Three strikes and the Commanders still can’t get it right


JP Lyons

The Washington Commanders’ front office had three chances to create a good name, but we think all of them failed.

by Avery Glynn and JP Lyons

#commies, #poverty, #commandos,

This is just a taste of what was on social media when the team announced their new name.

February 2, 2022 was a big day for Washington football fans. Their team announced their final rebrand. They became known as The Commanders. Some fans like the rebrand and think that The Commanders pulled it off well. Other fans are unsatisfied.

“I wanted the name to be The Red Wolves,” said freshman Patrick Lyons. Red Wolves was a fan favorite name. 

The frustration spilled over to our daily high school conversation.  Some fans are disappointed by The Commanders. While others feel they are forced to get used to it. The name may not be our first choice, but what’s in a name?  The team is what matters. 

The Commanders play in the NFC East along with the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants. They play at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The organization was founded in 1932 and was originally located in Boston. They soon migrated to Washington, D.C. 

The team found the height of their success in the 80’s ending with a 1991 championship win, but have been below average since then. The team has only managed a mere seven playoff appearances since the early 90’s.

The Commanders went through the rebrand due to controversy surrounding their old name, The Redskins. The organization received national backlash for claims of the “Redskins” being insensitive to Native Americans. This national spotlight caused the team to scramble as they lost a lawsuit and nearly all of their sponsorships. Their solution was to give them a replacement name through the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons. The organization’s brilliant idea was to name them the Washington Football Team which made them the butt of all jokes for two seasons. After two long seasons of mediocrity they finally unveiled their plan to the public.

The rebrand did not change the opinion of freshman fan Cory Clark. “They are still the same team with the same players and staff.”

In an article by Washington Wire, Commanders’ defensive lineman Johnathan Allen said that the name initially received mixed reviews among the players. Players such as safety Kam Curl, long snapper Cam Cheeseman, and offensive lineman Charles Leno, Jr. all liked the rebrand. While other players, such as superstar defensive lineman Chase Young, were not fans.

November 2021, defensive lineman Chase Young was a guest on USA Today Sports as he graded potential names for the Team. There were suggestions such as Armada, Brigade, and Red Hogs. They eventually got to the Commanders, which Young promptly gave an “F” grade.

The name may have been a hit or miss among players, but the new roll out of jerseys were a definite hit for the players and fans. The team released three different jerseys. One jersey has a combination of burgundy pants and a burgundy jersey. The numbers on the front and back of the jersey are yellow. Another combination is white pants and a white jersey. The number on the front and back of these are burgundy. The final combination they released were black pants and a black jersey with yellow numbers.

Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin tries on one of the new jerseys available on the Commanders store.

“The new jerseys are good. My favorite is the burgundy one,” said Lyons.

The Commanders also rolled out two new helmet options. They first released their primary burgundy helmet which is designed with a yellow Commander’s logo on each side of the helmet. This helmet will be the one primarily used. The NFL created a rule that starting next season (The Commanders debut) NFL teams will be allowed to use an alternate helmet. This led Washington to surprisingly introduce not only black jerseys but a black helmet to their wardrobe. The black helmet consists of yellow numbers with a yellow “W” placed in the front. The color black has never been associated with the team colors before so, many are excited to see the product on the field. 

The Commanders were not very good last season finishing 7-10 on the season which ranked 3rd among the rest of the NFC East. They’re gonna need more than new jerseys in order to improve.

Lancer Media posted a poll about the new name. In the voting, 84% of voters did not think the Commanders is a good name.

Top QB prospects Bailey Zappe and Sam Howell both liked the name as they stated in an interview after the Senior Bowl. Former Colts punter Pat McAfee also stated that he liked the name during his podcast.

Some fans are upset about how long it took the rebrand to happen. In the two years that they were known as the “Washington Football Team”, they were made fun of by the rest of the NFL community. Some think that it should not have taken two years for the rebrand as the logo and name are both very simple. 

The Commanders franchise has had a rich history which has brought in all types of fans over the years. These fans are mainly attached to their “Redskins” as they were the team that brought three super bowls to the franchise. The big question is will these same fans still be in love with their team even after their identity was reformed? We took some time to ask some of Linganore High School’s biggest Commanders fans how the name change affects their loyalty to the franchise. 

“The name may sound weird right now but I think over time the fan base will get used to it and rally around it.” said Freshman Patrick Lyons

The commanders are in desperate need of fan support as just last season the Commanders were 31st out of 32 teams in average attendance according to ESPN. Hopefully the rebrand will bring an excitement around the team that hasn’t been in DC seen since 1991, the teams last Superbowl appearance. However, the only solution to fan enjoyment is winning which is something the franchise hasn’t done in over 30 years. Will the rebrand change the script? Only time will tell.