News & Politics

Washington Football Team’s New Name Is: Washington Commanders

Washington Football Team announced its new name Wednesday: From now on, the team will be known as the Washington Commanders.

Doug Williams, who led the team to victory in 1988’s Super Bowl XXII, made the official announcement Wednesday morning on the Today show, surrounded by team president Jason Wright and defensive tackle Jonathan Allen. The new name has “got a good sound to it,” Williams said. The signature burgundy-and-gold color scheme will remain, the trio told Today‘s Craig Melvin.

Team honcho Dan Snyder said in 2013 that he would “never change the name. … It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.” But “never” finally arrived in July 2020 after FedEx, which has the naming rights to the team’s stadium, asked it to give the old name the heave-ho. Since then it’s played as Washington Football Team and has continued the tradition of on-field mediocrity that has characterized the Snyder era. Its last Super Bowl win was 30 years ago; the last time it won more than 10 games in a single season was in 1991.

The new identity could signal a desire to move on from the team’s off-field chaos. Reports of a toxic internal culture and infighting among the team’s minority owners have led to a bizarre saga of investigations and lawsuits. The US House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Reform is scheduled to meet with former employees in a roundtable Thursday to discuss the team’s culture.

Head coach Ron Rivera told Melvin he hoped the new name would encourage fans to “buy into judging us now and where we’re headed, not where we’ve been.” Wright said the name change came amid “Very rapid, very real, and irreversible change in this organization.”

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.