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February 10, 2022

My hot take on the Commanders:

While the Washington Football Team/Commanders is a dumpster fire of an organization by any standard – I’m just going to focus on the marketing and culture failures at play here.

I don’t think the name of a professional team matters that much. MLB has two teams named after socks, one after a female horse, and a Canuck is a derogatory term against Canadians. For a Canadian hockey team.

All they had to do was pick a name better than the Redskins – and they blew it.

From a marketing perspective – I don’t know what they were thinking. I think it looks fine – I like the “W” icon – I would wear it, if I hadn’t turned my back on the team over a decade ago. Commanders though? It appears they’d chosen the name a while ago – and should have just dropped it then. They tried to keep hype around it, and worse, tried to make the fans believe their opinion mattered. Fans liked “The Washington Football Team.” It was unique, had a European flair, I actually thought others might follow suit. Fans liked a lot of names though – Redtails or Redwolves would have kept the #HTTR hashtag intact. We could have sung the same fight song. So many good options – and they went with Commanders. If they think people here are that into the military, they’re crazy. Also – no one calls a team by their full name. The Patriots are the Pats, The 49ers are the 9ers, even the Redskins were the Skins. Who didn’t think about what they’re going to shorten a three syllable name to?! It’s not the Mandos! It’s not the Comms! It’s the Commies.

So why this name? My only two guesses are:

1. It’s a national sport and they think military officers and their families across the country might root for them. Let’s table the fact that no one likes a military that loses. Like, you know, the Commies.

2. To someone who is decidedly not tough – trying to name his team something he thinks sounds tough, might make him feel like he’s someone. This is an ongoing theory of mine about his entire team mismanagement.

The culture lessons are actually the bigger ones though. How did no one think about the shortened name? Why did all the photos leak? Why did they go against all player and fan feedback? Why did they plan a reveal on the Good Morning Show instead of throwing a real event for fans? They even released a crest with the wrong Super Bowl dates on it! Are his people incompetent? Did he hire the worst people? No. They don’t give a fuck. Cause they know Snyder doesn’t give a fuck about them. They know he won’t listen. They know he won’t do the right thing. They know they won’t be there long. They’re cashing their checks, keeping their heads down, and if they’re smart looking, for better opportunities.

Everything matters when you’re running a business, unless your culture sucks. Then nothing matters.