What will the Commanders change of ownership mean for their uniforms?
With the reports that the sale of the Washington Commanders is imminent, my first thoughts given my interest in such things, was what this will mean for the uniforms and possibly the name. While many Washington Football fans are rejoicing that the long nightmare of the Dan Snyder ownership period is apparently coming to an end, for various reasons, I am personally more focused on the aesthetic changes we may see.
After many decades of operating as the Washington Redskins, the ownership group decided, from much outside pressure, to rebrand the franchise in 2020 . Dropping the controversial nickname for the generic Washington Football team. Many-a-fierce online debates commenced on whether it should have been done, and as of today, it is probably still pretty split, but overall people have accepted that the old naming is gone for good.
The change to being called the Washington Football Team was meant to be a place holder, as the franchise got their ducks in a row and worked on the process of securing new trademarks and alerting the supply chains. After all of that it was announced that the team would be called the Washington Commanders in 2022. With that change, we saw the end of the classic redskins uniform template, which minus the helmet stripes remained while the team played as the WFT for two seasons. This for me, is where the issues started. Reports indicated that, many of the favorite new team name options, like Wolves, just wouldn’t work with the way trademarks are protected these days. The now Cleveland Guardians faced similar issues as they transitioned form the Indians nickname last year. The fact is, these days, there are just not too many sports nicknames left. With the emphasis on merchandise and branding in the modern sports world, getting a unique naming, that can be fully owned and marketed is getting harder and harder. Although we do still occasionally get some overlap like the MLB Guardians and the XFL Guardians.
With all that said, I would find it highly unlikely we would see any change to the name for the franchise. So that brings us to the uniforms.
League rules stipulate that primary uniform changes must be kept for five seasons. Now it is conceivable that perhaps an exception can be made because of the new ownership, but I have not seen any precedent of that, so more than likely we will not see a quick change of the primary uniforms even with new ownership for at least a few more years. We also don’t know if the potential new owner even cares about uniforms. Personally, if I owned a team, that would be my first priority, but I’m not a billionaire, so they may find other things more important, than treating your 6 Billion dollar purchase as a old school Madden Create-A-Team. Forgetting all that, here is what I would do if I scrounged up enough change to buy the Washington NFL franchise.
Keep the newname (I guess), but let’s also keep the tradition of the Franchise.
The Washington Redskins had many different uniforms through the early 70s, but that last look was pretty much the same through the end of the Skins era. For me, while I like a few of their old uniform designs, I find the 1972 and onward uniform to be the most iconic and quintessential Washington uniform. That should have been the template any new uniform for the Commanders was built from. Now some would say, no, this is something new and the unforms should reflect that, but even if that was right, the new uniform designs leave a lot to be desired and in many ways are just bad overall. A modern hybrid of the classic design with some of the new elements would have been a better choice. Hell, their new mascot sports a better look than the actual football team, with a uniform that is basically the white uniform that the team wore for decades. So, if I was going to come up with a concept, for the primary uniform, I would use the classic template, including the iconic helmet stripes. For the primary helmet, lets just swap the logos and call it a day. For an alternate, go ahead and keep the black if you want, but let’s keep a similar look to the primary. Even better for me, would be to ditch the black elements and add a 1970 “Lombardi” throwback with modern elements. Below are some illustrations of what I would like to see. I also used a typeface more consistent to what had been used for decades as well. Overall, I think this new ownership change is a great time to improve on a transition that was obviously rushed and many elements can be easily improved on.
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