Washington Commanders Name Change Odds: The More Things Change...

The only thing an NFL team should be worried about is winning games and keeping its fans happy. Unfortunately, the Washington Commanders know how to do neither, which is why another name change has become a very real possibility.

Last Updated: Aug 17, 2023 1:55 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Terry McLaurin Washington Commanders NFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Say it ain't so. 

After years of uproar aimed at Washington's professional football team to change its name from Redskins to quite literally anything else, the team may do the unimaginable and circle back to its roots. 

A petition started by the Native American Guardians Association (NAGA) is calling for the restoration of the team's original name, which they deem will be beneficial to "the team, its loyal fan base, and the legacy it represents."

This comes just three years after the team cut ties with the nickname in search of something more appropriate. The franchise settled on Washington Football Club before rebranding entirely to the Washington Commanders at the beginning of the 2022 season. 

Will this poorly-run franchise switch monikers once again? Let's take a look at the odds.

Will the Washington Commanders change their name?

Yes No
-300 +200

Odds as of August 17, 2023.

The petition started by NAGA has already surpassed 101,000 signatures as of August 15. That's quite an impressive feat for a topic that was criticized heavily before the Commanders decided it would be in their best interest to change the name. 

The NAGA petition alone isn't enough to get the name reinstated, but the support continues to grow. A spokesperson for the NAGA said the following: "The name 'Redskins' carries deep cultural, historical, and emotional significance, honoring the bravery, resilience, and warrior spirit associated with Native American culture. It was never intended as a derogatory or offensive term but as a symbol of respect and admiration."

On the other side of the coin, marketing experts say changing the name again — to anything (including Redskins)  would be a marketing nightmare. People need to feel an attachment to one brand and changing it every other year is one way to make people fall out of love with the brand.

I believe the number of signatures on the petition will not matter. There will always be more people who will be/are offended by the term, thus leading me to believe there is no way Redskins will make a return. 

However, a name change has been teased by new minority stakeholder, Magic Johnson, and ESPN has reported that the franchise is desperate to cut ties with all Dan Snyder-related issues. 

My Best bet: Will Washington change their name: Yes (-300) 

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What will be the next name of Washington's football franchise?

Team Name Odds
Football Team/Club +600
Spartans +800
Armada +1,000
Magic/Magicians +1,000
Red Hogs +1,000
Presidents +1,100
Senators +1,200
Wolves +1,200
Redskins +2,500

Odds as of August 17, 2023.

While I do believe the Commanders will change their name, I don't believe it's the smart thing to do. I believe it's marketing malpractice, but I'm not a marketing professional so what do I know?

What I do know is that I'm a betting man, and I'm always looking to sprinkle money on things that provide value. 

By the process of elimination, we know the team almost certainly won't go back to Redskins. Nor will they go back to Football Team/Club for the reason below: 

When LeBron James is making fun of you, it's game over.  

Washington team name breakdowns 

Presidents: This name has a weird ring to it, and I'm not sure Washington would like to get in bed with every president that's ever served the country.

Senators: Same deal. Most people hate politicians, so again, not ideal. 

Wolves: This isn't
the worst-sounding team name, but team president Jason Wright already nixed the idea once due to legal and trademark issues.

Magic/Magicians: When you think of magic, I don't see the color red. Not to mention, the only magic trick the Commanders know is how to lose football games every week. 

Spartans: This could work but the Spartans are and will always be synonymous with Michigan State. I don't see that name change being perceived too well. 

Armada: This is one of my two favorite options. It made the shortlist last time around and is Spanish for a fleet of warships. There are no other teams outside of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL) that have this name. At +1,000 I'm in.

Red Hogs: Another fan favorite that made the final ballot. The price is too good to pass up, and while it doesn't exactly sound the greatest, it ties in well with the team's history as Washington's offensive linemen were lovingly called the Hogs during the 1980's and early 90's.

My best bets: Armada (+1,000)

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