Monday, August 26, 2013

NFL Team Names: Ranked

The NFL regular season is just around the corner. So to copy Grantland's Zach Lowe ranking each NBA team's name, and to piggyback on the wildly popular post on this blog ranking each team's starting quarterback's name, I figured it was high time to rank NFL teams' names.

Below is something you'll surely disagree with:

32. Washington Redskins

31. Kansas City Chiefs
There used to be Native Americans in Kansas City! I wonder what happened to them... This team name, admittedly, is not in itself racist. The iconography associated with this team, however, isn't helping the cause. Arrowhead Stadium. Geez. The Chiefs are probably the least bad of all Native American-associated pro sports teams, but we just need to stop with the Native American teams.

30. Houston Texans
Yeah, people from Houston are Texans. Great. The only argument for this name would be that many professional football teams throughout history have been called the Texans. My response: all those teams chose shitty names.

29. Indianapolis Colts
Named for Baltimore's horse breeding tradition or something. You don't want to name your team after domesticated horses. Horses just do what you say and will mindlessly work until they die. They also get "spooked" easily. And they named their team after the BABY version of these things. Geez Louise.

28. New York Jets
This name kind of comes from the fact that the Jets' original home, Shea Stadium, was near LaGuardia. WE NAMED OURSELVES AFTER WHAT'S NEAR US! JETS! Why not just call yourselves the Rats, or the Overrated Pizzas, or the Exposed Homeless Guy's Dicks?

27. San Diego Chargers
People who charge. Like blue-da blue-DAA BLUE-DAAAA CHAAAAARGE! Lame.

26. Cleveland Browns
Named after Paul Brown, the team's first coach. Buncha brown nosers (y'see?). Brown is an adjective. This name sucks. What if the Patriots changed their name to the Belichicks? Their shortened name would be the Chicks. That would be horrible and hilarious.

25. Baltimore Ravens
Edgar Allan Poe lived in the Baltimore area. He wrote a poem about a talking raven. The Ravens should be the name of the intramural softball team made up of English grad students at Johns Hopkins (that team at Brandeis during our tenure was called the Literary Canons). You named your team after poetry. POETRY. Although I guess Poe did invent poetry. How do you think it got the name?

24. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals got their name because owner Chris O'Brien got the team's jerseys from the University of Chicago football team in 1901 and dubbed the color "cardinal red." Your team name is based on hand-me-downs from a Division III school.

23. New York Giants
Just named after the New York baseball team. Wow. Thanks for confusing the bejeepers out of people for decades. And thanks for allowing Chris Berman to STILL call them the New York Football Giants. A fine name for a team, but this franchise gets no credit for it.

22. New Orleans Saints
Probably named after "When the Saints Go Marching In," because there's a lot of jazz in New Orleans. Also, New Orleans was awarded a franchise on All Saints Day. These origin stories are horrible. The nickname Saints is so out of the blue and unique that it's kind of cool, but hearing the reasons behind the name make it about a million times lamer.

21. Oakland Raiders
People who raid. This nickname is kind of aggressive. Like, although pirates were clearly horrible people, there are some romantic associations with buccaneers and stuff. But just calling the team "Raiders" is really getting to the heart of the bad stuff. It's one step away from calling the team the Oakland Rapists and Pillagers.

20. San Francisco 49ers
Everyone knows the origin of this name, and everyone knows that the gold rush actually began in 1848. Fortunately for San Fran, Niners is better than Eighters. But wrong is wrong.

19. St. Louis Rams
Arguably cool animals. I don't know, rams? As a native Rhode Islander, I am somewhat partial to the Rams as it is URI's name, but still. Not great.

18. Carolina Panthers
Panthers are cool animals I guess.

17. Philadelphia Eagles
Pretty standard, cool animal. The team was actually supposedly named after the National Recovery Act's symbol of an eagle. While I'm a fan of FDR, I don't see why one should name a football team after that. Probably made more sense at the time.

16. Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta NBA team is the Hawks, so it sort of fits there. But this pretty much does nothing for me.

15. Jacksonville Jaguars
Cool animal to be sure. Alliteration is kind of nice. But overall it's pretty nothing.

14. Seattle Seahawks
A lot of people say that "seahawks" are not real birds. But people call ospreys "sea hawks" as far as I know, so I don't know what the fuss is about. Suddenly when it comes to the Seattle NFL team, everyone is an ornithologist.

13. Detroit Lions
The Detroit baseball team is the Tigers. Makes sense. Lions are pretty standard in terms of big, scary animals.

12. Chicago Bears
Goes with the Cubs in Chicago, so that's pretty nice I guess. It fits with Chicago's famous nickname, The Ursine City.

11. Miami Dolphins
Miami is very much a coastal city, and dolphins are one of the coolest animals of the sea. A fitting name.

10. Denver Broncos
Broncos are cool animals. Wild horses are pretty cool, especially because there are domesticated horses. For reasons explained in the Colts name analysis, if this team were the Denver Horses, that'd be awful. If you want to have a horse nickname, it's best to go with Broncos. Unclear why they need a horse nickname, though.

9. Cincinnati Bengals
A football team called the Bengals had played in Cincinnati before. Gotta love history. I'm also kind of partial to unusual names to regular animals. Like, Bengals are just tigers, right? It's kind of like how the Boston NHL team is called the Bruins. And everyone knows that a bruin is just another name for a...wait for it...BROWN BEAR. Wait, how did I just talk my way into loving the Bengals?

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It's Raiders without the graphic connotations and it's Pirates but more creative. A fine name, a fine name indeed. It's also just kind of a fun word to say. BUCCANEEEEEEEEER!!!!!!!

7. Tennessee Titans
Titans are similar to Giants except cooler. Pretty sweet name actually. It's unique without having the schlocky quality that many newer pro sports teams' names have (this is particularly endemic in other sports, with names like Diamondbacks, Magic, Raptors, Heat, Wild, and others). Solid.

6. Minnesota Vikings
This name makes sense because the upper Midwest is full of blonde people. The menacing, intimidating version of the usually docile Nordics is the viking, so the name is pretty appropriate. It's sort of like a more area-specific version of a name like Warriors.

5. Dallas Cowboys
I've never been to Dallas, but it seems like a pretty cowboy-ish city. This name just pretty much works. Not trying too hard, just a solid name that fits its city perfectly.

4. Green Bay Packers
So you pack meat? Is that like their job during the week, and then they play football on Sundays? It's a cool nickname because it's local, but it's definitely not as tough and cool as the Steelers. Steelers is the same idea, except they're cooler, and the name "steeler" is more descriptive than "packer." Your team name shouldn't necessarily require some knowledge about Wisconsin's economy.

3. New England Patriots
Pretty patriotic. Overall, a really solid name, drawing from the region's history as a hotbed of revolutionary activity in the late 18th century. PAUL REVEEYUH, THE FACKIN' TEA PAHTY, AND THE SHAWT HEARD ROUND THE FACKIN' WORLD! LEXINGTON AND CAWNKID! It's a great name.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers
It's cool because it's local, and unlike the Packers, it's descriptive. You don't have to know that Pittsburgh produces a lot of steel to know what a steeler is. Great name.

1. Buffalo Bills
This name is too genius not to be at the top of this list. Basically, the city is part of the nickname. In its truest form, the nickname "Bills" is insufficient. The players on this team should be understood to be a group of "Buffalo Bills," the wild bison hunter and showman. When you face this team, you're up against a group of William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Codys, which is pretty awesome. I love this name.

Let the backlash commence.