The Washington Football Team’s placeholder name will remain intact for a second season, as the franchise’s official website dedicated to the rebrand recently released a statement that says a new identity won’t be ready until 2022.
“We’ve transitioned from our old name. Now it’s time to write a new legacy,” the statement on WashingtonJourney.com reads. “The future of Washington Football arrives in 2022.”
The website includes a timeline that mentions a discovery phase where the franchise will gather input from players, alumni, fans and sponsors, as well as an insight phase where the franchise narrows down potential options. From there, the franchise will work with Nike, the NFL and its internal team in hopes of bringing a new identity that lasts more than a century to life.
There’s also a place for designs and fans of all ages to submit their name, logo and uniform suggestions. You might notice some of the concepts already posted were featured in our redesign contest last summer.
All that said, the announcement shouldn’t come as a surprise after head coach Ron Rivera said last summer a proper rebrand could take up to 18 months.
“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,” Rivera said. “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 November, team president Jason Wright said Washington had filed for trademarks on more than 30 different nicknames and that the name of choice might not be announced for another year. He also noted the Washington Football Team nickname could become the permanent moniker.
“It’s definitely in the running,” Wright said. “I don’t think anything is off the table. With this one, people are excited about the idea of a club has an identity rooted solely in the area it represents. Maybe it’s ‘Football Team’ or it’s ‘Football Club.’ We need to get underneath the why, so no matter what direction we go, we can pull on the heartstrings of folks.”
Former Washington quarterback and senior vice president of player development Doug Williams said on a radio appearance earlier this month he likes and wouldn’t be opposed to keeping the current name.
“The biggest thing that resonates? Washington. At the end of the day, if it remains what it is, I’m alright,” Williams said. “I don’t know what everybody else (wants), but I think this season playing under the Washington Football Team (name) kind of hit home to a lot of us. Now I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next year or so, but I think it kind of resonated because the most important thing, we’ve got to understand where we are. We are in the DMV area and Washington has been the name for so many years, with a logo and a mascot and a name, but Washington will never leave us. So, we’re going to keep that in place, and to me that’s the most impactful part of this whole name change thing.”
The franchise was founded as the Boston Braves in 1932 but changed its nickname to the Redskins the following season. The nickname remained through a move to Washington D.C. in 1937 and was used until 2020, when the team announced the placeholder name amid pressure from sponsors and nationwide protests against racial inequality.
That said, Williams doesn’t believe the previous nickname or any potential replacements are what truly represent the franchise.
“When you talk about the name change and everything, it’s the history of this organization and the players that played the game, it’s not the logo that was on the side of the helmet,” Williams said. “We’ve got to let the fans understand that the history of this organization is not going away. It’s here. It’s three Super Bowl trophies that are in this building, and it’s because of the players.”
Photos courtesy of the Washington Football Team.