Tom Garrett recently posted this article on some potential options for a Redskins name change and offered some criteria for a successful name change. After reading that post I was inspired to make my own musings on this subject public as well. This is something that I'm sure each of as fans have given some thought to and as annoying as all of this name change talk can be there is fun to be had here. I'll summarize his criteria here for simplicity's sake, but please read his article for his detailed and entertaining reasoning that went into each of his six points.
1. All Native American imagery must go.
2. Don't use names that already exist.
3. Don't use a bad name for the sake of clinging desperately to "red" or "skins".
4. Don't put a potato on the helmet.
5. Ideally, the name should "work" with the fight song.
6. Picking a name that sticks in the craw of the anti-Redskins folks is a bonus.
In addition to those points I'll add a seventh:
The name should ideally feature some relevance to the city of Washington.
To that end I've come up with a few options of my own to go along with the ones that have already been thrown out there by Tom and others like him. I'll be using his format for the sake of consistency as well, but I can't promise to be as witty or entertaining as he is.
If I could really have my way the name just wouldn't change, but if it had to I am among those who would hope for it to revert back to The Braves. Of course, this doesn't fit Tom's first criteria and we'd still have to deal with protesters and the like after the fact. Still, the first option I came up with isn't too far off.
1. The Brave Men
Upside: This name doesn't sing to me, but there's some potential I believe especially as it pertains to point 6: sticking in the craw of the anti-Redskins folks. It is obviously is inspired by the team's original name and echoes some of that Native American influence as a result. Therefore I would change very few of the team's current visuals. To further needle the name change crowd I would leave the helmet icon alone outside of some limited modification. I would replace the Native American man with the silhouette of a slightly more generic looking man, but keep it similar enough that everyone knows exactly what it really is. To officially distance the team from its Native American origins the name Brave Men could also be a subtle nod to our nation's military and the more generic silhouetted profile should be better than the more obvious pictures of soldiers that some have called cheesy or heavy handed. Also, at two syllables it works with the fight song.
Downside: The name itself is a bit generic sounding and doesn't have anything to do with D.C. specifically. The two word name is also a bit odd when compared to every other team name in the NFL. It could be made into something patriotic, but it also feels a bit forced and using the military as a veil for sticking it to the anti-Redskins people seems at least a little disrespectful. All in all I'm just not sure about it.
Verdict: I really don't like the two word name. While the words "brave men" don't give anyone the impression of weakness they are a bit weak as a name in the NFL. If you can't make your point with one word you probably have to move on. I had considered using Freemen instead which could be used in a lot of the same ways. However, it doesn't have the same sort of relationship to The Braves name. Plus, historically speaking the Puritan freemen were land owning men who were able to hold official offices; Native Americans were not allowed to become freemen and that would be sort of an ironic, unintended jab at them that I'm sure would be pointed out.
2. The Sandhills
Upside: Washington's city motto is "Justia Omnibus" or "Justice For All". As I started thinking about that I started to wonder what animal represents justice. What I found is that in some Native American cultures cranes play the role of peace maker and are the symbol of that concept. But are there even any cranes in D.C.? Just one it turns out: The sandhill crane. The word sandhill fits in the fight song and the birds even look pretty cool which is a plus. With this name there could be a number of subtle nods to the team's Native American inspiration without being directly related to Native Americans themselves. Also, the Cheyennes even associate sandhill cranes with lightning which is pretty boss.
Downside: I imagine everyone's first reaction is "Huh?" The name really requires a decent amount of explanation and doesn't even immediately draw attention to the bird if you leave "crane" off of it. Cranes themselves aren't necessarily the most awesome birds in the world at first glance either. Outside of the name being two syllables the fight song would have to be reworked quite a bit I think.
Verdict: I think people could warm up to this name if they took the time to learn about it, but who wants to explain what your team's nickname means all of the time? At the end of the day it's just kind of a weird name.
3. The Everymen
Upside: An everyman is an ordinary guy who is easy to relate to. The term itself carries a sort of blue collar mentality with it which is how the players that have been the back bone of this team's history were described. As a name this is super inclusive, we would represent anyone and everyone. But I didn't choose this name to cater to the PC crowd. Our nation was founded by everymen, men who lived normal lives but cared so much about their freedom and liberty that they had to stand up and fight for it. George Washington was chief among these men and this name is a subtle way to represent him, the men he fought alongside of as well as those whom they represent even today: Us. Additionally the team initials are "WE" as in, "We the people of the United States..." which gives this another cool layer of symbolism. Also, it goes well with the fight song.
Downside: Everymen makes the team sound kind of ordinary, but since that's the whole point I don't really see that as a downside.
Verdict: I actually really, really like this name. The more I thought about it the more I liked it. Not only does it fit nearly every one of the listed criteria, but it inspired me to design a uniform to go along with it which I've included a quick sketch of. There's just so much you can do with the team with this as a starting point. In my personal opinion I would lean more heavily on representing the city of Washington rather than the nation as a whole which is where my uniform design really started to take off. I based it off of Washington's flag which is itself based off of George Washington's family's coat of arms. Even the fight song started to come naturally to me. Here's the only portion that would change:
"Hail to the people! Hail to the free! Every man among you! Fight for old D.C.!"
So what do you guys think? Are any of these names any good? Do they inspire you to come up with any new ones? I've included a few other ones that I came up with in the poll below.