ASHBURN, VA — The Washington franchise of the National Football League will call itself “w3h\ME'V” starting in 2022, sources tell End of the Bench.
The decision ends a process that began when the team retired the name Redskins in July 2020 in response to pressure from Native Americans, sponsors, and tanning salons.
The rebranding gained fresh momentum following name changes by the Cleveland Indians and Valparaiso University.
Cleveland will become the Guardians in homage to four Art Deco pylons buttressing a highway bridge, while Valparaiso dropped the name Crusaders and will henceforth be known as the Beacons, in a nod to the school’s motto “In Thy We See Light.”.
The Washington Football Team’s rebranding effort was at a standstill until recently an intern forgot to update their password, forcing the team’s computer system to create a recovery password.
That spawned the idea of w3h\ME'V, or constantly rotating and confusing team name, the perfect ode to the nation’s capital.
One source described the failure as an “epiphany.”
“We realized we could use ‘reset password’ to create a random team name every three months when logins expired,” said the intern, who was promoted to head of marketing. “This would quadruple annual merchandising revenue.”
An IT manager added, “And because a computer creates the name, no one could accuse us of political insensitivity while still being tied to Washington, D.C.”
Before the password revelation, Washington also considered Traffic Cones, Rubberneckers, and The Swamp, as names with closer ties to the city.
A team source said Traffic Cones would have required changing the uniform colors to safety orange and day glow green.
“We are committed to burgundy and gold. Plus, we didn’t want people sneaking into the stadium disguised as parking lot attendants,” the source added.
Rubberneckers was scrapped, ironically, for its traffic association.
“The NFL plays on Sundays. Reminding fans that they’d be stuck in Monday morning traffic was a bad idea,” a second source said. “Additionally, gridlocks are not carbon neutral.”
A hospitality manager said Roadkill was dismissed because it could upset vegans and discourage stadium food sales.
The team also considered mimicking Big Pharma’s practice of creating made-up monikers such as Viagra or Lyrica, but both of those options reportedly tested poorly in focus groups.
Ultimately, the team settled on w3h\ME'V, a move some around the media world are already questioning.
A television network executive who requested anonymity cautioned the new name would overwhelm casual fans, saying “Most will forget they are watching Washington unless they write the name on a sticky note and post it on their 72-inch UHD TV.”
The executive suggested alternative names such as Password, Qwerty, or 123456.
“Something a little easier would be nice,” the exec added.
A press conference to announce the rebrand was originally scheduled for Wednesday but was delayed 24-hours after someone locked the system by entering the wrong password three times.