The Washington Football Team still might be going by its placeholder name this time next year.
“There’s a pretty good chance we will be the Washington Football Team next season,” team president Jason Wright told Washington TV station WJLA on Tuesday.
The team retired the name it had used for 87 years on July 13, after launching a thorough review 10 days earlier. The temporary name was announced July 23.
“I think next year is fast because of how the brand has to come together through uniforms, through approval processes through the league,” Wright said Tuesday.
“We could get there quicker, it’s actually pretty hard to get there that quickly because of all the steps that need to happen.”
For years, Washington owner Dan Snyder had resisted changing the name; he told USA Today in 2013 to “put it in all caps” that he would never make such a move. Some who worked for Snyder said they believed then that he would rather sell the team than use a new name.
The controversy surrounding the name predated Snyder’s purchase of the team in May 1999. When Washington played in Super Bowl XXVI following the 1991 season, there were 2,000 protesters outside the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Jack Kent Cooke, the team owner at the time, said of any possible change: “There is not a single, solitary jot, tittle, whit chance in the world. I like the name, and it’s not a derogatory name.”
But Snyder and the franchise have been under more pressure after the protests following the death of George Floyd in May while he was in police custody in Minneapolis. Within a few weeks of Floyd’s death, sources said Snyder had been discussing the name change with NFL officials for several weeks. The team also felt financial pressure from investors and several sponsors to change the name.
Information from ESPN’s Adam Schefter and John Keim was used in this report.