Washington’s NFL team has a new name, for now. According to ESPN, the team will be called the "Washington Football Team" after being called “Redskins” for the last 89 years. Earlier this month, Washington announced it was retiring the Redskins nickname and logo following pressure from fans, players and sponsors, including FedEx.
The Washington Football Team will not be the permanent nickname. This will be the name the team will use until they can adopt a new nickname at some point in the future. The team will continue to retire the Redskins name and hopes to eliminate it completely on physical and digital spaces in the next 50 days. The team is set to kick off the 2020 season on Sept. 13 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Effective immediately, Washington will call itself the “Washington Football Team”, pending adoption of a new name, sources tell ESPN.
This is not a final renaming and rebranding for team; this is the name it wants to use until pending adoption of a new name in the future. pic.twitter.com/sBs0Uo0ICm— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 23, 2020
FedEx recently informed Washington if it didn’t change the name, it would take its name off the home stadium. Washington is scheduled to get $45 million from FedEx after the 2020 season. "We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name," the statement from FedEx read. Washington was pressured to change the name, but it was FedEx that got everything going. However, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, team owner Daniel Snyder was in discussion with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to change the name for the “last several months.”
“Maybe, the word from the sponsors pushed it over the edge, but certainly this is something that was in his mind,” Rapoport said on the day Washington announced it was dropping its old name and logo. Rapoport also said the reason Washington didn’t make the announcement of the new name change is there were trademark and legal issues they had to iron out.
This is the first time in over 20 years an NFL team has changed its name. Back in 1999, the Tennessee Oilers changed to the Titans. In 1963, the New York Titans renamed themselves to the Jets. The Pittsburgh Steelers were named the Pirates before the 1940 season. And in 1922, the Chicago Staleys became the Chicago Bears.
Washington enters a new era and hopes to the new name will lead to more success on the field. Historically, Washington has had success over the years, winning a total of five NFL Championship (the latter three being Super Bowls), five conference championships, and 14 division titles. The team has also appeared in the playoffs 24 times which the last appearance being in 2015. Washington has played in more than 1,000 games and one of only five NFL franchises to record over 600 regular season and postseason wins. The team started playing in Boston in 1932 but moved to Washington area in 1937.