When the Washington Football Team earlier this month announced plans to retire its controversial nickname and logo, the hope was to have a new identity before the 2020 season. But over the last few weeks, the franchise realized a proper rebranding process takes time, especially when the goal is to create a design that stands the test of time.
“What happened was we found the realization that this is about a 16- to 18-month process. This can’t happen instantly, so we’ve really got to do our homework, we’ve got to be very thorough with what we’re doing going forward,” head coach Ron Rivera said during an appearance on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Friday. “We want to get it right. We want this new name, this new nickname to be able to stand for 100 years. We’re going to be real busy with that. We’ve hired a firm that wants to be very diligent with their work, they want to be inclusive with their work. We’re going to do this right.”
In the meantime, the franchise will be called the Washington Football Team and wear stripped-down uniforms that feature numbers in place of the Redskins logo on the helmet. The burgundy and gold color scheme will remain intact, though, even after the rebranding.
“The players have reacted very well (to the new uniforms),” Rivera said. “They think the look is very clean. We’ve kept the traditional colors. We’re gonna be burgundy and gold again because there’s so much history with this football team, and we don’t want to lose that as well. So we’re going to keep the colors. But the players like how clean it looks. They also like the idea of having numbers on the side of their helmets, and the Alabama players seem to be pretty excited about that.”
Aside from changing its on-field look, Washington has also started the extensive process of removing all references to its previous nickname from physical and digital spaces, including signage around FedEx Field and on social media.
“I think the thing that people have to understand is this is going to be a little bit of a transition, it’s not going to happen immediately,” Rivera said in a separate interview with CBS This Morning. “We’re going to try to win the fans over by playing good football more than anything else. When you play well, when you win football games people get behind you and they support you. We’ve got to come out and show our fan base that we’re the same football team, just a different name right now, a little placeholder.
“We’ve got to do things the right way, we’ve got to change the culture as to who we are. Really not just rebrand the name, but rebrand the style of football we’re going to play, rebrand the way we do things, and that’s probably one of the most important things that we’ve got to do right now.”
The Washington Football Team is set to open the 2020 season at home against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 13.
Photos courtesy of the Washington Football Team.