Is Another Name Change Coming for Washington’s Football Team?

Outgoing owner Daniel Snyder has sold the Commanders for a record $6.05 billion

A Washington Commanders fan at the NFL Draft in April.
The Washington Commanders could be going through another rebrand in short order.
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Outgoing owner Daniel Snyder’s reign of terror and incompetence finally came to an end yesterday when NFL owners unanimously approved the sale of the Washington Commanders to an ownership group led by Josh Harris, a private equity investor, for a record $6.05 billion. “We are humbled and awed by the level of responsibility that we have to take care of the city, to win championships and really excite the fans again,” Harris said in a news conference after being approved as an owner.

Minutes after announcing the sale, the league also announced that Snyder had agreed to pay a $60 million fine after an independent investigation found he sexually harassed a team employee and that the team withheld sharing $11 million in revenue with other NFL franchises.

With Snyder — who refused to change his football franchise’s former nickname for years even though it was undeniably racist — finally gone, fans of his team and the rest of the NFL can finally exhale. “It’s a hallmark day,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after the sale was approved. “I’m excited about the prospects of going into Washington and giving them some capital punishment.”

The question is, will the team that the Cowboys attempt to administer capital punishment to be the Commanders?

Rebranded last year after dropping their former name in 2020 and generically going by the Washington Football Team for two seasons, the Commanders ranked last in the league in attendance in 2022 and have a major image problem thanks to the stink of Snyder.

That being the case, it’s probably not a surprise that Harris and his ownership group are reportedly exploring a change to the Commanders moniker. “I think there’s a pretty good chance of that to erase any part of the Snyder legacy to have a complete do-over,” ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. said on The Rich Eisen Show. “I would not be surprised at all, Rich, to see a name change and a complete rebranding.”

Magic Johnson, who is a member of the Harris ownership group, confirmed a name change in Washingon for the Commanders could be on the way during a Friday appearance on The Today Show. “I think everything’s on the table, especially after this year,” Johnson said. “We’ll see where we are with the name, but I can’t say [for sure] right now. We’re going to spend this year understanding what we have in place and then I’m sure that’ll come up. But right now, we got enough work to do that will keep us busy.”

Johnson is correct about that as his group will have to fix a franchise that had a 164-220-2 record with just six playoff appearances in 24 years during Snyder’s tenure as owner. Changing the name, again, won’t eliminate decades of dysfunction, but it’d be a start.

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