Backed into a corner by its sponsors, the Washington Redskins are all but certain to change their name in the coming weeks. But what will they change it to? I brainstormed a few ideas last week and it seems coach Ron Rivera and team owner Daniel Snyder have also been workshopping names behind closed doors. All we know right now is that Washington plans to move away from its problematic Native American imagery while retaining the team’s iconic burgundy and gold color scheme.
Washington’s inevitable rebrand has everyone talking including Redskins alum Fred Smoot, who endorsed “Red Wolves” for the team’s new name. Smoot’s suggestion has quickly gained traction on social media, receiving support from fourth-year D lineman Jonathan Allen and starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins, among others.
“It is an endangered species,” Smoot explained on Thursday's "Redskins Talk and Friends" podcast. “It allows us to keep the HTTR [Hail to the Redskins]. It allows us to keep the burgundy and gold. It allows us to have some crazy uniforms.”
While a geo-targeted Twitter map would indicate fans still favor names like Warriors, Red Hawks and Red Tails over Smoot’s preferred Red Wolves, the Red Wolf contingent seems to be growing stronger by the day. Veteran linebacker Will Compton, who began his career as a Redskin in 2013, said he’d happily sign a one-day contract just so he could retire as a Washington Red Wolf.
While the sports landscape is already littered with teams named for ferocious felines (Bengals, Jaguars, Lions, Panthers, Tigers) and birds of prey (Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, etc.), representation of wolves and other predatory canines remains surprisingly scarce. The NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and hockey’s Arizona Coyotes are about all you’ll find in that respect. Neither play in the NFL, so Washington wouldn’t be stepping on any toes by calling themselves the Red Wolves.
Whatever name the Redskins select as their new moniker, they better do it fast with FedEx threatening to pull its stadium signage if the team keeps stalling.