The Washington Football Team is playing the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. But first, they're playing with fans.
Dance, puppets – the name game has fans and media swirling around like a barnyard square dance with punch bowls filled with Red Bull. There's no obvious direction. The team is just making you work up interest to their benefit. Maybe sell more WFT gear through those daily emails – buy now before it's gone!
A secret names list confirmed by co-owner Tanya Snyder? It's the same list that president Jason Wright recently said wasn't completely true. There are more red herrings among the list of eight than a spring run up the Potomac River.
But that doesn't matter. The team just wants the buzz, truth be damned. This is Washington, after all. Home of politicians who talk out of both sides of their mouth and only wish their ears could speak so more disinformation could be spewed.
For an organization promising a new era of transparency, this is just more smoke and mirrors.
Supposedly, there are three finalists among Armada, Brigade, Commanders, Defenders, Presidents, Red Hogs, Redwolves and – of course – Washington Football Team. And, maybe the name is buried in that pile of warmongering or animal names.
But that list probably means the name stays WFT after surrendering Redskins to political correctness 14 months ago. Armada? Like the Spanish Armada is sailing the Potomac now? Presidents? Everybody hates the White House leader nowadays and they want to make that the name? Why not just be the Pandemics already?
The Brigade, Commanders and Defenders are all military references that just feel like the team is trying too hard. RedHogs is a play on Hogs – the great offensive line that was the center of three Super Bowl titles. Just call them Hogs already, but that's a reference to a generation ago that most young fans never saw. I thought the team wanted to go fresh and futuristic? Redwolves is a fan favorite, but the team hasn't been able to get the trademark so it's just punking people putting that name on the list.
That leads the name game back to square one – Washington Football Team. Actually, fans are warming to it. The name is different for U.S. sports and could attract more fans globally that are used to football clubs. If Washington makes the playoffs this season, it's two for two under WFT versus practically nothing over the past generation. Some fans would feel compelled to keep it for that reason alone.
Whatever the name is, half the town will hate it. That's how America rolls nowadays. The team could return to Redskins and half the fans would hate it. There's no path that pleases everyone, but there are options that are just stupid, and after polling seemingly everyone with a pulse during this long, torturous name search, the team needs to pick one and move on already.
If Washington wins over coming years, fans will adopt the new name. Lose and the franchise falls further under the radar and already they're trapped in tunnels after a generation of failure.
Meanwhile, just keep playing the team's game of publicity and marketing. It's the only game in town anymore.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.