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What Washington's NFL team can learn from NHL's Seattle Kraken name search

What Washington's NFL team can learn from NHL's Seattle Kraken name search

At about the same time Washington's football team was announcing it would be known as the ... Washington Football Team in 2020, the newest NHL team released its name and logo. The Seattle Kraken will be the 32nd NHL team. The timing of it all just seems like another black mark in what has been a brutal summer for Washington's team.

One team released a cool new name and logo for its fans while Washington's team kicked the can down the road. It is reasonable for Washington not to rush the process of renaming what was once a beloved NFL franchise, but maybe don't do it at the exact same time another professional sports team is releasing its actual name, especially when it's as awesome as Seattle's.

Use whatever analogy you want. This was a home run/touchdown/goal/slam dunk for Seattle. You may not like the logo or name all that much and that's OK. Personally, I think it's awesome, but there is no logo, name, design, jersey, etc. that will have 100-percent approval. If you don't like it, that's OK, but the way the entire process was handled makes this a huge win for Seattle.

ESPN's Emily Kaplan wrote a story on Seattle and it details how the NHL's newest franchise got this right. Washington's football team should be taking notes because Seattle just provided it a blueprint for how to handle naming a franchise.

Make it positive

The name change is happening. Accept it. There are plenty who still love Washington's previous team name and that's fine, but it's not coming back. Now is the time for the team to embrace the process.

Ever since it was announced that the team was going to change its name, the feeling in the city has been one of resignation. No one is going to embrace the name change if the team makes it feel like it is renaming itself under protest. No more statements where you use the previous name in practically every other word, no more talking about the past.

There have been few professional sports teams that have needed a rebrand more than this one. This is the perfect opportunity to do that, but no one is going to be excited for it if the team doesn't embrace it.

Granted, this is not an apples to apples comparison to Seattle, as Seattle is a new franchise, but there have been past Seattle hockey teams. The Seattle Metropolitans even won the Stanley Cup in 1917, becoming the first American team to do so. That would have been a terrible name for the new team. Rather than just reverting to the past, the team embraced the future of a new name and generated plenty of excitement along the way.

When the Washington team starts acting like this is a good thing, the fans will follow.

Listen to the fans

You can't have the fans be the lone voice making this decision or you could end up with the Washington "Football McFootballfaces" as the new team. Having said that, however, Washington should absolutely have its finger on the pulse of its fans when it comes to the name.

Kaplan wrote that the team monitored Twitter conversations about the name and took note of a Seattle Times reader poll in which Kraken had support. It wasn't one of the top two names, but it was at least popular.

Let's face it, the relationship between Washington's football team and its fans is not great. Fans are frustrated by losing, they are frustrated by the toxic culture of the team that reflects negatively on the city as a whole and they are frustrated by not feeling listened to by the owner. You cannot pick a team name and logo that is universally hated by the fans, especially when it feels handed down by an owner who didn't listen or care what the fans thought about it.

As I said, there will not be any team name that will have 100-percent support, but you can't use that as an excuse to ignore what they think either.

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Use meaningful colors

Imagine the city of Seattle. Now imagine the colors you would use for that city. It was rumored that Seattle's new franchise would adopt red and black as its colors and that would have been an awful idea. Seattle needed to be shades of either blue or green. Anything else would have felt wrong.

Washington should not overthink this. Keep the current color scheme. That is meaningful to the franchise and beloved by the fans. If, for whatever reason, the team decides to change the color scheme, the only acceptable combination for Washington would be red, white and blue. The Capitals, Wizards and Nationals all use it and it fits with Washington as a city. Anything else would just feel lke the team trying to be contrarian.

Can you imagine if the team changes its name and says, 'here's the new purple and black logo?' Yikes.

Make Nike a part of the process

A really interesting note in Kaplan's story is how involved Adidas was in the process with Seattle. Adidas collaborated with the team to design the logo and colors which makes complete sense. They are the ones who are going to be making the jerseys and the merchandise so why wouldn't you collaborate with them to find the best possible look?

Washington should not come up with a logo and color scheme and simply present it to Nike and trust that their "vision" will just simply translate into what Nike can produce. Let the experts tell you what's possible, show you what works in terms of colors and logos and work with them to make it look as awesome as possible.

Don't be a caricature

If you are a Washington fan, you are probably sick of seeing the former team logo facepalm. I mean, plenty of Washington fans have used it out of frustration, but it's not great that the logo can become a caricature so easily. That's something to remember when designing a new logo depending on what the team name is.

According to Kaplan, Seattle was aware that going with an outside-the-box name like Kraken would open them up to some trolling so the logo could not be "a cartoon character or something silly."

Washington has been an embarrassing franchise for years now. While Washington fans laugh at the Cleveland Browns, everyone else laughs at Washington. Whatever the new name may be, people will be ready to poke fun. Providing an easy caricature to Twitter trolls will not get the new name off on the right foot.

Use deception

The new name should be highly anticipated and released in a celebrated way. You don't want that celebration undercut by leaks. If the new name is supposed to be announced at a certain time, the new logo can't be leaked a few days ahead of time.

Keeping the lid on a new name and logo for an NFL team will be a bit more difficult than it was for the 32nd NHL franchise, but Washington should take note of some of the precautions Seattle took, beyond just making people involved in the process sign NDAs.

Knowing that people monitor domain names and trademarks, the Seattle franchise filed for three trademarks including the Sockeyes and five domain names. People within the Seattle franchise referred to the team as the "Cascades" as a code.  They also did not give the logo to vendors until after the uniform was unveiled. The result was an exciting reveal on Thursday which is exactly the kind of event Washington should be striving for in an exciting rebrand of the franchise.

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Thomas Davis is excited for Reuben Foster's return: 'He was born to play the linebacker spot'

Thomas Davis is excited for Reuben Foster's return: 'He was born to play the linebacker spot'

Washington linebackers Thomas Davis and Reuben Foster are at two very different points in their respective NFL careers.

The former is entering his 15th NFL season and is on the tail-end of an incredible career, while the latter is still trying to find his place in the NFL. The two are separated by 11 years in age.

Yet, both linebackers are expected to have significant roles in Washington's defense come this fall, a team they have yet to play a snap for. In a Zoom conference call with local media on Friday, Davis shared his excitement for what Foster has the chance to bring to Washington's defense.

"Reuben is a physical specimen," Davis said. "I was telling somebody the other day you have people who are born to play a position. When you look at Reuben, he’s one of those guys. I feel like he was born to play the linebacker spot."

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It's been a long and windy road -- both on and off the field -- for Foster since Washington claimed him off of waivers in November of 2018.

Foster was released two years ago by San Francisco after two separate domestic violence accusations. Washington claimed the linebacker, yet he would not play for the team at all that season after immediately landing on the Commissioner's Exempt List.

Later that year, Foster's former girlfriend recanted her testimony on the first incident, and charges were dropped on the second. The linebacker got clearance from the NFL to play shortly after.

Foster returned to the field for OTAs in 2019, but his first practice with his new team ended rather quickly. On just the third snap of the session, Foster suffered a gruesome, non-contact knee injury, tearing multiple ligaments. His recovery took longer than usual, as he lost feeling in his toes in January -- months after the surgery. 

Earlier this week, Foster was removed from the active/PUP list and placed on the team's active roster, 21 months after he was originally claimed by Washington and 15 months after his devastating injury. Foster spoke with reporters shortly after Davis did on Friday, and opened up about his life from the past year and a half.

RELATED: WHAT ARE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS FOR REUBEN FOSTER IN 2020?

If there's someone who can relate to Foster's rehab process, it's Davis. Over a 23-month span from 2009-2011, Davis suffered three (!!) separate ACL tears.

Yet, Davis bounced back from those injuries in tremendous fashion. Since returning from the final ACL tear in 2012, Davis has been extremely durable. Over that span, he's earned three Pro Bowl nods and was named to the NFL's All-Pro squad in 2015. Even at age 36, Davis racked up 112 tackles for the Chargers last season.

"Just seeing [Foster] make progress each and every day has truly been special," Davis said. "As a guy who has his own rehab story, to see Reuben being able to do the things he’s doing day in and day out, I’m extremely impressed and I’m excited for him."

With so many twists and turns in his young NFL career, Foster has finally reached the point where he can make football his top priority.

And now in Washington, he has someone he can look up to as a mentor in Davis.

“I try to talk to Reuben as much as I possibly can," Davis said. "Reuben, he’s excited, man. He’s energetic, he’s up-tempo. He’s always just ready to get back on the field as much as he possibly can when he was that opportunity. He’s just out there working hard and we’re just trying to constantly encourage him to continue to fight, continue to work and just let the chips fall where they may at the end of the day."

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SEE IT: This Washington Redwolves concept keeps team's identity intact

SEE IT: This Washington Redwolves concept keeps team's identity intact

Another day, another Washington Redwolves concept. 

Except this time, we may have found a winner. 

On Friday afternoon, an unaffiliated team account, @WashRedwolves posted a concept by Raymond Santiago that combines the classic Burgandy & Gold color scheme with the highly requested Redwolves logo.

Take a look:

RELATED: HOW THIS RED WOLVES DESIGN COULD BE A SIMPLE TRANSITION FOR WASHINGTON FANS

As you can see nothing really changed from the team's current uniform, just the Redwolves logo rather than the numbers they're currently rocking.

And that's absolutely fine. 

Because the team seems to be committed to keeping the identity intact as much as possible post-name change, less would serve as more. 

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