Analyzing popular Washington team name proposals
In a poll from 2014—that is still open if you’re interested in voting—USA Today writer, Chris Chase, invited readers to weigh in by choosing one of over a dozen name alternatives for Washington’s NFL franchise. Before offering my own proposal, I would like to share some thoughts on several of those suggestions.
First, let’s consider the Washington Warriors. Sounds catchy, right? After all, four NFL franchises currently feature team names that begin with the same letter as their respective locations—the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, and Tennessee Titans. Additionally, two other NFL teams, the San Francisco 49ers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, utilize alliteration pairing the second and third words in their official titles.
But something’s wrong with the Washington Warriors—actually two things. First, the moniker violates the unwritten rule of not taking an established team name from another major sports franchise—besides, Golden State’s basketball fan base has had a tough enough off-season. And a major sports franchise ripping off their team name might hurt as bad as the Nets potentially ripping away their chances at another NBA championship this era after Kevin Durant’s departure.
A second problem presents itself as the name invokes a sense of unrest and conflict. It’s not that Washington isn’t the global go-to hub for military excellence, it’s just that war, itself, does not encapsulate what makes the United States great.
This brings the discussion to a name that invokes freedom: the Washington Liberty or even more simply, the Washington Freedom. However, all of the NFL franchises feature names that are pluralized nouns—a distinction not shared by every professional sports team—think D.C. United or the Oklahoma City Thunder. And speaking of D.C. United, the soccer franchise deserves recognition for honing in on an integral part of what it is to be an American through invoking the concept of unity in its namesake.
E pluribus unum—Latin for out of many, one—became the USA’s unofficial motto in the 1780s. So why not just name Washington’s NFL franchise the Americans? Can you catch yourself hearing the Rocky soundtrack in your head?
Cue “Eye of the Tiger.” Haskins takes three steps back, the Giants bring pressure, he scrambles to the left, motions a receiver to the pylon, let’s it fly—he’s—he’s got Richardson! Touchdown, Americans!