Washington Commanders

Return of gold pants means much more for Washington football fans

NBC Universal, Inc.

A lot can change in four years. 

Presidential terms. Olympic cities. Football team identities. 

It was only four years ago that Dan Snyder owned the Washington franchise, and the team still played under a moniker some viewed as highly controversial. 

As financial and political pressure turned up on Snyder, eventually, Washington dropped that nickname. And a few years after that move, Snyder sold the team. 

With the sale came new life, and now as the Josh Harris-led ownership group settles in and closes in on a full year at the helm, the organization is working to embrace its past while still moving forward. 

On Tuesday the team announced that gold pants would return to its uniform rotation. 

On the surface this is a minor move. Pro sports teams make uniform changes like teenagers change best friends. This kind of thing happens all the time. 

But in Washington, where the past has been painted by some as tainted — and worse by others — honoring the past is a trickier endeavor. 

Still, Harris and crew made that decision to look back and move forward, giving fans a semblance of pride from those previous teams. Sure, it’s just a pair of pants, but it’s also a way to remind fans and foes alike that Washington has a long, rich football history. 

There are zealots that think any move that doesn’t reestablish the old name is not enough. But the problem with zealots is they’re not reasonable, and a move back to the old name is just not happening. 

For any reasonable fan, however, this is a great step. The move is a cool way to connect to great teams in the 1970s and even more recently when the team occasionally wore the gold pants about a decade ago. 

Not to mention that plenty of Washington fans think the 2.2.22 rebrand was somewhere between a misstep and a full out botch, bringing back the gold pants might lighten the mood surrounding the new uniforms and name. 

It’s football. It’s supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be a diversion from real life. An escape from Beltway traffic and escalating bills and politics and all else that comes in the real world.

For too long, though, being a Washington fan was hardly an escape. It was almost as ugly as the headlines that dominate the local and national news. 

That era is over. There’s no guarantee the team returns to a perennial playoff contender or a Super Bowl winner. 

But it has become clear the new ownership group has changed the tone and tenor of what it means to be a Washington fan. 

Yes, we’re only talking about football pants, but for Commanders fans, we’re talking about much more. 

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