Some relatively big news shook the football world on July 2 when FedEx, Pepsi, and other major companies announced that they were ending their sponsorships with the Washington football team until a name change occurred.
Although it remains to be seen if owner Dan Snyder will have the guts or smarts to move away from Washington’s derogatory ‘Redskins’ moniker, a title that has been in place since 1933. Here are 12 potential replacement options if Washington decides to take things in a new (and better) direction.
UPDATE AS OF 7/12/20:
Note: Every NFL team’s nickname ends with an ‘s’, so all of the options on this list fit those criteria.
12. Sentinels: If you’re a fan of the movie “The Replacements” starring Keanu Reeves, this will likely be your top choice. Jerseys with the last name “Falco” would fly off shelves if they were to recreate the Sentinels squad in real life, which also makes it a logical choice from a marketing perspective.
11. Red Pandas: This seems improbable on the surface, but Washington is known for having one of the world’s best zoos, especially when it comes to sheltering endangered species like the red panda. This name represents not only a cute and adorable animal, but would allow the team to keep the current color scheme intact as well.
10. Hogs: The moniker that was given to the dominant Washington OL during the ’80s and ’90s. “Hogs” is a historic nickname that has a major legacy with the team, but doesn't feel right for an actual team brand. Still, with its connotation to the franchise, it can’t be dismissed as a potential option.
9. Dragons: If Washington wants an entirely new rebrand, this is definitely one of the top options. Not only a cool and fun nickname with an endless amount of design possibilities, “Dragons” was actually a direct runner-up when the Washington Bullets changed their name to the Wizards back in 1997, so it also makes a bit of sense from a historic perspective.
8. Skins: If Snyder wants to make the laziest possible move, this is it. Removing three letters would technically differentiate the team from their old name, but “Skins” still feels like it has a racist connotation to it, especially since it’s the bare minimum the organization could do. I absolutely wouldn’t put it past them to choose this path, but in my opinion, a cleaner break from the name is needed.
7. Renegades: A solid, unspectacular name that often comes up during expansion talks or when a franchise relocates. Not groundbreaking by any means, but gives the team a new foundation and the possibility of keeping their patented “R” logo.
6. Defenders: Although the XFL sadly is no more, who’s to say that the NFL can’t honor its memory? The “Defenders” moniker has a level of familiarity that will appeal to fans in the D.C. area, even if it was only used for one season in a lower-level league.
5. Rebels: This is where we start to reach the serious contenders. Similar to “Renegades,” the “Rebels” nickname is a common one that can keep the team’s “R” logo intact, all while providing the organization with an interesting “Rebels” vs. Cowboys dynamic within the division.
4. Redhawks: Yes, it may seem repetitive with other major league teams sporting similar names (Atlanta Hawks, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Blackhawks). That being said, the “Redhawks” is a sleek, seemingly modern name that could give the team plenty of options to work with from a logo and uniform perspective. It also keeps the “R” intact if the team decides it wants to keep some of its current designs, as well as giving the franchise their classic red and gold color scheme to work off of. Miami (Ohio) University also used to be called the Redskins and changed their name to the Redhawks back in 1997, which could further add to the ideology behind this choice.
3. Redtails: The coined nickname for the first African-American aviators in the U.S armed forces, this name has a historical connection and “Red” connection that makes it one of the easy front-runners for Washington to choose from. Plenty of mock-ups by fans have already been made using the moniker and it seems very easy to keep the red and gold color scheme involved in a potential redesign.
2. Pigskins: Although “Skins” seems too similar to “Redskins” to call a true change, “Pigskins” does seem different enough in its originality to make it a true contender, especially since it’s quite literally describing a football. Putting “pig” into the name also gives it a subtle connection to the team’s historic “Hogs” O-line, which should please fans that are worried about “too much change.”
1. Federals: What better way to add to the Capitals/Nationals than completing the Washington sports trifecta? By naming the football team the “Federals,” Washington is choosing a name that makes total sense from a location, design, and fan perspective. Unlike essentially every other name on this list, it’s also unique, specific to Washington, and can give them the fresh start they so desperately need.