The team changing its name is fairly certain. The name the franchise will take is not.
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder's announcement that the team is undergoing a "thorough review" of the team's name will bring an unprecedented move in the modern NFL. Unless the franchise reports with a wink it has thoroughly examined the name and determined that it is not offensive, the Redskins will be the first since the AFL/NFL merger to change their name without moving to a new city.
It was even rare before the merger, as only four teams have done this in the league's 100-year history. The Chicago Staleys changed its name to the Bears a year after moving to the Windy City in 1922, the Pittsburgh Pirates became the Steelers in 1940 to distinguish the team from the MLB franchise, and the New York Titans switched to the Jets in 1963 because new owner Sonny Werblin wanted to capitalize on Shea Stadium's proximity to LaGuardia Airport.
The fourth team to do this was the Boston Braves, who changed its name to the Redskins in its second season in 1933. Now, 86 years and a move to Washington, D.C., later, the franchise is set to do it again. The question is whether the Redskins are looking to make a slight alteration that makes the name palatable to a majority of Americans in 2020 or start fresh. If the franchises the latter, here are five names to consider.
One name that has been proposed is the Washington Red Tails, the nickname for the Tuskegee Airmen because they painted the tails of their fighter planes red. In building on that great idea, Airmen covers fighter pilots in all conflicts starting with World War I.
If the franchise wants to take away the "America's Team" title from its division rival Dallas Cowboys, giving a team in the nation's capital this mascot is a surefire and completely defensible way to go about it.
The team cannot go with the national bird, the bald eagle, or mammal, the bison. (Thanks Philadelphia and Buffalo). The national flower is the rose and the tree is the oak and neither of those makes for a good mascot. So, let's go with the one attribute that the United States touts louder than any other country in the world: freedom. Sure, it's vague, but no more so than MLB's Washington Nationals and NHL's Washington Capitals.
This name embodies the belief that we can always improve as a society and covers everyone from George Washington to Susan B. Anthony to Martin Luther King Jr. It also allows the team to keep its #HTTR hashtag.
The Redskins "Hogs" in the 1980s and early '90s had arguably the biggest fan following of any offensive line in NFL history. However, the Washington Hogs has about as much pop as the Washington Bureaucrats. The Washington Warthogs sounds better and is more fun for children. An added bonus is that it also is the nickname for the A-10 fighter jet.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.