to make fun of (Commies). The colors are great. I like the simplicity of the winged W logo. Just get rid of all the stupid details and geegaws everywhere else and everything is fine.

    I know they were trying to steer the ship away from the past some, but all they had to do was replace the Redskins logo from the helmet and put the W on it. Those uniforms were great as is, particularly the yellow and maroon pant options. The current unis suck, all three sets.

    I still think DCFC would be a cool name for the team. But, I’m not a fan so…

    I really like that. Go nickname-free. It feels a little too soccer-like, but also has a timeless quality, harking back to the era when the nickname part was totally unofficial and often made up by the media and fans.

    I always thought that this was the best name option. It fits so well. They keep the skins nickname, it harkens back to the hogs, and it works perfectly with the burgundy and gold color scheme.

    I’m for it too, but the NFL is too full of itself and serious to tolerate humorous names like baseball does.

    I like it, since it can be shortened to “Skins”. Hogs would also be good, with history associated with that name.

    I like it too, but I like Hogs even better.
    For me it’s those two or go back to Football Team.
    Wouldn’t bother me if they decided to stay with Commanders, though.

    I recall being taught the “2” style of the upper-case Q while in elementary school in the later-1980s here in Eau Claire, WI. Interestingly, I just started writing a lot in cursive again after being fairly dormant for years (outside of signing my name on papers/checks/etc.), since I’ve now started daily journaling, and it’s made me think about all the cursive rules I was taught — including that type of Q!

    I was taught the “2” style across the state in the Fox Valley in the mid-’80s. And I’ve also decided to dust off my cursive skills in recent years. My penmanship isn’t what it used to be!

    I was surprised the hear about this since the new name was just introduced recently and it seems like a long journey of hard work to change an NFL team name. I am impartial to them keeping the name or not. They definitely need to fix the white uniforms. Changing shades and going with the darker burgundy with gold like the Washington team way back could be looked at as an option.

    I agree on the uni-inspiration. Those eras of washington football have been gorgeous to look at. I think they could keep the khaki pants and make the helmet a brassy gold to match the numbers, but leave it plain or do a single stripe or just a number on the side.

    I love the bright yellow helmet era as well, and I would wholeheartedly embrace a return to that basic look, but after what they’ve done as the commies, cohesion is key. They need at least two uniforms that look like they are representing the same era of the same team.

    We’ve already got the Washington Generals, Wizards, and Mystics.

    Generals gathered in their masses
    Just like witches at black masses
    Evil minds that plot destruction
    Director of death’s construction

    See where I’m going with team name here?

    You guessed it…
    The Washington Black Sabbaths!

    I was always a fan or Warthogs, or Warhogs.

    Warthogs have so many double meanings (Referencing the hogs, the A-10 Thunderbolt Warthogs were military planes that do major damage on the air and on the ground).

    If the military thing had to be forced (which I hate) this was the best route.

    I was just thinking the same thing… Washington War Pigs. It has a nice ring to it.

    I think they should re-brand again as the Washington Federals. OK so one of the worst teams of all time, but such a great logo! And they would be known as ‘The Feds’. To go with The Nats and The Caps. Just ditch the Philly-esque green, silver and black and substitute burgundy and gold. OK, OK not going to happen for so many reasons!

    As impossible as this is…you’re not alone with support of the idea!

    When the Federals moved to Orlando and re-branded (terribly!), were they the last professional franchise to adopt Native American/American Indian iconography?

    I’m wearing a Federals Tshirt as I say this:
    Great name, great unis…not gonna happen.

    When I was in parochial grammar school, that’s the way my classmates and I were tortur…err, taught to make a cursive Q.
    To submit work using the easier and better-looking O with a wavy tail was unacceptable.

    I taught my kids cursive when I learned they don’t teach it in schools and my kids had no idea how to read or write it. I showed the proper way, then showed them where my personal deviates from the orthodox. The “2” as “Q” did not make the Final Cut, but the “3” as “Z” did.

    It’s too bad. I think Commanders was a great choice for the name. Better than all the other options that were floated. The W logo is already iconic. The uniforms could use a tweak, but that’s it.

    Go back to the Redskins, as named after redskin potatoes or redskin cherries and bring back the original Redskin logo but instead insert a redskin potato in there or a couple of redskin cherries with stems. Bring back original colors as well.

    I don’t know if it would be available, but I’m partial to the Washington Sentinels. (starts signing “I Will Survive”) ;)

    Kidding aside, I don’t know if there will be a consensus among this group regarding the name situation, but it seems pretty safe to say the opinions on the colors will largely be the same – keep the burgundy and gold, knock off with the BFBS and the extra detailing nonsense.

    As far as that cursive Q, the “2” style was what I was taught in elementary school in the early 80s. But, I haven’t used cursive outside my signature in so long, I hadn’t even thought about it until today’s post. And while I don’t have a name starting with Q, I do sign the S that starts my last name in the shape of the printed letter S, something I picked up from my dad around the time I was in 4th grade.

    Dear new owners,
    I dislike your team as a division rival but you have the chance to do this right.
    1. Keep the colors.
    2. New name, one not driven by focus groups. “Pigskins” is cheeky, “Redskins” referring to potatoes is walking a fine line. Anything involving the military is a little pandering. Find your path.
    3. No BFBS.
    4. No gradients.
    5. No bespoke fonts.
    See you on the field, and Go Birds.

    I’d quibble on 5 in that while I agree with you, custom team font is a de rigueur part of Nike’s approach to uniform and team identity design. So even a rebranded Washington team will have a custom font. The trick is having a _good_ custom font. The colors are non-negotiable, and the W is a modern classic, so the real issue is not the name but the uniforms. Start from scratch, keep it simple and classic, and use actual team colors. No black, no gray, no gradients, just burgundy and gold and white and some kind of internally consistent stripe/decoration effect to carry across each element. And just 2 shirts, no more than 2 pants, 1 helmet, for at least the first three seasons. After that, and only after the team has won a first-round playoff game, then think about alternate uniform elements.

    “use actual team colors. No black, no gray, no gradients, just burgundy and gold and white”

    I thought white couldn’t be a team color

    Everyone uses white, so uniform tops, pants, or helmet could be white here. Well, shirts can be white; any other white element for this team is a mistake. I know the team has classic combos with white pants, but they should lean into burgundy and gold pants with a white and a burgundy shirt. I meant white here as an acceptable uniform color, not really a team color in the abstract.

    The problem with bespoke fonts is that they’ve largely run out of good ones. The Ravens, Texans and Chargers came out with good-looking fonts. The Browns did a version of Block Varsity with a piece of the bottom serif on the 7 missing, and it looks unfinished and weird. The Jags have a good set but it’s fairly standard. Same for the Cardinals, Jets, Colts, but they’re using basic-with-tiny-twist to be unique. The Lions, Vikings, Falcons have dreadful sets. I never warmed to the Seahawks. So, you wind up with a variant of basic or you end up with something overwrought and unattractive.
    Part of the appeal of the throwbacks are generally simple numbers.

    I’d like the NFL to expedite this process, but I also want the new ownership to take their time(but not over-think it).
    What they are called matters slightly less than how they look – MHO. Tweak the WFT look (lose the TV numbers, add a center stripe…single yellow or ‘skins pattern…and yellow pants!) – done.
    Red-Something monosyllabic? Sure. Resurrect/recycle an old team name (Like the Titans and Texans did…dare use Senators?)? Perhaps.

    My middle name is Quinten and I’ve always enjoyed signing my name with the cursive Q in the “2” fashion. I like how it stands out a bit. And to confirm what others have said, my wife has taught middle school English for a dozen plus years and cursive writing is completely gone. We’re committed to teaching it to our kids.

    And FWIW, living in the DC area, most people I know still call the WFT by the old racist name. I haven’t met anyone who likes the Commanders name. My hope is a new (better) name will lead to the complete abandonment of their former moniker.

    I also think the NFL should fast track a rebrand. I think they should have paid whatever it cost to go with Hogs and returned to their traditional uniform set, minus the logo. That was one part of their identify that didn’t need fixed and I think it would create a lot of excitement in a fan base that needs it and connect their future with their past.

    The Commanders rebrand was so uninspired and fell into every military fetish cliche imaginable. They should absolutely scrap it and start over, with the only mandate being they go back to the original uniforms/colors. Almost anything would be better than what they’ve had.

    I was taught that a cursive capital Q was written much as it as seen on that can. It does bug me that it looks a lot like a numeral 2, but I partially solved that problem writing my 2s in a block-ish style.

    When I was learning cursive in the late 80’s, I was taught to make a Q look even *more* like a 2. I think this is pretty much what I learned
    I never liked how that looked and always tried to close the loop to make it more like an O with a curl at the bottom. I never liked how the Z looked, either.

    Yes, Paul. I was taught to write to the uppercase “Q “as a 2. Early 1970s San Francisco public schools for point of reference. That said, I never wrote it that way. It looks so…colonial. Like when you look at books from the 1700s and the “s” looks like an “f.” Putty cans…get it!

    I tried trademarking the name “Washington Pigskins” back in 2006-07ish figuring I’d make my fortune selling it to the Redskins when the time finally came to change their name. It made so much sense that there was no other option I figured.

    Here’s the irony… my attorney started the process, and a few weeks later told me that the trademark was already owned by… get this… the Washington Redskins!

    The fact that they somehow ended up as the Washington Commanders is truly indicative of the disfunction of the Daniel Snyder administration.

    I was taught to write the uppercase “Q” as a “2”, late 1970s, Maryland. Now I sometimes write it more like a question mark.

    It would be unprecedented to change the team’s name that many times if the team stays in the same city. When it’s happened in the past it’s been teams that were moving from city to city in desperation. I.e.:

    Boston Yanks > NY Bulldogs > New York Yanks > Dallas Texans > Baltimore (new) Colts

    Though the NFL tried to say each of these was a new franchise.


    New Orleans Buccaneers > Memphis Pros > Memphis Tams > Memphis Sounds.

    Now that’s more like it, but only 3 of the names were in the same city, over the course of 4 seasons.


    Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Braves, Boston Braves, Boston Bees, Boston Rustlers, Boston Doves, Boston Beaneaters, Boston Red Stockings.

    1. Yes, in grammar school, I was taught to write a script Q like a 2.

    2. The Washington football team should be called the Red Wolves. It seems to obvious to me. The now-endangered red wolf’s range once included the D.C. area. Naming the team the Red Wolves would call attention to environmental issues. And it’s an animal! No controversy. Great logo potential. Keep the colors.

    3. I enjoy looking at your website. It’s great.

    It’s important to not take self-imposed “rules” all that seriously. The five-year rule is a firm rule, until the NFL decides to make an exception, which it can do any time. It’s not externally imposed, so in terms of legal theory it’s closer to a habit than to a rule or a law.

    We’ve already seen Washington go through a rebranding process in which the stakeholders – which included the NFL and Nike, who will be at the table again – settled on one of the weakest plausible candidates. I would not expect a do-over to produce significantly better results. Leave the name be, let fans grow into it, but for the love of pete beg the NFL powers that be to permit an exception to re-do the uniforms from scratch.

    washington football team is the best of all the options. it would be their unique thing and they could emphasize the old timeyness of an 80plus year old team

    I was taught the 2-shaped Q in school. I also remember an exaggerated capital X that looked like a 96

    For some reason the Washington Football Team actually worked. However if they are going to go with a complete reset I am all for the Red Tails. The historic nod would be fitting. The Defenders feels too bland and like it came out of a movie.

    By using Infinity – you literally never need to change the name for……uhm……infinity.
    It might even violate the laws of the time/space continuum – whatever that is.

    I also like “The DC Current”. Use lightning bolts like the Air Force Academy.

    Call them simply Washington, DC, sans any nickname at all, which will only struggle to replace R******s with life-long fans anyway, and have “32” on one side of the helmet as a tribute to their first year as a franchise, and rotating DC monuments on the other. And of course the classic colors are a no-brainer. Get it right, once and for all.

    A new name in Washington makes sense. The announcement leaned heavily into “Washington” and very little (if any) mention of the nickname.

    The Washington Monuments would be a perfect team name. It just rolls of the tongue so smoothly. It would be great for headlines too. “Monumental Championship Victory!”, “Monumental Collapse in 4th Quarter!”, etc.. They could have anthropomorphic monuments racing on the field instead of cartoon Presidents.

    My handwriting is dogshit either way but I honestly can’t write in cursive anymore. I haven’t done it since the 80s and I don’t even remember how to form a bunch of the letters, especially the capitals. I do remember being taught a capital Q that looked like a loopy 2. But I always thought that looked stupid so I’d go with basically a regular printed-style Q. I did that with a lot of my capital letters. Like when I sign or initial something, the J is cursive-style but the T and the H are just straight-up printed.

    Anyway, my son’s name starts with a Q and I have no idea how he was taught to write that letter (he’s 19 and I’m not even sure he was even taught how to write in cursive) but when he signs his name, the Q does not look like a 2. It just looks like a very messy print Q.

    When the Washington Bullets needed to rebrand, they dipped into magic and became the Wizards. Let them follow the same path and become the Washington Warlocks.

    In Canada, born in 1968, and was taught the cursive Q in the early 1970’s similar to “2 looking Q”.

    Think mine might have additionally had a loop at the top of the “2” looking “Q” – very close to this (but mine with a bigger loop):

    Oddly enough, at one point far in the past when originally creating my signature, my first initial (W) started with a sort of cursive Q as first part of the W. I think #2 was my favourite number at the time and I incorporated it into the first third of the W. Have kept that aspect of my signature up to now and very likely forever more.

    Instead of paying millions to rebrand go back to WFT and let a name develop organically over a few years.

    As a youngster in the ’70s, I was taught to write the “Q” like a 2 as well … though with sort of a loop at the beginning. However, I’m a lifelong tinkerer with my letterforms, and quickly started writing the letter like a capital cursive “O,” with an unconnected curlicue beneath it. Still do.

    In reviewing the United States Patent and Trademark Office database, all trademarks for the Washington Federals are dead.

    Just sayin ……

    Washington Federals. Go Feds! Keep the origami W as the primary logo, come up with a nice second logo with the DC skyline in a football or something, return to the classic 80s uniforms et voila.

    Washington Football Team was perfect. I’d like to hear the full story of why they felt the need to adopt Commanders. Of course, I’d be happy to keep the Commanders name if they adopt a salamander mascot, commander salamander.

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