The NFL's 10 Best Nicknames Today
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Nicknames have always been a part of the culture of sport, but what is in a name?
The best thing about nicknames is also probably the worst thing about nicknames: You don't get to pick your own.
If you do pick your own, it's viewed as narcissistic—or even idiotic. Sometimes nicknames actually originate as an insult (see: Charlie Hustle), like that nickname you couldn't shake from the time you were in the second grade until your senior year in high school.
But most of the time they come out of adoration.
I know, I know—it has been done before.
But why, then, have some of the best nicknames in football been left off of other lists?
I was watching the "Top 10 Things We Miss About Football" on NFL Network, and one of the categories was "Nicknames." An analyst actually said something along the lines of, "There aren't any good nicknames in football anymore. Everyone has initials—AP, LT, DHB, MJD. LT isn't even original!
"And what's with the abbreviations? V-Jax, A-Rodg, etc. No one in the league has any imagination anymore."
Well sir, I am here to put that ridiculous argument to rest. This "10 Best" is inspired by and dedicated to my favorite nicknames in the NFL today.
Before we begin, I know that these things are completely subjective, so I invite you to comment on nicknames that didn't make the list. I would also like to know if there are any lesser-known nicknames out there (i.e. the ones you and your friends make up) for today's NFL stars. My personal favorite comes from my friend "G-Dub," who coined, "Donkey Kong" Suh for the Lions DE who throws quarterbacks rather than barrels.
Alright, on to the 10 Best!
Honorable Mention No. 1: Chad "Ochocinco"
Almost Chad... Almost.
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Q: When is a nickname not a nickname?
A: As soon as it becomes your legal name.
I must also stand by my earlier statement about people who give themselves nicknames.
Honorable Mention No. 2: Michael "The Burner" Turner
Michael Turner has a good one, but it falls just short of making this 10 Best.
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Michael got this nickname while playing football at Northern Illinois. His size regularly led defenses to believe he didn't have the speed to get to the edge and hit the home run.
They got burned.
HA! See what I did there?
This is a pretty good one: It rhymes. It is easy to understand.
There are better ones than this, however—hence the honorable mention.
Honorable Mention No. 3: Marshawn Lynch AKA "Beast Mode"
Look out Nyjer Morgan! This is the real Beast Mode.
Before Nyjer Morgan poached the phrase and bastardized to describe a gesture he and the rest of the Milwaukee Brewers used during the 2011 MLB season, there was a particular 67-yard run in the NFL Wild Card round that earned Marshawn Lynch the nickname "Beast Mode."
The video says more than my words ever could.
No. 10: Matt Ryan, AKA "Matty Ice"
"It's good" enough for #10 on this list.
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Matt Ryan earned this nickname from his peers because he came into the league as a rookie starting quarterback with ice in his veins, an uncanny poise in the pocket and just a general "coolness" under pressure.
This makes the list because you have to give credit to a nickname that rhymes with a nickname of a BEER! "Natty" Ice is the shortened name for Natural Light (as if you didn't know that already).
No. 9: Ryan Fitzpatrick, AKA "The Amish Rifle"
Facial hair has inspired many-a-nickname.
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This is a new one, and who knows how long it will stick; probably about as long as that beard sticks on Ryan Fitzpatrick's face.
This nickname was given to the Bills QB by teammates like Stevie Johnson and Fred Jackson earlier this year when the Bills burst on the scene with an undefeated start to their season.
No. 8: Darrelle Revis' "Revis Island"
Revis Island is a "no-fly" zone
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Darrelle Revis actually coined this nickname himself. The only reason this makes the list and "Ochocinco" does not is because Darrelle did not name himself "Revis Island."
Actually, "Revis Island" is the name for whichever area of the field he happens to occupy while playing defense.
No. 7: Adrian Peterson, AKA "All Day," AKA "Purple Jesus"
"AP" doesn't make the list, but "All Day" and "Purple Jesus" do.
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"AP" is not included here because acronyms and abbreviations are not nicknames.
Adrian Peterson's father named him "All Day" because, as a kid, AP could run AAAALL DAAAAAY. This was found to still be true once he reached the NFL. Teammates have told stories about AP sprinting 80 yards to the end zone and back to finish a play during practice, returning to the huddle without even needing to catch his breath.
"Purple Jesus" was a nickname bestowed upon him, along with the expectations that he would be the savior of the Vikings.
No. 6: Darren McFadden, AKA "Run DMC"
It's Tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that's right on time It's Tricky...(How is it D?) It's Tricky (Tricky) Tricky (Trrrrrricky)
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Defenses are starting to find out just exactly how "tricky" "Run DMC" can really be.
This nickname, like others on the list, is not just cool, but it makes sense. Darren runs the football for a living, and his last name is McFadden.
I don't think I have to spell it out for you.
No. 5: Casey "Big Snack" Hampton
"Big Snack" is a big man.
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They call Casey Hampton of the Steelers "Big Snack," likely because phrases like "Small Snack" or even "Moderately-sized Snack" do not exist in the vocabulary of a man who eats running backs and quarterbacks for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
No. 4: "Slot Machine" Wes Welker
This 99-yard TD reception against the Miami Dolphins came on a play in which Welker was lined up in the slot.
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It is only fitting that the best slot receiver in the game is nicknamed the "Slot Machine."
The only difference between this slot machine and any of the others lining the floors of Las Vegas and Atlantic City is that you have much better odds of scoring with this one.
No. 3 Maurice Jones-Drew, AKA "Pocket Hercules," AKA "Mojo"
Good things come in small packages.
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"Pocket Hercules" proves that being vertically-challenged in the NFL is not necessarily a bad thing if you are as wide as you are tall. Jones-Drew has the strength, balance and low center of gravity to run through tackles, and he has the "Mojo" to make people miss in the open field.
I like to make-believe that Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio pulls Jones-Drew out of his jacket pocket just before game time to let him warm up.
No. 2: "The Law Firm" BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Benjarvus Green-Ellis is almost a tongue-twister. That's when a nickname comes in handy.
If you've been injured in an accident, call the law offices of BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
The New England Patriots RB's last name barely fits on his jersey. Trying to say the whole thing is a hazard for a broadcaster or even a coach. Bill Belichick can easily say, "Hey, Brady!", but saying "Hey, Green-Ellis!" is a bit more difficult.
This nickname makes No. 2 on the list because it puts the "fun" in "functional."
No. 1: "Megatron" Calvin Johnson
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Standing at 6'5" and weighing 236 pounds, Calvin Johnson is about as physically imposing as the fictional robotic villain he's named after. His nickname strikes fear into the heart of defensive backs around the NFL, which is more than I can say for his given name of Calvin.