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Washington Commanders: A New Football Era Begins in DC

The Washington Football Team is officially reborn as the Commanders, completing a rebranding process that played out over 18 months.

After a year without a name, the Washington Football Team has officially chosen a mascot. The NFL franchise that calls the nation’s capital home will now be known as the Washington Commanders. 

The Commanders moniker was one of eight finalists the Washington Football team named in September, ultimately beating out Armada, Presidents, Brigade, Red Hogs, Red Wolves, Defenders, and the Washington Football Team itself.

The Commanders will keep the long-standing burgundy and gold team colors, but will receive a new jersey design. Fans will be able to purchase new merchandise beginning at 9 a.m. at the official team store at FedExField and anywhere official fan merchandise is sold online.

“Welcome to the not best-kept secret in DC,” team owner Dan Snyder said in a press conference this morning. Leaks for the team name have surfaced throughout the past couple of weeks with the most revealing leak happening yesterday. Multiple accounts on Twitter saw merchandise that included jerseys, t-shirts, and paperwork suggesting the announcement.

Snyder said in a release, “As we kick-off our 90th season, it is important for our organization and fans to pay tribute to our past traditions, history, legacy, and the greats that came before us. We continue to honor and represent the Burgundy & Gold while forging a pathway to a new era in Washington. Today may mark the first day for the Washington Commanders, but we are and always will be Washington.”

Commanders team president Jason Wright said, “I really want to thank our alumni. The men who built the legacy that we’re standing here on,” he said in a press conference. “It does feel good to finally say we are the Washington Commanders and not do the plugging leaks thing I’ve been doing for the last 48 hours. It has been a long process but an engaging one and an insightful one.”

The team changed its name from the Washington Redskins to the Washington Football Team two years ago after pressure mounted from Native American organizations and several team’s sponsors that included Nike, Pepsi, FedEx, and Bank of America.

Commanders was not always the team’s first choice. Originally fans clung to the Red Wolves, but team president Jason Wright explained in a blog post there were obstacles that would not allow the football team to adopt the name. 

“First, and I’ll cut to the chase here, we can confirm that, after careful consideration, our team name will not be Wolves or RedWolves,” he said. “Once we began looking into Wolves, we became aware of a notable challenge: trademarks held by other teams would limit our ability to make the name our own. And without Wolves, variations like RedWolves wouldn’t have been viable either for these and other reasons.” 

One of the teams that likely would have been in Washington’s path to gaining the Wolves mascot is the Minnesota Timberwolves, in addition to several mid-major colleges and universities.

A new era begins in the nation’s capital today. The previously nameless football team is now the Commanders, officially re-joining a pro sports community that includes the Washington Wizards, Washington Nationals, Washington Spirit, DC United, and the Washington Capitals.

To celebrate the new name the team has invited fans to FedExField to park and party with the Commanders on Friday, Feb. 4. On this night it will host a Park and Party event presented by Bud Light, featuring tailgating and a showing of exclusive team content and an NFL Films feature on the Super Bowl XXVI championship team, as well as games, giveaways, food trucks, a mobile Fanatics Team Store, DJ, and a brand-themed fireworks show to end the evening.

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About The Author
Randall Williams
Randall Williams
Randall Williams is a Staff Writer covering sports business and music for Boardroom. Before joining the team, he previously worked for Sportico, Andscape and Bloomberg. His byline has also been syndicated in the Boston Globe and Time Magazine. Williams' notable profile features he has written include NFL Executive VP Troy Vincent, Dreamville co-founder Ibrahim Hamad, BMX biker Nigel Sylvester and both Shedeur and Shilo Sanders. Randall, a graduate of "The Real HU" - Hampton University - is most proud of scooping Howard University joining Jordan Brand nearly three months before the official announcement.