NFL Team Monikers: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Eian BellAnalyst IJuly 24, 2008

When I think of the NFL, I think tough, rugged, and hard hitting. I think of it as brutal—the definition of the words manly and masculine.

So, shouldn't an NFL team have a nickname that strikes fear in the hearts of opponents?

I believe that it should. Many teams do, but on the flip side, some teams carry nicknames that remind me more of a picnic in the park.

I am a fan of the Oakland Raiders. I believe that with their name, team colors, and fans, this team exceeds the qualifications of being a man's team. However, in an effort to write this article in an unbiased fashion, I will exclude the Raiders from further mention.

Also, remember that these are just my opinions, and this article is written purely for fun. I don't believe there is a wrong or right as far as this kind of reporting is concerned. If I offend you, I am sorry, it is not intentional.


The Good


Dallas Cowboys

I think that "Cowboys" is one of the best, if not the very best, team names.

What is more manly than a real-life cowboy? Not a big city yuppie who puts on his cowboy hat and goes to the dude ranch a couple times a year, but a real cowboy who rides bulls and ropes cattle.

Just think back to when you were a kid playing cowboys and indians. Didn't you always want to be the cowboy? And didn't the cowboys always win?


Chicago Bears

Although I've never heard of a bear running through the streets of Chicago, there aren't too many things tougher than a 500 pound grizzly bear.

Enough said.


Pittsburgh Steelers

When I think of Steelers, I imagine big tough steel workers. For all of you guys who sit in an office all day, believe me: I know you work hard. But try being a steel worker for a week.

I personally am not a steel worker, but I've been in construction for a long time and at the end of the day I come home tired, no matter how long I've been doing it.


Minnesota Vikings

If you even have to ask why I have included the Vikings, go to your local library and read about the Norman conquest and any other viking literature you may be able to find.

Then, remember that I'm looking for team names that might strike fear in an opponent's heart.


New England Patriots

Okay, this one might stir some controversy, but this isn't about which team is most liked or which team is most talented.

I say that "Patriots" is a good team name for one reason: Most American men feel patriotism for their country.

What is more manly than soldiers who are giving up their lives for their countries? These men are real patriots.



The Bad


Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals? Come on. What's manly or tough about this bird?

Sure they are cool to look at, but do they strike fear in anything but an earthworm? I'm not a big fan of bird names, unless they are birds of prey, and even those are borderline to me.


Miami Dolphins

Do I really have to say anything? When was the last time you heard of a dolphin attack? Dolphins are magnificent creatures but not "manly."


Indianapolis Colts

A colt by definition is a young male horse, or a pony. Obviously, as a Raiders fan, I am not a proponent of the Denver Broncos, but at least they got the name right. The only way the Colts could be considered even remotely masculine is if they were to trade in the horseshoe on the helmet for a .45.


San Francisco 49ers

Okay, any team with San Francisco in its name is going to have a hard time appearing manly for obvious reasons.

Yes, I know that 49ers were the men who came out during the gold rush of 1849 to stake their claim. No, I can't argue the toughness of those men. The reason I list the 49ers in the bad column is because I don't think "49er" stands the test of time as a name to be reckoned with.

People know how violent and brutal Vikings were over 1,200 years ago. 49ers, although manly in their own time, are not remembered for their brutality or toughness.


Green Bay Packers

Okay, I'll probably get some hate mail for this one, but let me explain.

First of all, yes I know that the ultimate prize in football is named after Vince Lombardi, a football legend and storied Green Bay coach. I just researched the Green Bay Packers because I wanted  to know where they got their name:              

In the Green Bay Press-Gazette on Aug. 29, 1919, two weeks before the team's first organized game, sports editor and Packers co-founder George Calhoun first publicly identified the team as the "Indian Packers."

Curly Lambeau received $500 from his employer, the Indian Packing Co., for uniforms and equipment, and for use of the company's lot for practice. In exchange, Lambeau and Calhoun agreed to call the team "Packers." Early fans, many of whom were working-class citizens, immediately embraced the name, widely publicized by Calhoun.

Calhoun also called them simply "Indians" briefly in 1919, but that moniker seemed to fold with the company, soon purchased—
along with the team—by Acme Packing Co. In 1921, the team's first season in what is now the NFL, its owners had "Acme Packers" put on the jersey, setting the name in stone.


The Ugly


Cleveland Browns

The Browns are named after former head coach Paul Brown.

According to my research, in 1945 Arthur McBride brought the AAFC team to Cleveland. He ran a contest in the newspaper for suggestions on team name, offering a $1,000 war bond to the winner. Many entries suggested that the team be named the Cleveland Browns after their head coach, but Brown felt it was improper to name the team after himself.

Instead, they chose the "Panthers" as the winning suggestion. However, there was already a semi-pro team in the '20s named the Panthers, and the owner still held the rights to the team name, so Coach Brown agreed to the name "Browns."

All I can say is, I'm sure glad the Raiders didn't become known as the Oakland Erdelatzs.


New Orleans Saints

This has got to be one of the worst names for a team. I am not bashing religion or religous people, but seriously, how does this name strike fear?


Seattle Seahawks

Okay, I didn't really know what a seahawk was, so I Googled it. I always associated it with a seagull, which is way off, as I have found.

Seahawk is another name for the osprey. The bird's common name is derived from the Latin word ossifragus, meaning "bone breaker."

Okay, that sounds pretty tough to me, but if you don't know what a seahawk is then does it really sound tough? I assumed they were pansy birds until about five minutes ago.

Oh, and I found something else when I Googled "seahawk." Apparently, seahawk was the name of a character in the animated series "She-ra," and that is why the Seattle Seahawks get my vote for ugly.


These are my views and opinions, and again, this article is written purely for fun, so I'd like to hear your opinions on good and bad team names. There is no right or wrong answer, so have fun with it.


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