The announcement will end 18 months of market research for the team, which ditched its previous name under growing pressure in July 2020 because of its racist connotations.
Here’s a closer look at what appear to be the top contenders, complete with my highly unscientific odds about each name’s chances.
Pros: The team is clearly tempted to go with a military theme. Four of the seven unofficial finalists are related to the military — five, if you consider the president as the commander in chief. “Armada,” derived from a Spanish term for a naval fleet, rolls smoothly off the tongue and sounds intimidating.
Cons: While Washington is not far from Annapolis, Maryland, home to the US Naval Academy, it’s roughly 100 miles from the open ocean and is not known as a port city.
Odds: 15 to 1
Pros: Another name that radiates military might, a brigade is a large body of troops — as many as several thousand soldiers. It also suggests people working together to battle a common enemy, as in a bucket brigade trying to put out a fire.
Cons: “Brigade” is sort of an old-timey term for a franchise that seems to want to move in a bold new direction. No current NFL team name ends in a letter other than “S.” And what would you call a Washington Brigade player — a Brigader? A brigadier? Um, no.
Odds: 12 to 1
Cons: Say it with me: “Washington Commanders.” That’s a LOT of clunky syllables. And what’s the nickname — the Comms? That may not play well in city that favors snappy shorthand like Caps and Nats.
Odds: 2 to 1
Odds: 6 to 1
Pros: Team officials say they want the new name to reflect the city, and no American is more closely identified with the nation’s capital than the president. The presidential seal — eagle, talon full of arrows, Latin phrasing and all — would look pretty cool on players’ helmets.
Cons: American presidents no longer command the respect they once did. In today’s polarized political climate, half the country seems to hate whoever occupies the Oval Office.
Odds: 25 to 1
Cons: A hog is not the most inspiring of animals. And what’s a red hog, exactly? No breed by that exact name appears to exist.
Odds: 7 to 1
Washington Football Team
Cons: It’s a generic placeholder. There’s no way the Washington Football Team is devoting a year and a half to market research and then scheduling a big reveal only to announce that the new name is … the Washington Football Team.
Odds: 50 to 1
Some other name
Some fans also have suggested Pigskins, which sounds ridiculous until you consider it 1) relates directly to football, 2) references the team’s Hogs heritage and 3) would allow the franchise to keep its longstanding ‘Skins nickname.
You couldn’t blame the Washington Football Team if they offered up the unofficial finalists as a misdirection play and then ran a reverse, surprising everyone with another name.
But it won’t be the Gridlockers.
Odds: 4 to 1