The Hogettes, Washington Redskins fans, stand in a line as they watch Hall of Fame offensive lineman Russ Grim, shown on the monitor, accept his ring during halftime of the Redskins/Colts game at FedEx Field on October 17, 2010 in Landover, Md.
Ricky Carioti | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Doug Williams looked a bit surprised. And judging by his stalling, it appeared as if he even disapproved of the Washington Football Team’s new name.
The Washington Commanders.
The National Football League franchise officially revealed its long-awaited secret with a rebrand on Wednesday, burying the name Washington Football Team on NBC’s “TODAY” show. It had used that generic moniker since it dropped its previous name, long considered a racist slur against Native Americans, in July 2020 following the threat of corporate sponsors pulling business.
During the announcement, Williams, a team executive and the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, sat beside team President Jason Wright, the first Black team president in the NFL.
“We are the Commanders,” Williams said.
“It’s something that allows us to tie the rich history and championship legacy of this franchise to new traditions of the future,” added Wright.
The NFL team, which is worth more than $4 billion, still has the same problems — there are new sexual harassment allegations surrounding the owner, Dan Snyder, accusations Snyder has denied.
And now the team has its new brand. But it missed a chance to revisit a fun part of its past with its name change. Here’s why.
The Commanders isn’t the worst name the team could have selected, but it’s not original, either.
The short-lived Alliance of American Football owned the San Antonio Commanders franchise before the league folded in 2019. Hence, it’s likely the name was up for grabs after the football property filed for bankruptcy. The league owed more than $40 million, $7 million of that to MGM, which was an initial investor in AFF, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Throughout the search, Wright, who took the role of president in August 2020, solicited fan responses for a new name. He wrote in a blog post that the franchise couldn’t go with fan favorite the Red Wolves because of trademarks held by other teams. And the Presidents, another rumored name, was the least favorite among polls of NFL fans.
Research company the Morning Consult found the Defenders name was the most favorable. The Admirals and Commanders were next.
But leading up to the name reveal, I became curious about what a true fan would think. So I called my good friend Ron Burke, a lifelong Washington football fan, and he told me about the Hogs.
The Hogs nickname traces back to the 1980s offensive linemen, including Pro Bowlers Jeff Bostic, Joe Jacoby and Russ Grimm. The group was coached by longtime assistant Joe Bugel, the creator of the “Hogs” nickname. The unit helped Washington appear in three Super Bowls during the 1980s, winning in the 1982 and 1987 seasons.
“The name was…
Read More: Washington Commanders should have picked the Red Hogs name