LANDOVER — Nicknames are commonplace in sports. Just look at the District. The Wizards are the Wiz. The Capitals are the Caps. The Nationals are the Nats. The Redskins were the Skins. The Washington Football Team was the WFT.
How the heck do you shorten Commanders?
Upon Wednesday’s announcement that the Burgundy and Gold will now be known as the Washington Commanders, The Washington Times asked team President Jason Wright if the team had a preference on how the new moniker should be shortened.
His answer: They’ll let the fan base decide.
“I’m hoping our fans get creative on this,” Wright said. “We looked at that. Especially three-syllable names. You look at the Seattle Mariners, they went to Ms. Is there a version like that for us? I’ve seen some stuff already that’s interesting.
“But this is the launch of a new brand, not a finalized new brand.”
That makes sense.
On the other hand, good luck.
Some wasted no time at poking fun at Washington’s new name — with a good number of fans and spectators online referring to them as the “Commies.”
“Let’s not focus on whether the Washington Commanders is a good name but instead focus on the fact a red and yellow team located in Washington DC named itself something that can be shortened to Commies,” tweeted Bleacher Report’s Tyler Conway. “Focus on the hilarious aspect of NO ONE realizing this over 2 years.”
“The rivalry between America’s Team and the Washington Commies will now be called The Cold War,” Tom Downey tweeted, referencing the Cowboys-Commanders matchup.
A mocked-up image of owner Dan Snyder portrayed as Chairman Mao Zedong widely spread on social media with the text “The People’s Team Washington Commanders.”
Pointed out that people will jokingly call the team Commies, Wright demurred.
“I mean it’s not about making a joke,” Wright said. “It’s about making a nickname that fans can be excited to say in the stands. And I think the fans that really want to contribute, that’s what they’ll help us with.”
As an example of how Wright envisions the fan base contributing to set new traditions, he pointed to the team’s plan to have a fight song. Wright said Commanders was chosen in part because he thinks there’s overlap in themes with “Hail to the Redskins” — the song played after touchdowns at FedEx Field. He thinks an updated version can be sung with a variation of Commanders, but added they’ll turn to fans to help them write a new one.
“It’s a connection of old and new,” Wright said. “Same thing with a nickname. Same thing with a mascot. Those are the types of things that we want to do together with our fans so they can feel they are shaping us.”
With Washington, say, unlikely to embrace Commies, what are the alternatives? C’s would be one, but that’s a nickname that the Boston Celtics sometimes use. There’s the possibility of Coms, though that sounds like a webpage. Commandos could be fun, but that’s still a little long and actually a name of a former local Arena Football League team.
How about going the other way and referring to them as the ‘Ders? Think of the sports radio tease: “We’re talking ‘Ders next.” No? Alright, that doesn’t work either.
Joe Theismann, your thoughts?
“How do you shorten it?” Theismann said. “That’s a tough one to shorten.”