Over the past two years, the Washington Football Team has been in search of a new identity as they seek to both honor their proud history and set a new standard to carry into the future. That future will arrive when the team finally unveils its new name on Feb. 2, but that hasn't prevented a mad online dash to try and figure out exactly what the name is before it is officially revealed.
On Wednesday, Twitter user Larry Legend believed that he had discovered the new name of the Washington Football Team when he noted that the domain name "Commanders.com" had been transferred from Namecheap to MarkMonitor, the company used by most NFL teams for their online domains. The transfer occurred at 7:34 p.m. ET that day, leading the user to believe that the new team name would be the Washington Commanders.
In a quote tweet, Sam Fortier of the Washington Post pointed out that not all NFL teams use MarkMonitor, making a point that the Washington Football Team itself actually uses GoDaddy for its domain. It was also pointed out that any claims of team name confirmation could be vetted through an examination of IP addresses, as the league's official website and 31 of its 32 teams refer to the same four addresses.
Real quick: NFL doesn't use MarkMonitor for all sites. Several team urls -- including Patriots, Ravens and, uh, https://t.co/zauPG4S4JG -- list other registrars. Look it up: https://t.co/esdqba4hVb.— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) January 27, 2022
New name could still be Commanders, but saying MM "= confirmed" is p reckless. https://t.co/BF81dGOhGr
In a report by Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, it was noted that the Commanders.com domain name had previously been owned by a member of the "Commanders Club," a group paying homage to the James Bond film series. The owner of the site confirmed he had sold the domain name, but had done so through an online brokerage and had no contact with the Washington Football Team in doing so.
Since retiring their longtime Redskins name in June of 2020, Washington has spent the past two seasons playing under the generic banner of Washington Football Team while developing a full rebrand for the franchise. Once Washington settles on a new name, they will become the first NFL team to fully rebrand since (previously Houston) Tennessee Oilers were rebranded as the Tennessee Titans upon their move to Nashville in the late 1990s.
Washington's rebrand occurs at a time where the franchise has established an on-field identity that can be built upon, but looks to take the next step towards being serious contenders in the NFC East. Washington won their division in 2020 at 7-9 thanks to a weak division and the resilience of head coach Ron Rivera, but another seven win season in 2021 (7-10) was only good enough for third in the division.