Ron Rivera, the first head coach in the history of the Washington Commanders, played a key role in the team's rebranding from "Redskins" and for the last two years, "Washington Football Team."
After the team unveiled its new name, logos and uniforms, Rivera opened up on what the name Commanders means to him specifically and what it could signify for not only the Washington fanbase, but the country as a whole.
"When we started talking about the Commanders, my first thought was about leaders," Rivera said on CBS Mornings. "In this world, we seem to lack true leadership, and you need people to step forward and lead this country to help take us in the right direction.
"I think it's greater than just the name of a football team as much as it's really something that we have to look at as an opportunity for us to take charge, take command and go forward."
For Rivera and the key decision-makers on the new name, Commanders separated itself as a real possibility once the options were narrowed down to a few finalists. While there were more popular names among the fan base, Washington's head coach believes Commanders puts the franchise in position to begin a new chapter.
"When we started going through the list and started bringing it down to a final grouping, the Commanders stood out the most," Rivera said. "I'm really excited about the fact that we are starting a new chapter. We're turning a page, we're going forward, we're trying to step away from all the things that happened in the past. But we also want to make sure we honor what has happened with this football team in terms of the championships and Super Bowls that they've won."
Rivera and team president Jason Wright were tasked with rebuilding Washington's roster into a winner, as well as correcting the organization's culture both on and off the field when they were hired before the 2020 season. The new name is here, but their initial goals are still works in progress.
"Going forward is so important, and one of the things that we've done and worked on in Washington -- and Jason Wright has done a tremendous job helping us go in that direction -- we're trying to be inclusive, we're trying to involve everybody," Rivera said. "This is not just about a certain group of people, this is about everybody and I think that's the most important thing.
"We talk about trying to develop a sustainable, winning culture and you have to do that by doing what's right, doing things that need to be done and changing what needs to be changed. We've got to adapt and keep moving forward and not be judged on what happened in the past, but really on what we're doing now and what we're going to do in the future."