NFL Power Rankings: How Do All 32 Team Nicknames Stack Up?
With all of the nonsense about the lockout, the NFL has not been a whole lot of fun lately. But what we as fans must remember is that this is a game we love, and it is a game that is meant to be fun.
So to add some fun, I decided to rank all 32 NFL teams based on how intimidating their nickname is. The results are pretty surprising. Saints fans will be disappointed, while Jets fans are flying high. This is a sequel to a prior article I wrote ranking the same thing for baseball teams.
But without further ado, here are the most intimidating nicknames in the NFL.
No. 32: Cleveland Browns
This is literally the worst team name in the history of ever. I know there are the St. Louis Blues and the Cincinnati Reds, but at least those colors have some substance. Brown is just ugly.
Things that are brown: poop, brown sugar, dirt and wood. Exciting stuff.
No. 31: Arizona Cardinals
The cardinal is not exactly a bird I would associate with the violent nature of football. It is small, harmless, and about as intimidating as an infant.
Birds are a recurring theme on this list, but Arizona has the unfortunate designation of having the least intimidating bird as its mascot. But if you ask Derek Anderson, he'll say, "It's fine."
He takes this stuff seriously.
No. 30: Miami Dolphins
The problem with a dolphin is that, in popular culture, they are always depicted as these human-loving, fun-seeking children of the sea. If they killed baby seals and ripped holes in boats, then they would be significantly higher on this list.
But the Dolphins just lack the intimidation factor. I want to ride one.
No. 29: San Francisco 49ers
The thing that 49ers have going for them is the pick-axe. If they didn't have that weapon, the common 49er would be an old, gold-digging American.
Kind of like Kevin Federline.
Granted, these people did make a good amount of money in the business. But just look at this guy. He's like a homeless man with more style. Sorry San Fran, but you don't make the cut.
No. 28: Green Bay Packers
When I think of the word "packer", I think of packaging. When I think of packaging, I think of UPS. This is hardly intimidating because for one, the trucks are brown (see slide 1), and two, the delivery people are always way too nice.
For wonderful logistics, the Packers get put at No. 28. But the World Champs still own one of the least intimidating nicknames in football.
No. 27: New Orleans Saints
It's not that Saints weren't great people and incredible assets to their respective societies, but they just do not scare anyone. Saint Paul over here has about as much intimidation factor as a daisy.
To their credit, Saints are very powerful, so they have to get at least some recognition. But in terms of this list, they are towards the bottom.
No. 26: Baltimore Ravens
Ravens fans are going to get on me for this because the other aviary teams are ranked a bit higher, but here's my logic. Where the Falcons, Seahawks, and Eagles are very majestic looking, the Ravens are just boring.
They are creepy, but not in the intimidating way. Whereas an intimidating animal makes you scared, a creepy animal makes you just want to walk away. The Raven is the latter.
No. 25: Indianapolis Colts
For those of you who were hoping I would go for the Colt that is a gun, I'm sorry to disappoint. This is a baby horse. The word baby automatically disqualifies anything from being intimidating.
However, the colt does have potential. When it grows up, it could be the next Secretariat or Seabiscuit. So for that reason, the baby horse does get some credit.
No. 24: Buffalo Bills
Man, these things are huge! The buffalo is the JaMarcus Russell of the animal kingdom—great physical attributes, horrible staying power.
The buffalo is nearly extinct in the United States, just as JaMarcus Russell is nearly extinct from the NFL.
But for sheer size and the two dinky little horns, the buffalo of Buffalo gets some points.
No. 23: Pittsburgh Steelers
If this were the Industrial Era, the Steelers may very well be towards the top of this list. But for an industry that helped to shape this great nation, it has gone to rust. Thus, it has lost some degree of intimidation.
But the steel mill remains a symbol of our nation and our industrial prowess, and one can never forget how important the steel industry was. But it's rusty now, so the Steelers are not high on this list.
No. 22: Denver Broncos
A bronco kind of falls into the same category as a raven. It's not that an untamed horse isn't intimidating. The problem is that it's untamed, which means that it hasn't learned what it means to be a true horse. But it is ridden by cowboys, and like the Colt, has lots of potential.
So the Bronco isn't very high, but it is a respectably intimidating nickname.
No. 21 (tie): Seattle Seahawks
This is one scary looking bird if you ask me. The seahawk is absolutely under the "birds of prey" category, and as such, has an inherent intimidation factor.
The thing that keeps it from a higher ranking is the presence of humans, who have rifles. Thus, seahawks are not particularly intimidating to humans. But relative to some other nicknames, it's up there.
No. 21 (tie): Atlanta Falcons
This is a peregrine falcon. Little did I know, and maybe some of you animal expert did know this, that the peregrine falcon can stoop—basically bird skydiving—at up to 242 miles per hour. I don't care that its feathers look like an optical illusion. This is a pretty intimidating bird.
Like with the seahawk, it isn't too intimidating to us. But man, if you are a little rat, you're screwed.
No. 19: Philadelphia Eagles
The most majestic bird in the animal kingdom just happens to be the national bird of the United States of America. For that reason, it gets the slight nod over the seahawk and falcon. But it is an equally intimidating bird, a swift bird of prey that feeds on lesser animals.
Not that any American would try and kill one of these things, but a bird is a bird, so this is as high as I'll put it.
No. 18: St. Louis Rams
Perhaps nature's most unpleasant animal is the ram. I'm sorry, but this thing is hardly a joy to be around.
How do I know? Kindergarten petting zoo.
They spit, they are rude, and they ram into you, and this was just a baby.
Adults have fully developed horns that pack a punch, and they are relentless when they charge you. Watch out.
No. 17: San Diego Chargers
Speaking of charging, electricity is not a very intimidating concept by itself. But think of all the things associated with it—the electric chair, tasers, lightning, Pikachu—and the scary factor starts to come into view. It is one of the few forces humans cannot control in their bodies.
I have never been struck by lightning, but I cannot imagine it is a very pleasant feeling.
No. 16 (tie): Jacksonville Jaguars
My problem with jaguars is that they are pretty much slow cheetahs. Nevertheless, they are jungle cats, and possess the ability to pounce on, bite, and kill anything they are within range of. Plus, you've got to be pretty cool if you have a car company named after you.
But they aren't lions or tigers, so they're lagging a bit on this list.
No. 16 (tie): Carolina Panthers
If it weren't for those monstrous fangs, I would have mistaken this for a picture of my pet cat. But don't be fooled-- panthers are vicious animals and are along the same lines as jaguars. The problem with panthers is that, in some parts of the world, they are heavily endangered.
If you can't fend for yourself, you aren't in the same league as some other jungle cats that will appear shortly on this list.
No. 14: Cincinnati Bengals
Going along with our theme of jungle cats, the Bengal tiger is not someone you want to roll around in the grass with. Tigers will rip your face off if you look at it the wrong way. This is about as intimidating as the animal kingdom gets, ladies and gentlemen.
But because there is one other cat above it in the hierarchy of beasts, the tiger is not the highest ranked animal on this list.
No. 13: Detroit Lions
This is the lion, the king of the jungle.
Make no mistake, the lion runs the wild. Aside from the fact that its mane alone could scare the crap out of someone, it can weigh about a ton and has teeth that could pierce a diamond (probably not, but that would be cool).
The Detroit Lions finally have an award, and it is having the most intimidating jungle cat in the NFL.
No. 12: Chicago Bears
Now, tigers and lions are one thing. Bears are a whole new beast. Bears are a two-pronged attack because not only can they maul your face off, but they can also rear on their back legs and crush you.
Long story short, you do not want to run into a bear in the wild. You will die.
Congratulations to the Chicago Bears, who have the most intimidating animal mascot!
No. 11: Washington Redskins
For all the flak the Redskins have gotten over their "offensive" name, it is nevertheless intimidating.
If you have never learned about the capabilities of Native Americans, you'll learn something now. They used bows and arrows, tomahawks, and sometimes their bare hands.
They intimidated General Custer, and they'll probably intimidate most other red-blooded humans as well.
No. 10: Kansas City Chiefs
Being just your average Native American warrior is one thing. Being the chief is a whole new level of badass. You think this guy looks old? He probably could kill you with one finger. Chiefs are stone cold, excellent leaders, and always ready to defend their tribe.
They are just a step above the Redskins, but the Chiefs are the first member of the top ten.
No. 9 (tie): Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!
All the buccaneers did during their glory days was board ships, kill the crew, and hijack them. Sounds like a group I would probably not want to invite over for dinner. They are a vicious group, filled with stories of aggression and victory.
Armed with swords, eye patches and peg legs, the Bucs are an intimidating group.
No. 9 (tie): Oakland Raiders
It's hard to put the Buccaneers and Raiders in different spots, because they really stand for the same thing. The Raiders were also pirates, just a bunch that was especially fond of boarding ships. They would pull up alongside, board, and either rob or eliminate the crew.
It's interesting, because that seems like something another team would do to Oakland rather than the other way around.
No. 7: Minnesota Vikings
Shield and spear? Check.
Helmet with horns? Check.
Yeah, don't want to mess with him.
No. 6: Dallas Cowboys
When you think of America, cowboys are probably one of the first few things that come to mind. Think about these guys. They tame and ride horses (see: Broncos), carry multiple weapons and a lasso, and wear 10-gallon hats.
They can be good or evil, but they're always ready for a fight. That is something to be scared of.
No. 5: Houston Texans
If you read my baseball article, you'll see that I put the Texas Rangers as the number one choice for most intimidating. Obviously, it would be natural for me to do that for the Texans too because of their affiliation with Chuck Norris.
But I'm going to switch it up a little bit and put the Texans fifth, because you simply don't mess with them.
No. 4: New York Jets
J-E-T-S JETS JETS HOLY S#&% IT'S AN F-22!
See, when the New York Jets talk about their planes, it's not some dinky World War II poor-excuse-for-a-jet one.
This is an F-22 Raptor, the world's most advanced fighter jet. It has stealth capability, lots of guns and missiles, and is the coolest looking piece of machinery in existence.
As for as intimidation goes, you have to be pretty special to beat the jets.
No. 3: New England Patriots
Everything in this list up until this point that can be associated with America can be combined into this one and added to Captain America to create the amazing entity called the Patriots.
It is all that is good with our country—love of democracy, good looking people, hating the Yankees, and kicking other countries' asses in wars.
The Patriots are the American spirit. In the sense of battle, there is almost nothing more intimidating.
No. 2: New York Giants
As hung over as Paul Bunyan looks here, he still towers above the trees. Giants imply one of the most intimidating things an entity can have: size advantage.
Imagine a group of 20-foot-tall men with axes. If you're not intimidated than I would contend that you are either lying or Chuck Norris.
But what could possibly be more intimidating than giants? Well, you're about to find out.
No. 1: Tennessee Titans
In Greek mythology, the Titans were a group of deities (as in they can do literally anything) who ruled the world. These deities included Atlas, the one who holds up the earth, and Oceanus, who was actually the personification of all the world's oceans.
So basically, they could do whatever they wanted. And if they existed today, they would do whatever they wanted. Unless you want Atlas to pick the world up and drop it on your head.