“Color is a powerful measure of loyalty and an indicator of a brand,” O’Hara said. The team colors are “unique, and that’s what they are,” he said.
He said the Commanders name is consistent with the large military presence in and around Washington, DC, although O’Hara said the name sounded a bit generic and possibly had too many syllables.
“It works with the region,” he said. “But it feels worn, not fresh.”
Some names were eliminated because they were used by other teams or because there were concerns that they violated trademarks.
Ultimately, four finalists went through a comprehensive design process, which included seeing how they looked on TV, in print, on social media, and on uniforms and helmets.
Alternate names included the RedWolves, Admirals, Generals, Armada and Presidents, names floating around in social media announcements and statements from Wright, who removed some names from contention because they conflicted with trademarks owned by other teams, including both variations of the RedWolves name.
Teams are sometimes renamed or rebranded as they move to different cities or are sold to new owners. The Rams kept their name and colors but changed their logo and uniforms when they moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles before the 2016 season. In Major League Baseball, the Marlins replaced Florida with Miami as their name when they moved to a stadium within the city limits. The current Cleveland Browns are a reactivated version of the team after Art Modell moved his version to Baltimore and it became the Ravens.
In Washington’s case, the team for years faced calls from fans, sponsors and Native American groups to drop the previous franchise’s name, which had long been seen as a racial slur against Native Americans. Team owner Daniel Snyder resisted this pressure and fought off legal challenges aimed at stripping the team of its brands.