A story from TMZ yesterday about the Washington Football Team's possible new name didn't make many waves. Stories about owner Dan Snyder settling a sexual misconduct claim for $1.6 million and QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. partying with strippers mask-less after Sunday's loss understandably took over the news cycle. One person who didn't miss the story was Team President Jason Wright who has be working closely with Snyder and Head Coach Ron Rivera to choose a new permanent name for the team.
The TMZ story was linked to a team source who said Dan Snyder is strongly considering sticking with the Washington Football Team as the name going forward. This could also be modified to the Washington Football Club as a hat tip to European soccer clubs. The source left it open that the team could still go in a different direction and choose a completely different name.
Jason Wright attempted to pour some cold water on this story by downplaying the "team sources" and pointing out that this is a long process. They aren't down to two secret finalist names and they plan to be open with fans, and include them in the process. This isn't the first time we've heard the WFT name could remain beyond this season. It has been hinted at that the name could remain through at least the 2021 season as the team works through trademark issues for a potential new name.
Friends, love the passion, but a report from “Team sources” has you spun up like this? The months long, analytic, fan-engaging process we’ve communicated is still the approach. No two secret finalist names. No smoke and mirrors. When we share with you, we mean what we say. https://t.co/SwnURa7Fhw— Jason Wright (@whoisjwright) December 23, 2020
Dan Snyder said something similar in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in September. He left it open to the fans response to the team's new name and modified uniforms.
"Sure, it’s possible!” Snyder wrote in an email to The Wall Street Journal.
“If the Washington Football Team name catches on and our fans embrace it then we would be happy to have it as our permanent name,” he wrote. “I think we have developed a very classy retro look and feel.”
Jason Wright gave a much longer interview in November. He brought up the possibility the team keeps the Washington Football Team name, and also mentioned the Washington Football Club variation. So it seems to definitely be on the minds of the top guys making the decision.
“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.”
Jason Wright said choosing a new name first consists of market analysis/testing and algorithms. They will study marketing and merchandising possibilities for any new name being considered.
Then they will turn to focus groups to find out what fans want, and why. He mentioned the fan-favorite Red Wolves, but also mentioned honoring the military which Ron Rivera has also talked about.
“We could do something around conservation and animal rights,” he said. “That’s a compelling idea; an idea around the fan experience of a howl that would fill the stadium. Underneath for us is to understand why. Are we an environmentally savvy fan base across fan groups?”
They will then consult community leaders including Native Americans. The decision will be Dan Snyder's but the process has been a collaboration with two new people in the organization who have gained a lot of influence very quickly. Don't expect anything official until after the 2021 season, but there will be plenty of rumors and speculation until then.
What should Washington's permanent name be?
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Washington Football Team
Washington Football Club
Washington Red Wolves