A Thorough Evaluation of the New Name for the NFC East’s Dumbest Franchise
It’s a big week for new team nicknames. I reviewed the name of the new Seattle Kraken of the NHL under a comprehensive set of criteria. Now I’ll apply those criteria to the Washington Football Team, and come to a definitive rating of their (temporary) team name.
While it’s true that they are a football team from Washington, there are other cities with football teams as well. Not particularly relevant.
Medium menacing-ness. Every other team they play will also be a football team, so there’s nothing too scary or intimidating about that. However, football teams are famously composed of large and hard-hitting men, and are far more intimidating than, say, a pelican, a positively non-intimidating large bird.
Cool Mascot/Merch Potential
Terrible. What’s the mascot going to be, a guy dressed as 53 guys? Twitter user @70ceeks had the best take on this.
Is It Racist?
No! It’s not racist! There is no better way for a nickname to not be racist than simply describing in a matter-of-fact way what the team does. This is a huge accomplishment on the part of the Washington organization, something many observers thought Dan Snyder was constitutionally incapable of. Congratulations to the whole Washington franchise.
This is yet another instance of teams following the non-S-ending trend for their nickname. But unlike the Kraken, the Football Team makes sense as a singular collective noun. No complaints on this front.
Other Potential Annoyances
I think this is pretty obvious. Everyone will be making fun of how stupid it is, and it is stupid; that’s why they’re not going to keep it. But I’m only mostly joking when I say I think they should keep it.
First of all, we could all use a dose of literal-mindedness every once in a while. The Washington Football Team is, crucially, a football team from Washington. (Okay, yes, it’s technically in Maryland, but that’s not what we’re talking about now.) This is also a very funny thing to say, and I don’t think it will ever not be funny. Part of what makes it funny is that in this scenario where it’s the team’s permanent name, we’d be constantly reflecting on the fact that Dan Snyder is so dumb and racist that he couldn’t come up with any name that wasn’t dumb and racist other than one that was just a bland description of the team. Of course it’s absurd to call a professional football team the Washington Football Team, but it’s actually no more absurd than a team like Liverpool just being referred to as its city’s Football Club. And even though I think British sports team names are ridiculous, I think it would be a lot of fun if the Washington Football Team took a page out of their playbook.
The only actual positive of this name is that it’s not a racial slur. This is about as low a bar as there is for anything. But it also has the benefit of being funny in a way that you don’t really get in the names or mascots of pro sports, other than Gritty.
This is such an obviously stupid name that one might think any alternative is better. But while DC is a great city, most of the things it’s best known for are awful. The Washington Football Team is certainly better than the Washington Lobbyists, or the Washington Military-Industrial Complex, or the Washington Senators. (In fact, many of those things are racist!) Maybe it’s counterintuitive, but Washington could do a lot worse than the most boring name on the planet.