Until Dan Snyder is gone the football team in Washington, by any name, is going to stink. They have certainly given us brief moments of hope throughout the year but they have never taken the proper steps to build a solid foundation. Before this season it looked like they were getting close. It looked like they could be a defensive powerhouse that scored just enough to win. Then the defense fell flat while the offense over performed. I don’t even know what record they finished with but I know it wasn’t good.
Today the Washington football franchise announced their new name. It has been a long time coming. As far back as I can remember the name of the team has been the biggest issue in town. Sports radio hosts would always bring it up on slow football days so they didn’t have to take about baseball, hockey, or basketball. Now they’ll probably just debate the third sting punter or debate the glory days.
Here is the thing that gets me about the new name and the two year long search for it. The name is Commanders. It is no worse than Texans, Titans, Oilers, Browns, or a bunch of other sports team names across various sports, but those names didn’t take two years to figure out.
When the Cleveland Guardians were born they barely took any time between announcing a name change was coming and changing the name. I think the video they released to announce it, narrated by Tom Hanks, lasted longer than their search for a name, and sure, they had some legal issues with a roller derby team but no one was that disappointed with Guardians because the name search took two minutes and 54 seconds.
But here we have the football team of Washington that heard the suggestions for Red Tails and RedWolves and Red Hogs and then told us it was none of those names. That they had something better. They are a franchise that always has something better. They get presented with the obvious move that will make them better then turn an unnecessary 180 out of spite.
Part of this name change ordeal feels like Dan Snyder being a petulant child. He was forced to change the name, something he promised he would never do, and then made the team play without a name for two seasons before naming them something marginally better than Sea Dogs.
I don’t hate the name. It is a perfectly adequate name with some connection to the city, and they kept the burgundy and gold uniforms. It’s certainly better than continuing to be named a racial slur.
The thing about sports is winning is the ultimate cure. If they can finally figure out the quarterback situation, get the defense to play up to their potential, and get a second wide receiver they could be a team to deal with in a season or two, but we all know how that is going to go. The football people will have something lined-up. They will have their guy, and then Dan Snyder will walk in the room demanding they trade for the modern day equivalent of Donovan McNabb.
I tried to watch football this year. I got a streaming TV subscription just to watch the Washington Football Team, but they were not good and I couldn’t keep punishing myself on Sundays. As Washington football fans we always allow ourselves to hope, end up disappointed, and vow to never do it again before doing it again. Will the new name make a difference? Or will it be the same old Dan Snyder era BS?