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.