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Naming the Brand Challenge

Celebrating the clown show since 1999

Texas v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

One thing I have noticed in discussion threads on Hogs Haven is how we all express our Washington Football fandom differently. Some posters and authors for the site treat Washington Football with deadly seriousness. The last 22 years must have been particularly hard for them.

Others like to have a little laugh at our misfortune, particularly when the going gets tough. I might be best known for writing analytics pieces, complete with methodology sections, which might imply a certain level of seriousness. But the truth is, that’s my idea of fun. For me, football is not a matter of life and death; it’s just entertainment. That might have something to do with the fact that my day job is in clinical trials which, on a bad day, really are a matter of life and death.

For whatever reason, I would rather spend my free time cracking wise than wallowing in despair. And friends, if you think like me, I am here to say that Tanya Snyder and her corporate minions have given us a great gift in the form of Making the Brand.

In discussions of the Making the Brand announcement, I noted how comical it was that names people were throwing out as jokes would actually make better team names than any finalist on the short list of candidates allegedly leaked to the AP by a source within the organization (Admirals, Armada, Brigade, Commanders, Defenders, Presidents, Redhawks, Red Hogs, Sentinels).

The wording of the press reports leaves open the possibility that the new team name might not appear on the leaked list. However, if the names that were leaked provide any indication of how Jason Wright’s corporate marketing wankers are thinking, I would say we are heading for a name reveal on Groundhog Day which will rank amongst the most comical moments of the Snyders’ reign of error.

Are we really meant to believe that a team of marketing hotshots, in consultation with the fanbase and past Redskins luminaries, have spent 18 months to come up with Armada and Red Hogs? If that’s what’s been going on in Football Team headquarters, it’s kind of comical.

But I fear that the truth might even be funnier to those who appreciate cringe humor. When I look at that list, the first thing that pops out is that someone seems to have a bit of a military fetish going on. Upon closer examination, another theme emerges. At least four of the nine options seem to have a sense of grandeur about them: Admirals, Armada, Commanders, Presidents.

Aside from the uber generic Brigade, Defenders and Sentinels, the military references are directed toward officer and executive ranks or fleet level units (Spanish Royal fleet, no less). Despite all the talk about making the name something that the people can relate to, there does not appear to have been any attempt to really acknowledge the soldiers who actually do the fighting for our country, such as Leathernecks, Commandos, SEALs, Rangers, GIs, Sailors or Grunts.

Even the lone reference to Washington DC’s role as the seat of American democracy is pitched at the executive level. Lowly Representatives, Justices, Marshals, G-Men or Postal Workers wouldn’t convey the sense of pomp and circumstance that a 156-212-1 professional football team demands.

Now, let me think. What person within the franchise with a Napoleon complex might be pushing the naming options in those particular directions? I think it’s equally plausible that the new name was decided at the executive level some time ago by a guy who would probably think his likeness riding a horse into combat would make a great helmet logo. If that’s the case, it would at least make sense of ridiculous purported naming options like Armada, Defenders, Presidents and Red Hogs as foils to make us feel better when we end up with a team named DC Football Commanders, The People’s Team.

Regardless of how we got to this point, all signs appear to be pointing to a real treat when the new brand is revealed on national television a few weeks from now. If we are really lucky, it will be the kind of event to make you forget where you were when Sean Taylor’s jersey was retired.

Navy v Army Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

The Challenge

With a sense of giddy anticipation, I would now like to reveal the Name the Brand Challenge.

The Challenge has two parts. To win the Grand Prize, contestants must propose a new team name that is comical in some way, but if taken seriously would still be a better name option than the final name options on the leaked list. If nothing comes to mind, something comical will do. It will probably be better than Presidents no matter what you come up with. A lot of potentially winning entries have already been thrown out there in articles and comments on this site. The first poster who claims a name in the Grand Prize challenge gets it.

Prize winners will be determined by me, exercising my absolute authority as Admiral, Commander and President of the Naming the Brand Corporation. Contestants who feel their entries have been unfairly judged are welcome to appeal to the Naming the Brand Ombudsman, who is also me.

Contestants for the Booby Prize (I would have named this the Hooters Award, if not for unresolvable trademark issues) should attempt to predict the actual name which will be revealed on February 2. Why, you ask, isn’t predicting the actual name the Grand Prize? Because this contest is meant to be for fun, and that is more likely to be an embarrassment.

Finally, I think it’s highly likely that more than one contestant will get the Booby Prize challenge right. The tiebreaks for the Booby Prize challenge are to predict the Super Bowl winner, Super Bowl loser and the final score. My editor thinks this challenge will be decided by the third tie break because so many of you will correctly guess Admirals or Commanders. I am not so sure. I think Jason Wright might have a trick up his sleeve and come up with something truly original like The Dans.

The Grand Prize for the lucky contest winner is a night out, on me, in the glitz and glamor capital of the Southern Hemisphere, Brisbane Australia, transportation to and from Brisbane and accommodation not included, redeemable any time from now until one week after the closing ceremony of the 2032 summer Olympics. From outdoor dining in Southbank to the craft beer scene in Brewstead, the quirky eateries of Fish Lane, the hipster nightclubs of Fortitude Valley, and your choice of genuine Aussie pubs, the world is your oyster, and I’m paying. You will also be entitled to proudly proclaim to anyone who will listen that you are the Grand Prize winner of the 2022 Hogs Haven Naming the Brand Challenge.

The value of the Booby Prize is a bit harder to estimate a priori. Depending on what Jason Wright reveals, you might claim bragging rights on Hogs Haven and beyond forever after as the person who correctly Named the Brand. While it’s always possible that the Snyders’ brain trust will surprise us, I suspect that might end up being something you want to keep to yourself.

To make your entry, simply submit your name choices in the comments before 12:01 am February 2nd (US East Coast time) using the following template:

Grand Prize Challenge entry – [name choice goes here]

Booby Prize entry – [name choice goes here]

Tiebreak 1 – Super Bowl winner

Tiebreak 2 – Super Bowl loser

Tiebreak 3 – Super Bowl score