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Rivera: Commanders' new identity is a 'new chapter'


Like everyone else in the Washington organization, head coach Ron Rivera was asked some variation of the same question: "What's the new name?"

It's easy to imagine how much the subject came up for him, and it was the same while he was visiting his parents, who live in a mostly Army community in California. He gave them the same answer: "Just trust me on this."

Now that the announcement has come and gone, Rivera can finally talk about it. The Washington Football Team became the Washington Commanders, ushering in a new era of the franchise's history. It's been a long process, one that involved 18 months of deliberation and planning. So, what does Rivera think of the new name? It's a chance to create something new for the organization.

"Now is an opportunity to establish that we're starting a new chapter," Rivera said. "We're turning the page, we're going forward."

For Rivera, the new name holds significance in many areas. "It's a name that carries a lot for our community," he said, as well as the DMV area, There were flashes of that throughout the Commanders' rollout of its rebrand launch. The uniforms, for example, have several references to the DC flag. The burgundy and gold colors, which saw adamant support from fans in the organization's studies, were also retained.

Rivera added that the name is a representation of who the Commanders want to be. So, it makes sense that three pillars of the Commanders' future -- Terry McLaurin, Chase Young and Jonathan Allen, all three of which were captains last season -- were heavily featured in the team's rollout of the new identity.

Allen, who was the Commanders' Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee in 2021, was in attendance at the team's Wednesday morning press conference and spoke about the new era of Washington's storied franchise. He was also part of the Commanders' brand reveal video, which offered a full look at the new uniforms.

"He's a young man that I think really fits the football team and also fits the community," Rivera said. "I think the thing about him…is that he's a guy that has had and is having success in his career. He earned a contract extension, he signed it and he continues to play at that top level."

Check out the Washington Commanders' new home, away and alternate uniforms that were unveiled as part of the organization's rebrand. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)

Allen, who signed his four-year extension last July, has grown as a leader over the course of his career. And speaking of leaders, that's the exact word Rivera first thought of when he heard Washington's new name.

"Leaders," Rivera told local media. "It's an opportunity for us to lead. I like to believe that some of the things [team president Jason Wright] and I have done, with the Snyders allowing us to do it, in terms of the people we've hired, how we're trying to get things changed, how we're trying to work on our culture and make sure it's the right type of culture to go forward that can represent our community. I think that's important."

Rivera wasn't specifically asked which name he would want out of the scores of the thousands of submissions Washington received, but he did have some preferences. He wanted an identity that would at least reference that military. The "Commanders" name check off that box; aside from the name itself, the uniforms feature multiple tributes, including the new number fonts and custom-designed camo in the all-black alternates.

He also wanted something the DMV community could latch onto, and he believes it achieves that goal as well.

"Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia…all three are represented in the logo," Rivera said. "I think that's a really cool thing just because of our fan base. We want to make sure everyone is included."

It's a new beginning for Rivera and the Commanders, but the head coach recognizes that winning is still the most important thing for a franchise, no matter what the name is. Hopefully, the new identity will bring more of that with it.

"It all comes back to one thing, and that's what I told Jon," Rivera said. "And that is winning. We have to win."

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