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Ranking the Remaining Contenders for the Washington Football Team’s New Name

After a fan favorite was ruled out Tuesday, which of the remaining choices should WFT pick for its impending rebrand?

Tuesday’s announcement that the Washington Football Team will launch their rebrand on February 2 came with a distressing caveat: Their name will not be the Red Wolves, which was unquestionably the best of the bandied about nicknames. The name was popular enough among fans to warrant an explanation (that, like everything else in life, the coolest things are smothered in a vat of legal documents).

Online crowdsourced mockups had the team looking like the product of our children-of-the-1990s New World Order fever dreams. Finally, we’d all have a place to wear our Kevin Nash-inspired cutoff t-shirts again and blast this theme song in our cars (maybe I still do anyway). We’re headed to some potentially grim times with the remaining potential options out there and, I fear, the end result could end up looking like some kind of softened corporate mascot better equipped to sell insurance or large-button phones to the elderly.

That said, it’s important to look at what is left among the remaining names that we know of. This list is, reportedly, not a final list of the remaining names in consideration, but it’s as good a starting point as any. If you haven’t already had your fill of power rankings today, here is a list of what the WFT should do with their new name a month from now, rated from best to worst.

1. The Hogs

This is the only remaining suitable choice. The Hogs or the Red Hogs or any iteration of the Hog branding universe would not only be acceptable, but potentially exceptional. Glimpses of the uniform show us only gold stars on the back of a burgundy jersey, which, while not leaving any direct clues, stands in stark contrast to a pig aesthetic. The stars give us a military/America vibe, and less of a rural hooved animal vibe. However, it does open the door for a kind of upscaled pig. In my head, I am picturing a golden warthog-looking creature, with the stars serving as some kind of militaristic tie in (perhaps the pig is wearing a uniform? Maybe the pig served a few tours?) If Washington doesn’t stick with the Football Team, building around their secondary name would be akin to the Browns calling themselves the Dawgs or the Eagles calling themselves the Birds. It’s something a lot of us would do anyway, it’s something with historical significance, it’s something with built-in merchandising and there is a lot of potential on the angry, violent pig front. You could come out every week to the third-best song on Pink Floyd’s Animals record. Also, the announcement is being made on Groundhog Day. Coincidence?

Washington Football Team defensive end Montez Sweat (90) and defensive tackle Jonathan Allen (93) wait for play to resume against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

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2. Washington Football Team

I think we can live with a permanent WFT scenario. While it would be anticlimactic and largely a waste of the multi-million dollar branding effort Washington initiated to find a new nickname, you could make up for the lack of enthusiasm by nailing the jerseys and maybe flipping back to one of the retro helmet looks; perhaps the script letter in the circle without the offensive feathers accompanying the design. While I don’t love the Washington Football Team, it’s starting to become comfortable to us. We’ve made our little jokes. We like to hear Scott Hanson say “The Football Team” on RedZone. It’s growing on us like a too-big sweater our parents got us a few Christmases ago. The other reason I like WFT comparatively, is because some of the other names are just tired or problematic thematically. While none of them are offensive, I think, as you’ll see, I can make a case that they’ll be thorny in the worst of circumstances.

3-6. Brigade, Armada, Defenders, Commanders

While I have no problem tying yourself to a militaristic nickname personally, we’ve certainly gone through our ebbs and flows as a society and a country in terms of our relationship with military conflicts, military-related issues and military-themed things and Washington may want to think long term here. To me, unless you are West Point, the Naval Academy, the Air Force or some similar, storied military operation, it is difficult to properly capture the sentiment, the pride and the traditions without seeming a bit pandery. Boxing yourself into a year-long Salute to Service kind of deal is certainly an admirable idea, though I would be willing to bet that members of our armed forces would more actively appreciate us lobbying for better healthcare and societal acclimation programs when they return from duty than for us to name a cool fighting thing after their occupation. If Washington’s cause ends up being a militaristic nickname along with an outward commitment for better mental, physical and emotional care for our troops? Sign me up. If it’s just a cool camouflage hooded sweatshirt, I think we can all pass on the idea. Again, this is not to disparage our country’s military history, its great generals, brave soldiers and the life their work has afforded us. I would be genuinely interested to see what the military community would think of a military-inspired nickname and how they would like it to be handled (email us at!). Plus, the Patriots kind of have this market cornered, no?

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7. The Presidents

As I mentioned in my initial post speculating what the nicknames might be, regardless of your political affiliation I think we can all agree that, in the short term, it does not seem like we’re in an era that will produce a universally popular president. The approval ratings of the current and most recent former president are hanging below 50%. The rhetoric has not calmed much, if at all. Having a nickname that reflects the office holder every four years, even indirectly, makes some of the gear virtually unwearable for half of your fan base in alternate cycles. 

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