- The Washington NFL franchise may continue to use the ‘Football Team’ temporary nickname in 2021.
- The team dropped the long standing ‘Redskins’ nickname in mid July.
- Aside from coming up with a new permanent name there are a variety of time consuming logistical challenges that make it hard to complete quickly.
The name ‘Washington Football Team’ doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. In fact, it isn’t really a name at all but instead a designation that the team formerly known as ‘Redskins’ doesn’t have an official nickname at the moment. Fans might need to get used to that reality for at least one more season.
In an interview with local media outlet ABC-7 WJLA Washington Football Team president Jason Wright shared several newsworthy tidbits with sports anchor Scott Abraham–no fans will be allowed inside FedEx Field for Sunday’s game against Dallas, fans might be allowed back for the Week 9 game against the New York Giants and that boosters might as well get used to the ‘Football Team’ non-nickname.
FedEx Field is located in Maryland where Governor Larry Hogan announced that outdoor sports venues could now admit fans at 10% of capacity. Here’s the statement from Hogan released last Friday:
“With our key health metrics low and stable, we are taking steps to allow more spectators, including fans of the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Football Team, to safely attend games in the stands.”
“It remains important to continue following all of the mitigation measures and public health protocols that keep us safe, including wearing masks and practicing physical distancing.”
Team President Wright said that Sunday’s game against the Dallas didn’t give the team sufficient turnaround time to bring fans back to the stadium:
“It’s too quick of a turn around for us to feel like we can do it safely. This week, we will continue to expand the family, friends and staff approach this week for the Cowboys game. Especially something like this, I like to move fast, but I don’t like to rush. We want to make sure we are prepared to do it right.”
Wright suggests a more likely scenario would be to bring back fans for the November 8 game against the New York Giants. Even then, the team will go with the more restrictive arbitrary guidance from Prince George’s County instead of the arbitrary statewide 10% mandate which will cap attendance at 3,250 in the 82,000 seat facility:
“We have the bye week coming up after this. It gives us plenty of time to be prepared to do something substantial in the coming week. We have a plan to bring back fans. If you want to pencil something on the calendar, I would look at the Giants week. That gives us the right time to prepare.”
“While the state of Maryland gave their guidance. There is also the guidance from the county. The county’s cap is currently at 3,250 fans for large gatherings. That’s what we’re moving toward and what we’re looking at doing after the bye week.”
In a classic case of ‘burying the lede’ the most significant news came later in the interview. That’s when Wright revealed that it’s somewhere between ‘probable’ and ‘likely’ that the Washington NFL franchise will continue to be known as ‘Football Team’ during the 2021 season:
“Everybody needs to take a deep breath. It’s not coming tomorrow. It’s a business decision, we need to understand that market. More importantly, it’s important to engage the community and the fans. We’re also in the process of identifying the folks that should weigh in over time. We want this name and brand to represent the entire area, to represent the fan base, but to also attract new folks to this fan base. We want to grow this fan base as part of our new identity.”
Not only does the franchise need to come up with a name (some have suggested that ‘Warriors’ is a possibility) there’s a lot of logistical and legal issues to deal with:
“I think next year is fast because of how the brand has to come together through uniforms, through approval processes through the league. Next year is fast. There is a pretty good chance we will still be the Washington Football Team next season. We could get there quicker, it’s actually pretty hard to get there that quickly because of all the steps that need to happen.”
At least local fans and media have adopted the less cumbersome ‘WFT’ abbreviation. If you’re interested in more background about the Washington NFL team’s transitionary season(s) they’ve got a website just for that purpose: