What’s in a Name? Dan Snyder Explains Why the Washington Football Team May Keep Its Interim Brand

Oct 15, 2020 1:44 PM ET

Oct 15, 2020 9:44 AM ET
iCrowd Newswire – Oct 15, 2020

Back in July 2020, after years of controversy, Daniel Snyder made a landmark decision. Washington’s NFL team would no longer go by its former title, but take on a new, interim name: the Washington Football Team. The original idea was that the team would go under that name for the duration of the year. However, as time ticks by and the team still doesn’t have new branding, many are starting to speculate that this is a long-term change.

The Stop Gap Name

When Daniel Snyder chose the Washington Football Team as a name, it was a stop gap. Since he did not believe that the team had the time to decide on a new name ahead of the 2020 season, this title was chosen to fill the gap. Now that the season is set to start and the team will play its first game on Sunday, there’s another rumor surrounding the team.

Dan Snyder recently told the Wall Street Journal that the new name could be a permanent fixture. In an email correspondence when asked whether the Washington Football Team could, in theory, keep its name for the foreseeable future, he simply answered, “Sure, it’s a possibility!” Of course, he went on to explain that this would depend largely on the fans.

“If the Washington Football Team name catches on and our fans embrace it then we would be happy to have it as our permanent name. I think we have developed a very classy retro look and feel,” he explained to the Wall Street Journal in the same email.

The Era of Change

Needless to say, it’s not merely the name that has changed this year. The Washington Football Team has been undergoing a period of transformations in recent months. During the 2020 season, not only will the team play under a temporary name, but there are other controversies going on within its ranks. At the helm, Daniel Snyder is doing a remarkably good job of keeping things on track and ensuring that the team’s eyes are on the prize.

As most people now know, the reason for the original name change was down to countless national protests against the team’s former name. Perceived as a racial slur, the moniker was seen as insulting to Native Americans. It was clear from the offset that something had to be done. The team could not continue under that negative branding.

Moreover, there’s tension among the team’s partners. Rumors have been circulating that minor stakeholders are now looking to sell up. With that in mind, there has been increasing pressure on Dan Snyder himself to look into selling the team. Fortunately enough, he has previously stated that he has no intention of selling the Washington Football Team anytime in the near future. What’s more, when emailing the Wall Street Journal, Snyder said that these tensions were having zero impact on the renaming process.

The Ongoing Name Game

So, the question remains, when will the NFL team’s name change? Dan Snyder has said that both he and his family have thought about renaming the team many times over the years. However, while the move may be obvious to some, there was heritage to consider.

Despite the tensions caused by the former name, he stated that it had a “long history and was a source of pride” for many fans. For that reason, the move to switch up the name and move away from years of heritage was tough. In the email to the Wall Street Journal, Dan Snyder admitted that the “decision to change was not an easy one.”

“Over the past few years the name had increasingly become a distraction from our primary focus of football. So, in the spirit of inclusivity, we made the decision to move forward. We want our future name and brand to stand for something that unifies people of all backgrounds and to continue to be a source of pride for the next 100 years or more,” he penned in the same email.

Naturally, when the new name was announced, fans and critics alike began to speculate on new brands. Names including the Red Wolves, Redtails, and Generals were all floated since the decision was made. However, none of these monikers have been chosen as the official brand yet. In July this year, the team made an announcement saying two crucial things. First of all that it would be going by the Washington Football Team for now and, secondly, that the team would have no traditional mascot for the 2020 term.

Rebranding the NFL Team

When the team made that landmark announcement, the clock started ticking. Dan Snyder had just under two months to get rid of the NFL team’s old name and logo. That meant erasing the former branding from every part of the team including the website, stadium, signage, and merchandise. It was no small feat and took great effort to do.

“We are essentially doing something that would typically take up to 6 months and doing it in less than 45 days,” Daniel Snyder told the Wall Street Journal in his recent email.

To mark this period, there have been other changes too. For example, the road leading to the stadium has recently been renamed too. It is now called Sean Taylor Road, a homage to the NFL team’s ex-safety who was murdered more than a decade ago. Similarly, the lower bowl of the stadium has been named Bobby Mitchell, after the team’s first black player. The Washington Football Team was the last NFL team to integrate players in 1962.

These changes, while seemingly minor, mark a whole new era in the NFL team’s history. The formal renaming process is starting soon. For now, the Washington Football Team remains with an ad campaign slogan stating: “No name, but team.” Dan Snyder told the Wall Street Journal that the team’s timeline is to “get it right”.

Learn more about the Washington Football Team and Dan Snyder: https://americanfootball.fandom.com/wiki/Daniel_Snyder