Washington Football Team's New Name Is the Commanders

Washington Commanders
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The new name comes 18 months after the once-storied franchise dropped its old moniker following decades of criticism.

The Washington Football Team has revealed its new name: the Washington Commanders.

On CBS Mornings Wednesday, head coach Ron Rivera said he thought of leaders when he initially heard the new name.

"In today's world, we seem to have a lack of true leadership, and we need people to step forward and lead this country and really help to take us in the right direction," Rivera said. "I think it's greater than just the name of a football team as much as it's really just something that we have to look and say, you know, it's an opportunity for us to take charge, take command and go forward."

The team officially made the announcement on the Today show, and tweeted it out.

The new name comes 18 months after the once-storied franchise dropped its old moniker following decades of criticism that it was offensive to Native Americans and under fresh pressure from sponsors. The organization committed to avoiding Native American imagery in its rebrand after being called the Washington Football Team the past two seasons.  

"As an organization, we are excited to rally and rise together as one under our new identity while paying homage to our local roots and what it means to represent the nation's capital," owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. "As we kick off our 90th season, it is important for our organization and fans to pay tribute to our past traditions, history, legacy and the greats that came before us. We continue to honor and represent the Burgundy and Gold while forging a pathway to a new era in Washington."  

On CBS Mornings, Rivera said the organization was "trying to develop a sustainable winning culture."

"You have to do that by doing what's right and doing things that, you know, need to be done, changing the things that need to be changed, and, you know, in this world, that's important," the coach said. "I mean, we've got to adapt and keep going forward and not really be judged on what happened in the past but really about what we're doing now and what we're going to do in the future."

There's been guessing about the new name ever since the team decided to make the change.

Before the announcement, CBS Washington, D.C. affiliate WUSA-TV sent a helicopter over the team's home stadium, FedEx Field, and signs saying "Commanders" were spotted. But some speculated that it was just an attempt to mislead media.

The Associated Press reported that in addition to the Commanders, these nicknames were among the final options: the Admirals, Armada, Brigade, Defenders, Presidents, Redhawks, Red Hogs and Sentinels.

According to WUSA, legendary quarterback Joe Theismann on Monday shared his thoughts about how he thinks Commanders will work out as the new moniker.

"Commander - basically it's Washington, D.C," Theismann said. "A lot of commanders in Washington, D.C. and the Pentagon, and a lot of different branches of the service. So that's the way I'm looking at it, as positions of leadership when it comes to the new name."

This story was originally published by CBS News on Feb. 2, 2022 at 10:55 a.m. ET.