Updated: Jun 7, 2021
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I think we can all agree that there has been a lot of monumental events happening in the United States over the past few months. There have been protests in all 50 U.S. States that have led to laws and executive orders being passed, brands taking down their mascots, and of course, the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians being called upon to change their name. These are just two of many professional sports teams that are facing scrutiny, but for the Washington Redskins a name change is no longer improbable, it is seemingly imminent. As a Washington Redskins fan, I have been glued to the TV screen every single Sunday to support my favorite NFL team since I was a little boy. As I watch the Redskins fanbase dwindle and FedEx Field become overrun with opposing team's fans I have remained loyal to the Skins' even through the Jim Zorn era, the RGIII debacle, the Josh Doctson draft pick, and most recently, the Trent Williams saga coming to a conclusion. Year after year, we see stars that demand a trade from the Redskins, like left tackle Trent Williams and cornerback Quinton Dunbar. It is easy to admit we have not been putting out quality football for quite some time but believe it or not the Redskins have a storied franchise with a rich history.
Football was never the main sport in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Baseball and boxing were on the rise in the early 20th century and baseball especially was gaining a lot of steam. Football was becoming popular especially at prominent universities, but after the 1905 season football was in trouble. 19 players died from injuries sustained during the college season while playing the sport, and with five times more college football players in 2020 those 19 football-related deaths would be equivalent to 95 deaths today. After the deadly 1905 season, Columbia, Duke, Northwestern, Stanford, and many other schools canceled their football programs completely. It looked like football was coming to an end until 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt decided to step in and save football as we know it. So thanks, Teddy. Anyways, after the glaring setback football took multiple years to adjust but the National Football League was formed on August 20, 1920, in Canton, Ohio.
The Redskins franchise began in 1932. In 1932, the Portsmouth Spartans finished in third place behind the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers in the NFL standings. 1932 was the first and only season that the Redskins were named the Braves. Their original city was Boston, and they became the Boston Redskins in 1933. They remained in Boston until 1936, but after failing to attract many fans in Boston, they moved to Washington DC in 1937. In 1937 they won their first of two NFL Championships when rookie quarterback Sammy Baugh led them to a 28-21 victory over the Chicago Bears. The Redskins won another title in 1942 before a long drought of misery that is very similar to what we are seeing today. After very poor play in the 40s, 50s, and early 60s, legendary Head Coach Vince Lombardi took over as the General Manager and Head Coach of the Washington Redskins in 1969. He led Washington to a 7-5-2 record which was their first winning season since 1955. Lombardi passed away after the conclusion of the 1969 season, but his great season paved the way for the success of former Redskins Head Coach George Allen in the 1970s. After building up their franchise in the 1970s the Redskins won three Super Bowls over the next twelve years. Those victories in 1983, 1988, and 1992 were all under Hall of Fame Head Coach Joe Gibbs. The Redskins have 34 members in the Hall of Fame which puts them amongst the top five franchises in the NFL. With such a rich history, it is sad the state that the franchise is in today.
A professional sports franchise is defined by its owner. Sadly, this means that the Washington Redskins are defined by their 55-year-old owner Dan Snyder. He has been reluctant against a name change for quite some time now, but with FedEx threatening to yank their sponsorship from FedEx Field, minority owners pressuring Snyder to change the name, and with Target, Walmart, Dick's Sporting Goods, Nike, and Amazon pulling Redskin's merchandise, it simply does not make sense for the Redskins to keep their name entering 2020. One of Snyder's longtime goals for the Redskins is to move their stadium back from Landover, Maryland to Washington DC, but DC officials have made it clear that without a name change, it will not happen. Their new leader, Head Coach Ron Rivera, who since day one has been labeled the man to create a culture change in the organization, recently said that a name change in the near future "would be awesome." With all of this information, it would be shocking to see the Redskins keep their name heading into the 2020 season.
Most recently, news surrounding the name change indicates that the Redskins organization plans on scrapping the Native American imagery but keep the color scheme. With many ideas floating around about the Redskins name change entering 2020, I will rank my Top 5 favorite alternatives from my least favorite to my most favorite. I will provide information on each of the names and add my favorite logo or jersey concept that is attributed to the name. This Top 5 Segment is similar to me and Chris Blake's Top 5 Segment that we put out every week for the MoeCast podcast available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
5. Washington Warriors
Via Ultimate Effects
I am going to put this plain and simple. I would hate the name being changed to the Washington Warriors. This may be in part to my negative connotation to the Warrior's name because of my resentment of the Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry, but nevertheless, I do not like this name idea. There have been numerous reports that have said the Warriors name is most likely, but I believe this is all speculation, and owner Dan Snyder will not let anyone know what way he is leaning before he ultimately steps up to a podium and announces an official name change. I do not hate this design crafted up by Twitter user Ultimate Effects and the logo looks pretty sleek, but Washington Warriors is not it. "Touchdown Washington Warriors!" Just does not sound right.
4. Washington Generals
In no way, shape, or form do I think this is a logical logo, but it would be much better than the Warriors. I have not seen much support for the Washington Generals to become a team name for the Redskins, but I would not be totally against it. Many different ideas can come from a Generals name and there are many directions that the organization can go with the logo. This concept from Brian Thurber is a good start, but it is very unlikely that this becomes the new name heading into 2020.
3. Washington Senators
This is where the names and logos start to become much better. Even though I would rather not have the Washington Redskins name be changed to something linked to politicians, the Senators would be a logical and solid choice. The Washington Senators was the name of a football team located in Washington DC from 1921 to 1941. They played in the American Professional Football Association in 1921 and that league later became known as the NFL. After leaving the APFA in 1922 they remained a football club until 1941. The Washington Senators was also the name of the baseball team located in Washington DC from 1901-1960 before relocating and becoming the Minnesota Twins. There was also an expansion Senators baseball team in DC from 1961-1971 before moving to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and becoming the Texas Rangers. The Senator's name has a lot of prominence in Washington DC sports history, and it would be a great decision for Washington's NFL franchise to be named the Senators. The logo would look great on a helmet and it could be altered to fit the color scheme flawlessly.
2. Washington Redwolves
DC Sport Experience
The Washington Redwolves has quickly become a fan favorite. In many recent polls the Redwolves rank as the fan favorite in front of the Redtails and the Warriors. In a recent poll conducted by the Washington Post, the Redwolves name concept received 41% of the fan vote while the Redtails and Warriors also got over 20% of the vote, respectively. When I first heard the name concept as the Redwolves I was not a fan, but I have warmed up to the name, especially what the Redwolves name would symbolize. The "Redwolves" was the name of an elite helicopter squadron in the United States Navy Reserve. The squadron deactivated 2016, so a Redwolves name would be nice to honor them. In Native American culture, wolves represent strength, courage, and loyalty. These are just a couple of positives that come from a Redwolves name, and I would love the different jerseys and logos that could come out of this. "The Wolf Pack" would also be a great nickname attributed to the defense or the young and dynamic receiving core.
1. Washington Redtails
This is a slam dunk pick. What is their not to love about the Washington Redtails? For one, like the Washington Redwolves, it would keep the #HTTR. Other than the Redtails name and aviation concept fitting well with Washington DC, the Redtails made a significant impact in U.S. history. The name Redtails commemorates World War II Tuskegee airman. They were the first African American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. They are known as the Redtails because of their planes that all had a distinct red tail. This would be a great pick to move on from their past name and honor the former "Redtails" by showing the respect that Washington DC and America have for our great military. The Redtail logo and jerseys would fit our underlying color scheme well and satisfy everyone in the country that is for the name change. The Redtails is my favorite pick for the new name, and I am praying for once that Dan Snyder listens to the fans and picks the Washington Redwolves or the Washington Redtails as the new name for the Washington football franchise.