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Naming the Brand Grand Prize Winners

Could have had Redwolves

@dnytle

After 18 months of sham consultation, brand mock-ups, leaks and misdirection, half-hearted licensing discussions, and frantic trademark filings, the Washington football franchise has finally unveiled Commanders as the new team brand.

To review the highlights of the Brand Journey thus far, in the Summer of 2020, as civil unrest raged across America’s cities, the team’s major corporate sponsors presented an ultimatum to majority owner, Dan Snyder, that the Redskins name had to go. Redskins was replaced by temporary placeholder Washington Football Team, and the Brand Journey was launched.

During the intervening 18 months, we were assured that the team would consult with fans, community members and key stakeholders to come up with a new brand concept that had broad appeal and would represent both the DMV region and the Redskins’ legacy.

That consultation process identified Redwolves as a clear fan favorite. Unfortunately, we were told, it turned out to be unviable due to trademark barriers. Yes, my friends, we were led to believe that a man who has spent the better part of the last 23 years settling sexual harassment complaints, battling with minority owners and suing city newspapers, was afraid to take on mighty Arkansas State at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Soon, however, we started hearing from team insiders that fans would really love the new name and jerseys. The final reveal, scheduled for the auspicious occasion of Groundhog Day did not disappoint, if only because the new name had been revealed the day before by an NBC news chopper that caught vision of Commanders gear being unloaded in a warehouse, or the fact that most of us saw it coming for months in advance.

Let me just say, right here, that it is implausible that a legitimate consultation process came up with Commanders. Polling and fan reactions have consistently shown that it was not a popular option. We don’t know for a fact how they came up with the new brand, but it seems logical to speculate that someone, perhaps the owner, picked Commanders and ran with it. What does seem clear, as confirmed by reactions to the name reveal, is that the Brand Journey was a hoax.

Nevertheless, I am sure that most of you are as excited about Commanders as I am. Hey, it could have been worse, right? That appears to be the theme of the next phase of the branding rollout that we can look forward to over the coming months. I couldn’t imagine that a marketing team with even half a brain amongst them would persist with Joe Theismann’s line, “If they win, fans will like it,” which seems to be fairly self-limiting considering the team’s W-L record over the previous two decades and change under current ownership.

I, for one, look forward to the nearly boundless opportunities that Commanders offers to mock and ridicule the inept front office team for as long as we are forced to endure them. In that frame of mind, and with crystal-ball-level clairvoyance, a few weeks ago I launched the Naming the Brand Challenge.

The Grand Challenge was to suggest a name that is in some way humorous, but if taken seriously would still be a better team name than the one revealed on Groundhog Day. Now that Punxsutawney Phil has retreated into his burrow, predicting six more weeks of winter, it is time to reveal the winner, no, wait, …winners.


Washington Football Team Announces Name Change to Washington Commanders Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Grand Challenge Winners Reveal

The Hogs Haven readers’ response to the Grand Challenge was overwhelming. If one thing became clear it is that, as a group, this forum has far more creativity and originality than the Washington NFL franchise could ever dream of. There were so many great entries, and I had such a hard time deciding amongst the final four entries, that I decided to award three prizes instead of just one.

Let’s start with the Honorable Mentions, which I have organized into theme groups.

MIBV denotes judges’ commentary.

Honorable Mentions

Honoring the Military

Contestant: HTTR86

Red Coats

As this franchise no longer represents anything to be proud of and since they are going military theme it should be the theme of the Monarchy that was thrown out of the country. It keeps Red and ends in S like every team in the NFL so it works, could even create a rivalry with the Patriots!

Contestant: Osteoporosis2

The Snyder Seaman (sic)

because that’s what Wright has all over him

MIBV: I think this was intended to be Seamen. It would be great to have a name that honors the sailing men who battle at sea to keep our country safe, rather than the Admirals stationed in Arlington. I think there might have been a pun here. I don’t know what that’s about.

Contestant: TheGump

Washington Bonapartes

Named after the famed French military general Napoleon, thought of as a genius in some parts but more often as a short, fat, petty tyrant. The logo would utilize the bicorne hat, and branding costs would be close to zero as I found a ready-made, licensable one online. The new nickname also has the added wordplay benefit of being misspelled as “boner parts”, quite apt for a team with such a sordid recent history.

Contestant: Slope69

The DC Snipers

Hog Theme

Contestant: CraigSkins

The OHGs

Hogs spelled sideways. Stands for: Opponents Home Game.

Contestant: BarNunn

The Bay of Hogs

Honors one of the great US military fiascos, which is probably a more appropriate analogy to the team’s recent history than some great victory.

Contestant: Bill-in-Bangkok

The Sweathogs

Contestant: shellcore

Worthogs

MIBV: A double win for old school Reskins fans – combines our preferred name with everyone’s favorite game time beverage.

Don’t Overthink It - Redskins

Contestant: SKINDEMBOYS

The DMV Redskins

Ultimate flexibility in choosing a new stadium site. The name controversy was really all about “Washington.” Embraces the entire area instead of practice in Va, Games in Maryland, and claiming Washington.

Contestant: PorkButz & Green Deans

Washington Skins

We can keep the heritage and just play shirtless.

Washington Redskins Enthusiasts in Costumes Photo by © Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

DMV Culture and History

Contestant: CNMN

The Gayes

Marvin Gaye was also born in DC; socially progressive name and singer; aren’t we all asking “What’s Going On?”

Contestant: ShahShahS21T

The DC Mumbo Sauce Slathered Half Smokes

Contestant: Marook!

DC Cool Disco Dans

MIBV: This one might just appeal to the owner; little does he know. Extra points for making a specific request for a steak at the Breakfast Creek Hotel, one of around four pubs that claim to have the best steak in Brisbane, and a keg of XXXX Bitter Ale, the Beer Up Here, which isn’t a bitter ale at all and is actually a lager with a pelleted hop flavor reminiscent of the smell of fruit bat urine, one of the more recognizable aromas of the Southeast Queensland region.

Contestant: Mr Party

Minor Threats

One of the greatest punk bands in DC history.

Dan Snyder is a snot-nosed punk.

The team presents a very minor threat to its opponents, putting up very little fight.

Government and Politics

Contestant: Godeau

Washington Corruption

MIBV: If we didn’t have to play nice with these things, I would really like this as a team name. Seriously.

Contestant: Fire&Rice

Washington Redtape (a.k.a. Washington Bureaucracy)

Contestant: RFKstomp

The Washington Regulators

Because, you know, DC does that. More importantly we get to keep HTTR ,and as a bonus, get to play Warren G’s classic anthem at start of home games…

Contestant: Kylo Skin

Swamp Thing

Creature from nightmares. Washington was mostly a swamp and is often referred to as such in current politics. It is also something from DC Comics, so another tie.

Real Trademark Issues

Contestant: KW 82-87-91

Washington Red Bulls

Think of all the marketing potential, allows the word red, and just like drinking too much Red Bull, watching this team keeps us up all night

Contestant: LucasO

Grand Prize Entry: Washington Great Dans

In a somewhat unintentional patent filing mishap, the organization omits the “e” in Great Danes. And the rest is history.

Hating on the Owner

Contestant: Soup Dad

DC Danny’s Flaming Deuces

Contestant: KyleSmithforGM

Washington Malignant Dwarves

MIBV: The ultimate WMD!

Contestant: Noplayoffs4u

We Suck and Jack Kent Cooke Hates YOU

You know who you are.

Contestant: Twice Thriced

The Washington Non-Disclosure Agreements

An Offer Too Good to Refuse

Contestant: scalp-bearer

Washington Warpath

P.S. Matt, occasionally I drink so much that it can lead to enuresis. Are you ready to get look past that and let the chips fall where they may?

You Thought It Couldn’t Get Worse Than Wizards

Contestant: Knighthawk

Washington Magicians

We make fans disappear!

You Can’t Name a Team That

Contestant: ShahShahS21T

The DC Pimps

· obviously for the treatment of the cheerleaders during the scandal and basically treating some like escorts

· for providing a skanky product to the football equivalent of “desperate johns” and taking their money

· for treating this entire fanbase like a bunch of bitches and ho’s

Contestant: aFan4Life

Crack Mayors

The “Crack Mayors” was the best funny name I’ve seen but since someone else came up with it I’m not going to make a post with it on this thread.

MIBV: Pretty sure this one was my invention. It’s great to be recognized in one’s own time. Commemorates a great moment in DC history. Interested fans should look up the documentary on the subject by Chris Rock entitled “Mayor’s on the Pipe”

Animal Names

Contestant: Figpucker

Grand Prize Entry: Washington War Dogs

Not a funny one so probably doesn’t apply here but gives a nod to the military while sticking with an animal theme and a bonus as a pack animal. Excellent article on the history of them as well: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/news/war-dogs-military-history/

MIBV: Actually, it is. There is more than one meaning. I would be OK with this as the actual team name.

Contestant: bent99

Grand Prize Entry: Washington K-9s

Take that Timberwolves.

Contestant: shellcore

Dances with Wolves

(Dan Says with Wolves)

Contestant: 1052skins

Blue Herons

MIBV: Make it Great Blue Herons and we could definitely do worse. Commanders, for example.

Contestant: Siris

Groundhogs

MIBV: It was staring us in the face the whole time. Damn trademark!

Contestant: Gloryhog

Grand Prize Entry: The Washington Rhinos

The Fearsome Beast, not the Republican kind. HTTR.

MIBV: I like two things about this entry. First Rhinos, the animal, is a better name for a football team than most of the options the team seems to have considered. Second, people who are inclined to see everything through a political lens would probably be offended by it.

Contestant: Pengusagustus

The Washington Phoenix

Symbolically represents the death of the Redskins and rebirth as something else. Logo is a burning white house in reference to The War of 1812. It gets extra credit because the team can easily re-locate to Phoenix to be Arizona’s 2nd team when the fanbase is reduced to ashes.

MIBV: I love the idea of first claiming that we couldn’t have the fan’s preferred name due to trademark barriers and then naming the team after another city with an NFL franchise.

An Actual Good Name Suggestion

Contestant: Yard Elf

The Washington Gentlemen

MIBV: This one has grown on me as a serious name suggestion. I also like Yard Elves.


NFL-Washington Redskins at Tennessee Titans Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Runners Up

Contestant: Eboracum

Washington Red Menace

We get “red” in the title and sound kinda scary, while evoking an embarrassing time in our national history and implying we are communist sympathizers.

MIBV: Red Menace commemorates a great moment in the Nation Capital’s history, led by a Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose name has become synonymous with propriety and decency. It also keeps Red in the name, and is sure to intimidate those fans and players on opposing teams who fear the return of communism, potentially reinvigorating the rivalry with America’s team, and maybe opening up a new front against the Patriots. Someone in WFT headquarters did appear to be enamored with adopting the People’s Team moniker, and nothing would go better with that than a drift to communism.

Contestant: MrParty

Hog Shaven

In a nod to the world’s greatest website, the team moves into the space in Hogs Haven and adopts a straight razor-wielding pig as its mascot. Combining the art of shaving with everyone’s favorite porcine mascot also allows the team to surreptitiously horn in on the popular Razorback brand.

MIBV: Hog Shaven deftly accomplishes something that WFT failed to achieve, appealing to young and old fans alike. The Hogs theme is a favorite of older fans. Shaving will appeal to younger fans, hipsters to be precise, who spend way too much time and money on their facial hair. The opportunity to promote Hogs Haven on the national stage would be a dream come true, except maybe for those of us writers who have moved overseas under assumed identities.

Contestant: Akolaja

Washington Ron Burgundies

MIBV: When Dan Snyder had his famous epiphany, aided by legendary Redskins coach Joe Gibbs and a panel of football greats, he ushered in a new coach-centric approach with Ron Rivera appointed to lead the transformation to a winning culture. Why not cement that by elevating his franchise savior to the status of team namesake? Good thing this didn’t happen when Jim Zorn was the head coach, right? Also, keeps Red in the name, sort of. The only slight ding is that I’m not really seeing the humor angle. Still, it’s a great name suggestion.

Contestant: birdbrain77

The Feds

MIBV: The Feds, not The Fed, is a nickname for federal law enforcement. It really hit its height of currency in the early to mid-twentieth century, when the FBI was waging war against organized crime. At first it seems like a funny name suggestion. But if you think about it, it honors a great tradition of courageous federal agents like Elliot Ness’s Untouchables (also an interesting choice). The Feds really ticks both boxes for the contest. There was a USFL team named the Federals. That is a completely different name and it was 40 years ago, so nobody cares.

Contestant: Proposition_Joe

Redskins

I’m still thinking Danny does the ultimate F U to Goodell, the professionally offended cancel culture; and unveils the helmet with the Redskin logo and banner with the name ‘Redskins’!

And then I woke up

MIBV: This entry came very close to winning the whole contest.

To me, this scenario is pure wish fulfilment, but probably not for the same reason as PropositionJoe suggested it. Imagine the shitstorm of public outrage and alienation of all key stakeholders that would rain down upon Dan Snyder if he had announced at the name reveal that they were going back to Redskins. There would be nowhere left to hide and nothing even the most high-priced McKinsey consultants could do to save him.

To appreciate the beauty of this scenario it is important to remember one key point. It was the WFT’s major corporate sponsors who forced the name change, out of branding concerns, not a bunch of outraged celebrities on social media, and definitely not Roger Goodell. If you will recall, at the time Goodell and the NFL were putting their necks on the line to give Dan Snyder cover by burying the Wilkinson report.

This adolescent act of self-destruction would render the Washington franchise radioactive to corporate sponsors and almost certainly force the NFL to finally do the right thing with respect to its most troublesome current owner. The WFT’s branding problem would become the NFL’s branding problem. There is no way the NFL could possibly endorse Redskins-branded merchandise in 2022.

This is about the only way I could see a change of ownership in our lifetimes, short of the ongoing investigations turning up evidence of criminal activity. Come on Congressional Oversight Committee! Dig deep, dig hard, subpoena Bruce Allen!

NRL Rd 3 - Broncos v Eels Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Bronze Medal

The Bronze Medal winner receives a whole pot of XXXX Bitter Ale at any Pub in the Brisbane Metropolitan Area, redeemable any time. What the hell, I’ll even throw in some hot chips. On me.

Contestant: dg28

The Washington Privates

· Military theme, check (only the lowest rank for the one of the lowest ranking teams)

· Logo: the Washington Monument with two helmets at the base

· Endorsements: Dick’s Sporting Goods and Johnson Fencing

· HTTR becomes HTTP, so everything on the internet is related to the team, further feeding Snyder’s ego

MIBV: I can now reveal that the Bronze and Silver medalists were in a dead heat for first place from the day I opened the Naming the Brand Challenge until the actual brand reveal, when a surprise entrant emerged from the trailing pack with a stunning sprint to overtake the two leaders at the finish line. More about the Naming the Brand Journey later.

What I love about this entry is that it corrects what I see as a fundamental flaw with Commanders, and a few of the other purported semifinal options, such as Admirals and Presidents. The WFT has hinted that it wanted to do a few different things with the new name. One was to honor the military, which Commanders achieves.

Another was to appeal broadly to the rank and file fans, including the large number of military service personnel stationed throughout the DMV region. Wouldn’t it be better to acknowledge the men and women who actually do the fighting for our country, rather than the desk jockeys who occupy primo office space in the Pentagon and do lunch at the officers’ club?

Privates accomplishes what the WFT failed to do. As an added bonus, no opposing fan would ever dare to disrespect the troops by mocking the team’s name. The marketing tie-ins practically sell themselves, and by the same legal reasoning that excluded RedWolves as an option, Dan Snyder would be able to claim ownership of the entire internet via his trademark on the new cheering slogan, HTTP!

Vigil Held For Murdered Mother And Children Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images

Silver Medal

The silver medalist receives their choice of a day at the cricket or tickets to a Brisbane Broncos rugby league game at Suncorp Stadium, with drinks and food included redeemable any time in Brisbane.

Contestant: Abu Coltrane

Capitol Riots

MIBV: Short, sweet and to the point. No explanatory text needed.

There are two things I like about this name.

First, it commemorates one of the most significant events in the nation’s capital’s history. Well not just one really. With a little editorial license, allowing the ‘o’ in Capitol to be an ‘a’, this name gives recognition to Washington DC’s rich tradition of rioting. There have been at least five historically significant riots in Washington DC: The 1919 race riot, the riots after Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968, the 1971 Vietnam War protest riots, rioting at Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, and of course the actual Capitol Riot on January 6, 2021, marking the first time that a hostile force had breached the US Capitol’s defenses since the British Redcoats sacked DC in the War of 1812.

The team has said that it wanted the name to relate to the DMV region’s history and culture. I think Capitol Riots goes beyond simply commemorating a specific event or a set of events. It celebrates the American democratic institution of political expression, which finds no purer embodiment than busting stuff up and being clubbed by police.

Furthermore, it is inclusive. If we look through DC’s historical riots, we can see rioters from all walks of life and every point in the political spectrum. Quite simply, there is something here for everyone to hate. And isn’t that what the political life of our nation’s capital is all about? If we are after a name that captures the zeitgeist of DC as the seat of American democracy in the twenties, Capitol Riots is it.

Secondly, what gives Capitol Riots the edge over third place finisher Privates is that I actually think that Riots would be a good name for a football team. Maybe not Capitol Riots, but possibly DC Riots or Washington Riots. It’s not just better than Commanders, like Red Hogs, Pandas, Cherry Blossoms or Chupacabras would have been. It’s actually a good name.

If I wanted to get really picky, it is probably better suited to roller derby than football. In fact, I would be surprised if there is not already a roller derby team with the name {city name} Riots. Nevertheless, it is still a much better name for a football team than Commanders. Seriously, I would take Cherry Blossoms.

Grand Prize Winner

The Grand Prize winner is entitled to a night out on the town in Brisbane, Australia, all expenses paid* by the Naming the Brand Challenge Corporation, LLC, redeemable any time between now and the week following the closing ceremony of the 2032 Olympic Games.

*Travel to and from Brisbane and accommodation not included

Contestant: Anubis31

Washington Wannabees

They Wannabee good like the 80’s and 90’s

They Wannabee Champs

They wannabee Top of NFC East

MIBV: Unlike the Commies’ front office, I can keep a secret. I can now reveal true facts of the Naming the Brand Journey (also unlike the Commies’ front office) that have been dutifully kept under wraps until now. Up until the Commanders name was officially revealed, this entrant was not even on my short list. It was not until I reflected upon the new name and the obvious lies told to us about its origins by the owner’s legions of sycophants and corporate lackeys that I came to appreciate just how perfect it is.

Wannabees cuts through the corporate spin of the Brand Journey to reveal the underlying truth. The Commanders name is nothing more than a feeble attempt at stolen valor. Both Dan Snyder and Ron Rivera have great reverence for the armed forces and one or both appear to have been behind the push to have a name that “honors the military”. Ron Rivera, we know, was raised a military brat. Dan, I suppose, just loves a man in uniform, and particularly a commanding officer.

Neither Ron, nor Dan, has ever served in the military. Wannabees correctly recognizes the push to honor the military as an attempt for the team to bask in the reflected glory of the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedom. In Ron’s case, that seems to be coming from a genuine respect for military service instilled by his father, Eugenio Rivera, who served for 32 years as a chief warrant officer in the US Army.

I’m sure that Dan Snyder also has a sincere respect for servicemen and women, but there might just be a little self-interest involved as well. Setting aside the propaganda about consulting with the fanbase, what the Brand Journey is really about is a private corporation’s search for a new trademark.

Trademark is an intellectual property right, granting the holder an exclusive right to trade under a particular brand symbol. It is primarily a commercial right. The term most commonly used when a business exercises its intellectual property rights for commercial gain is “exploit.” Get the picture? Dan is all about exploiting the military to sell jerseys, and boost ticket sales.

To continue Anubis31’s train of thought:

Ron Rivera wannabe a great leader of men.

Dan Snyder wannabe rich and well respected.

Commies fans wannabe rid of these clowns.

Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Congratulations to the contest winner, finalists and runners up, and thank you to all the contestants and commenters who made this a lot of fun.

Now, can we get back to talking about quarterbacks?

Acknowledgement: Edited by James Dorsett. Lead art credit to @dnytle


Poll

Which of these names would you swap for Commanders?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Sweathogs
    (10 votes)
  • 4%
    The Corruption
    (17 votes)
  • 3%
    The Feds
    (12 votes)
  • 4%
    Cherry Blossoms
    (15 votes)
  • 2%
    The Gentlemen
    (8 votes)
  • 6%
    Red Menace
    (25 votes)
  • 13%
    Rhinos
    (49 votes)
  • 10%
    Riots
    (38 votes)
  • 0%
    WMD
    (0 votes)
  • 21%
    Washington Football Team
    (76 votes)
  • 23%
    More than one OR All of the above
    (85 votes)
  • 6%
    What are you talking about? I love Commanders
    (25 votes)
360 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which best describes your strategy to get used to Commanders?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    I will put up with it. We have had worse.
    (25 votes)
  • 21%
    What new name? I’m sticking with Redskins
    (77 votes)
  • 13%
    So long and thanks for the memories
    (48 votes)
  • 4%
    Go Ravens!
    (16 votes)
  • 26%
    Mercilessly ridicule the name, front office and owner at every opportunity
    (96 votes)
  • 13%
    I don’t care what they call them as long as they win
    (48 votes)
  • 4%
    Organize the fan rebellion
    (17 votes)
  • 6%
    Honestly, I don’t mind it
    (23 votes)
  • 1%
    Can’t wait to rush out and load up on Commanders gear!
    (6 votes)
356 votes total Vote Now