“Color is a powerful measure of loyalty and indicator of a brand,” O’Hara said. The team’s colors are “unique, and it’s who they are,” he said.
He said the name Commanders dovetails with the significant military presence in and around Washington, D.C., though O’Hara said the name sounded a bit generic and perhaps had too many syllables.
“It works with the region,” he said. “But it feels worn out, not fresh.”
Some names were eliminated because they were used by other teams, or because there were concerns they might violate trademarks.
Ultimately, four finalists went through a full design process, which included seeing how they looked on television, in print, on social media and on uniforms and helmets.
The alternative names included the RedWolves, Admirals, Generals, Armada and Presidents, names floated in social media announcements and statements from Wright, who eliminated some names from contention because they conflicted with trademarks held by other teams, including both variations of the RedWolves name.
Teams are sometimes renamed or rebranded when 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 to Los Angeles from St. Louis before the 2016 season. In Major League Baseball, the Marlins replaced Florida with Miami in their name when they moved to a stadium in 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 name, which had long been considered a racial slur of Native Americans. The team’s owner, Daniel Snyder, resisted that pressure and fended off legal challenges aimed at stripping the team of its trademarks.