Perhaps the Washington Football Team is playing everyone. Or perhaps the organization really did blow its own big reveal, by mistakenly airing an unblurred version of its new name and logo on 'Washington Football Today' on NBC Sports Washington.
Which of these outcomes is more likely, because they seem to be the only two outcomes possible, was a topic of fierce debate this week on social media, where the purported leaked images spread like wildfire among those with a vested interest in the new name.
This is a high-resolution version of the same leaked image from the NBCSW broadcast, which on the broadcast was printed on a piece of paper sitting on the arm of a chair in which team president Jason Wright sat.
It was the same scene that was displayed on the organization's social media feeds, only in those versions of the video, all logos/names were blurred out. That they weren't blurred out on the NBCSW broadcast has driven speculation about whether it was a horrible oversight, or the organization is yet again trying to throw fans off the scent from the actual name/logo it intends to reveal officially on Feb. 2.
106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier couldn't resist speculating about what they think led to the unblurred version airing on the team's own TV broadcast.
"Did the Washington Football Team accidentally reveal their new name, or logo, or both? That's the question," Paulsen said.
"So about a week ago, you and I said are they gonna make it to Feb. 2 without the name getting out? I said no, you said yes," he went on to say. "And my reason was — not that they would accidentally botch it or reveal anything big — but I just thought too many people know.
"I believe over 100 people know. I think there are players, there are front office people, there are a bunch of people at the park who know — I think they're gonna tell their friends, and someone's friend's gonna get caught in a screengrab with a text message to somebody. And somehow, some way this is going to be revealed."
"Either this is a great job of espionage and disinformation, or they screwed up," Rouhier said. "I mean, I don't know another way to describe it. To me, those are the two choices. Is there another choice that I'm not thinking of?"
"I don't think there is," Paulsen replied.
"So we'll find out on Feb. 2. Like there's no other way around it," Paulsen said. "If the logo looks a lot like this logo, if the name is Commanders, then they screwed up and they didn't mean for this to be out there! If the name is Redhogs, or if the name is Commanders and the logo looks nothing like this, then maybe it was not an accident, not a big deal."
"There are options here, Danny," he continued. "They could have strategically put this out there to throw people off, because they heard a lot of people assuming and speculating already that it was Commanders. That's one option. Another option is: It was a complete mistake, this is what the name actually is, and they have accidentally broke the news on their own broadcast of what their team name's gonna be weeks in advance. Or, I guess I'll even work in a third one here, which is: there were a bunch of sheets, Commanders was one of them, and they put it out strategically as a way to kind of throw people off, let's say."
"So the video that I saw on Twitter had it blurred out," Rouhier said. "The video that aired on their TV show on NBC Sports Washington did not have it blurred out. On Instagram, it was not blurred out. That doesn't necessarily say head fake to me. That says oversight to me. Because if you're gonna blur it in some places and not others, what move is that?"
"Well, wouldn't there be one master version that would just get aired or not aired everywhere," Paulsen wondered.
"You'd think," Rouhier said. "To me, I think someone overlooked the reflection in the window thing and didn't notice it, where you saw basically the logo that's on the helmet. I don't think that was purposeful. I don't think that's misdirection. Misdirection to me is what Ron Rivera did yesterday, where he was like, 'We don't want to Command the room. We're not a bunch of Wolves out here.' Where he like mentioned the different names and stuff — that's misdirection.
"This feels, and I hate saying this, because it just feels like it's low-hanging fruit and we're just beating up a bunch of good people here, but this feels like a screwup to me. That's just how it does. For the same group that, with the whole Sean Taylor thing, the way that it went down. The same group that's in charge of them running out of food at FedEx Field, despite not great attendance, a couple different times. The same group that didn't offer that great of an experience to everybody that did come. I don't know, man. It's hard for me to say benefit-of-the-doubt this is espionage. If it is, I will eat my words and I will apologize profusely. I'll say, 'You guys got me. You head-faked me to such a high degree.'"
"The fact that it aired on the team's own show on NBC Sports Washington is the part that really throws me off a little bit," Paulsen said. "Because, presumably, they know everything that they air. And anything that they air, they have to want on their air. They're not gonna air a segment where they're going through all the stats where they got worse this year, you know?"