After attending the debut of the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field, Pete Hailey identifies the best and worst parts of the club's rebranding...
What the Commanders got right
While the white jersey and pants is clearly the third-best of the three combos Washington unveiled Wednesday, the burgundy and black looks are sick.
The black uniform in particular stands out and it's going to be a stellar 'fit in primetime games (as long as the Commanders aren't down by 35 at halftime like they were in their last nighttime affair). Having a legit alternate option is a much-needed step for this franchise.
The burgundy uniform, meanwhile, makes great use of that rich red throughout, and the gold trim on the shoulder pads helps complete the ensemble. For fans worried about losing the long history that the organization has, this version should assuage their concerns a bit.
Yes, the white top and bottom seems somewhat misplaced in the whole collection and has more of a Cardinals or Falcons vibe to it, but hopefully it'll pop better on the field than it did on the mannequins at the stadium.
In all, the uniforms are modern and unique and also pay homage to Washington's past. They're not going to please everyone, but this blogger with a supremely mild fashion sense sure does approve.
This is strictly about the helmets and not the logo on the helmets (which will be mentioned in the negative section of this story). But the helmets themselves are a winner.
The red ones, with their matte finish, are fantastic. As for the black, polished one, it's a hit as well, even if it would've been elevated to an A-plus if it was also matte. Keeping the numbers on the latter, though, is a nice way to differentiate it and also maintain maybe the best part of the Washington Football Team's (RIP) wardrobe.
Incorporating alumni on Wednesday
Before Dan Snyder, Tanya Snyder and Jason Wright spoke at the podium outside of FedEx Field, Washington brought out a large group of ex-players ranging from London Fletcher to Dexter Manley to Pierre Garcon and plenty more. They all sat in the front couple of rows and were wearing baller Washington Commanders letterman jackets.
After the press portion of the unveiling wrapped up, many of those alumni were made available to the media for interviews, where they all gave their takes on Commanders. Fletcher, Gary Clark, Joe Theismann and others all espoused the change, and even if they were no doubt coached up on the key talking points to it, having them on hand to discuss the transition was smart and effective.
The hype video
Sorry, but this is in fact a crucial item in 2022 and Washington delivered.
Sure, the team's account might've false started when it came to posting the video (it went out a couple of minutes before The Today Show segment where the reveal was supposed to occur), but it's still a superb project. It's got the requisite old highlights, cameos from a host of important figures and a sweet synced-up clip of Jonathan Allen, Chase Young and Terry McLaurin saying, "We are the Commanders."
Apparently, Matthew McConaughey wasn't available for the voice over. Overall, however, the video was an excellent statement on social media.
What the Commanders got wrong
Damn, this was disappointing.
The Commanders name itself is fine, yet it could've been elevated with stop-you-in-your-tracks logos and fonts. Unfortunately, Wednesday's rebranding didn't achieve that.
The Football Team's "W" will basically remain as the primary mark, except this one has a few lines added to it. The team's press release calls the letter "powerful," but in reality, it's underwhelming.
The worded logo is a tad better than the "W," but again, there isn't much creativity there. Did these really take 18 months to come up with?
Now, the patch/crest piece of the rollout is worth highlighting, and from afar, it looks sharp.
That said, the five years that run across the bottom and are meant to celebrate championships/Super Bowl wins are causing some confusion. The squad that captured Super Bowl XXVI is always referred as the 1991 Redskins, but the patch lists 1992 instead when the actual Super Bowl they won was played. That's a bit odd.
There was a handful of fans lined up outside of the stadium store Wednesday at FedEx Field, and at 9 a.m. the store's doors opened to let those fans in. Though the crowd was small, there was enthusiasm among the bunch — but that enthusiasm quickly died down once they saw what awaited them on the racks:
With the understanding that the Commanders have officially existed for only a couple of hours, the initial swag that was available in person and online was boring at best and really, really boring at worst.
As the offseason unfolds, hopefully the shirts, hats, sweatshirts and other apparel improve, because the best way to spread the Commanders brand is through fans repping it everywhere. Right now, it's just not that reppable.