The New Washington Football Team Name Is Appropriately Boring

Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Washington Football Team announced on the Today show Wednesday morning (and in a requisite inspirational video) that it would henceforth be known as the Washington Commanders.

It’s a fine, anodyne, slightly amateurish name that is in keeping with the NFL’s status as a quasi branch of the armed forces. And, as ESPN helpfully points out, “commander is a term used most often in the military as a naval officer rank, but it also can be used as a generic term.”

Somehow, it took 20 months to come up with this thing. The New York Times reports that fans submitted more than 40,000 name ideas online and through the mail. The team whittled away possible contenders to 50, after which “those were tested in market research groups filled with fans, season ticket holders, former season ticket holders, politicians, current and former players, and other groups.” Some of those 50, like “Armada” and “Red Hogs,” were a bit more exciting than the eventual winner — though the shortened version of Commanders is a bit spicier, as many on social media were keen to point out:

What really matters is that the name is inoffensive — in contrast to the moniker that was in use between 1933 and 2020, which was widely deemed as insulting to Native Americans.

That name, and its associated logo (which has also been scuttled), drew controversy for decades. But it was only after racial-justice protests swept America two years ago and big business threatened to walk away from the team that owner Daniel Snyder — who presided over a consistently mediocre team for 23 years, reportedly tried to intimidate employees who made accusations of sexual harassment in the organization, and had pledged never to change his team’s name — finally reversed course.

For the last two seasons, the squad has been known simply as the Washington Football Team, which seemed weird at first but which everyone had pretty much gotten used to by now. If the organization wanted to stand out from the crowd a little, it could have just kept that so-dull-it’s-interesting name indefinitely. But it was not to be.

In any case, the NFL can now close this ignominious chapter and move on to the next scandal.

The New Washington Football Name Is Appropriately Boring