The 40 Most Badass Team Names in Pro Sports

Chris ConnContributor IIIAugust 2, 2011

The 40 Most Badass Team Names in Pro Sports

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    Though they are not reflected on the stat sheet, team names are an indisputable elements of our sports culture.

    Often times, they have a specific geographic or historical significance, but in other instances they are simply dynamic beings, meant to exemplify the competitive spirit that is imperative to victory. 

    But some cities and regions have teams that are capable of much more destruction than others. I mean, let's be honest, the gridiron is the only place where a seahawk has the potential to take down a bear.

    So, without further ado, let's look at the 40 cities and regions with the roughest, toughest and most badass team names in professional sports. 

Dishonorable Mentions

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    These two cities don't crack the top 40.


    Teams: Montreal Canadiens

    Yeah, they can survive the cold, but Canada is widely regarded as a very passive country; not to mention this is a terribly unoriginal team name.


    Teams: Vancouver Canucks

    Considering that a canuck is just a slang word for a Canadian, please see above.

40. Utah

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    Teams: Utah Jazz

    Jazz is actually pretty good music, but it doesn't characterize a sports team well.

    When the New Orleans Jazz moved to Utah in 1979, the team decided to keep its formerly fitting name. Not only is jazz an unfit name for a Utah sports team, but it's not in the least bit intimidating.

    This terrible team name probably has Miles Davis turning in his grave.

39. Edmonton

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    Teams: Edmonton Oilers

    An oiler is someone who puts oil on various pieces of machinery, and while it may have been a grueling job 50 years ago, there isn't much appeal to the industry today.

38. Columbus

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    Teams: Columbus Blue Jackets

    Located roughly halfway between Cleveland and Cincinnati, Columbus is in a league of its own in terms of sports teams. Unfortunately, that's not a very good league.

    Some say the name comes from the word "bluejacket," which is an informal term describing a sailor in the navy. Others say it comes from Blue Jacket, a Shawnee war chief in the Ohio Country.

    However, Columbus' official website states:

    The Blue Jackets name was selected because the name pays homage to Ohio’s contributions to American history and the great pride and patriotism exhibited by its citizens, especially during the Civil War as both the state of Ohio and the city of Columbus were significantly influential on the Union Army. Ohio contributed more of its population to the Union Army than any other state, while many of the Blue Coats worn by the Union soldiers were manufactured in Columbus.

    Still, the ambiguity is confusing, and a blue jacket simply doesn't sound tough.

37. Baltimore

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    Teams: Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles

    Players like Cal Ripken Jr. and Ray Lewis are regarded as some of the hardest workers to ever play their respective sports, but the city known for its tough athletes doesn't rank too highly on this list.

    It would be one thing if these were large carnivorous birds, but both orioles and ravens are rather small omnivores.

36. Ottawa

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    Teams: Ottawa Senators

    Politicians aren't very badass; at least not anymore. Presidents like Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt certainly had their day in the sun, but you don't see Barack Obama or John Boehner kickin' ass and taking names.

    The Senators would have ranked even worse if it is wasn't for their awesome "Roman Senator" logo. Too bad the Canadian senate isn't nearly that cool. 

35. St. Louis

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    Teams: St. Louis Rams, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Cardinals

    St. Louis is a difficult one. Yeah, the Rams have a pretty good name, but the Blues and Cardinals are equally as terrible. When you balance them all together, the gateway to the Midwest compiles a rather weak series of team names.

34. Toronto

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    Teams: Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors

    Toronto essentially has the exact same problem as St. Louis. The Raptors have easily one of the most badass team names in professional sports, but the Maple Leafs have arguably the worst.

    Throw in the underwhelming Blue Jays, and you've officially ruined what could be a top-10 city.

33. Calgary

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    Teams: Calgary Flames

    These Canadian cities really have to step up their naming skills. 

    Though the Flames might seem awesome at first, the lack of specification really hurts. If the name were Flamethrowers or Flaming Arrows, Calgary would be in business, but when I think of flames, I think of candles, and candles just aren't badass.

    Maybe it's just me, but, until Calgary adds an incendiary adjective to its name, it's not moving up. 

32. Oklahoma City

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    Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder

    Thunder is only scary for a split second, but then it's quickly over. Oklahoma City would have been much better off with a team name that alludes to its desert climate or its Western history. I tend to lean toward something like the Oklahoma City Outlaws.

31. San Antonio

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    Teams: San Antonio Spurs

    Like Tim Duncan, Spurs is pretty boring. True, they allude to the western culture in Texas, but they're nothing without the cowboy.

30. Seattle and the Pacific Northwest

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    Teams: Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners, Portland Trail Blazers

    Though mariners and trailblazers may sound intriguing, they are really just fancy words for sailors and pioneers.

    Seahawks, on the other hand, are actually pretty badass.

    These aquatic birds of prey have long talons that allow them to swoop down and pick up fish.

29. Milwaukee/Wisconsin

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    Teams: Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks, Green Bay Packers

    No offense to the world champion Packers, but there's nothing too special about someone who packs things for a living. 

    Luckily for Wisconsin, there is something special about someone who can brew a good beer.

    Toss in some awesome antlers, and you've got a ticket into the top 30.

28. Los Angeles

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    Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Kings

    The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles following the 1957 season, and the Minneapolis Lakers followed shortly after in 1960. Not only are these names unrelated to their new city, but they aren't the slightest bit badass. A dodger is someone who uses cunning tricks or dishonest practices to avoid something unpleasant, and the Lakers are a reference to Minnesota's many lakes.

    Fortunately for the city of Los Angeles, it has a few more sports teams. While none of them have stellar names, the Clippers, Angels and Kings are all pretty decent. 

    Not great for a big city, but it could be worse. If L.A. gets a football team in the near future, look for it to move up this list.

27. Winnipeg

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    Teams: Winnipeg Jets

    They're back!

    Yeah, Winnipeg only has one team, but it is represented by a badass fighter jet. You can't argue with that.

26. Philadelphia

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    Teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia 76ers

    Like Los Angeles, Philadelphia is a big sports city whose team names are split; some are pretty terrible, but others are quite good.

    Both the Phillies and the 76ers are references to the city of Philadelphia, which, after watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, doesn't seem to be that great. 

    The Flyers have a decent name, but it's mainly the Eagles that save the City of Brotherly Love. 

25. New Jersey

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    Teams: New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Nets

    Though the New York Giants and New York Jets play their home games in New Jersey, the most densely populated state has only two professional sports teams. To make matters worse, this number will soon be cut in half, as the Nets have plans to relocate to Brooklyn in the near future.

    Luckily, the Garden State will be better off with the departure of the Nets. The Devils have one of the most badass names in professional sports, and with the weak-named Nets out of the argument, New Jersey has nowhere to go but up.

    Besides, this is probably my favorite SportsCenter commercial of all time. 

24. San Diego

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    Teams: San Diego Chargers, San Diego Padres

    Though it may sound boring, a padre is a military chaplain who advises officers on issues such as religion, ethics and morale.

    Plug in an electrical current, and San Diego charges its way into the top 25.  

23. Cincinnati

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    Teams: Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds

    A classic example of teams on opposite ends of the spectrum. If it weren't for the unimpressive Reds, the Bengals would be much higher.

22. Pittsburgh

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    Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Penguins

    Pittsburgh's team names aren't nearly as tough as the city's hard-nosed reputation.

    The Pirates, baseball's feel-good story of 2011, undeniably have the Steel City's most badass name. And, unless the Steelers change their team name to the James Harrisons, or the Penguins adopt this mascot, I don't see Pittsburgh moving up the list anytime soon.

21. Washington, D.C.

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    Teams: Washington Redskins, Washington Nationals, Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals

    Donovan McNabb's empty locker isn't the only thing that Philadelphia and Washington have in common, as D.C., like Philadelphia has two teams that are named after the city itself.

    Aside from the Nationals and Capitals, the District has the Redskins and the Wizards.

    I wouldn't classify these squads as a presidential upgrade, but they certainly give the nation's capital a substantial boost.

20. New York City

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    Teams: New York Yankees, New York Mets, New York Giants, New York Jets, New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders

    With seven professional sports teams, New York has more opportunities for badass names than any other city. Unfortunately, only about half of its names are effective.

    You can't blame the Giants, Jets and Rangers, as they carry the weight for the Big Apple, but when you have four names that relate to your city's geography, you're not going to make it very far.

19. Cleveland

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    Teams: Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Indians

    Cleveland comes in at 19 despite being home to the Browns, an organization with one of the most unappealing names in all of sports.

    If it weren't for the Cavaliers and Indians, who both have pretty badass names, Cleveland wouldn't be nearly as high on the list.

18. Indianapolis

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    Teams: Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers

    Like their quarterback, Indianapolis is all about number 18.

    Colts and pacers are both types of horses. Neither is as badass as a bronco, but they're both pretty good.

17. Kansas City

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    Teams: Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals

    Kansas City makes this list because both of its two professional sports teams are the leaders of their respective populations.

    They're not just American Indians or knights—they're chiefs and royals, and there's something badass to be said about being in charge.

16. Houston

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    Teams: Houston Texans, Houston Astros, Houston Rockets

    Houston touches down at No. 16 mainly because two of its three teams' names reference outer space. And if you don't think space travel is badass, you're out of this world.

    Toss in the Texans, and you've got yourself a top-20 trio. 

15. New Orleans

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    Teams: New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Hornets

    New Orleans' team names are interesting. One can kill you, the other can save you, and though they're different kinds of badass, they sure do make the Big Easy proud.

14. Denver

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    Teams: Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche

    Denver's teams are split right down the middle.

    On one hand, it has two teams in the Rockies and Nuggets that allude to Colorado's mountainous mining industry. But on the other hand, it has two teams in the Broncos and Avalanche that could do some serious harm. 

    I wouldn't take my chances with the Mile High City.

13. Boston

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    Teams: New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins

    Boston may be a bitt of a toss-up, but when you think of patriots as Pat Tillman and Samuel Adams instead of Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth, it becomes pretty understandable.

    Add in a ferocious bear, and the City of Champions comes in at lucky No. 13.

12. Minneapolis

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    Teams: Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Wild

    Minneapolis is another example of a four-teamed city whose names are divided.

    The Twins and Wild aren't anything special, but the Vikings and Timberwolves are each near the top of their respective leagues.

11. Phoenix

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    Teams: Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Coyotes

    As far as names go, the Cardinals aren't terrific, and the Suns are only mediocre; but the Diamondbacks and Coyotes are as good they get. 

    I'm not sure how much longer the Coyotes will be there, but until then, Phoenix has a pretty good foursome of team names.

10. Miami

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    Teams: Miami Dolphins, Florida Marlins, Miami Heat, Florida Panthers

    South Beach takes its talents to No. 10 on this countdown. 

    In fact, the Heat actually have Miami's weakest team name. Forget about LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The Dolphins, Marlins and Panthers are the real Big Three in South Beach.

9. Dallas

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    Teams: Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars

    Big D affirms the belief that you shouldn't mess with Texas. 

    With the Stars, Rangers, Cowboys and the world champion Mavericks, Dallas is a force to be reckoned with. 

8. Buffalo

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    Teams: Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres

    It may only have two teams, but that's all Buffalo needs. When you've got one team named after a deadly weapon and another named after one of the most badass cowboys of all time, you're a top-10 lock.

7. Detroit

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    Teams: Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings

    Nothing spells badass like two killer cats. The Lions and Tigers motor Detroit to No. 8 on this list. 

6. Atlanta

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    Teams: Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks

    If the Thrashers hadn't moved north, Atlanta certainly would have been a top-five city.

    But with two birds of prey and a Native American warrior, you're not going to fall too far.

5. Chicago

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    Teams: Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks

    Aside from the White Sox, Chicago has four pretty badass team names.

    The Bulls and Blackhawks are self explanatory, and though Cubs may sound cute, their mama and papa bears are only a matter of miles away at Soldier Field.

4. San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California

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    Teams: San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Raiders, Oakland Athletics, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, San Jose Sharks

    This one is a bit difficult to sort out. San Francisco and Oakland are both notable sports cities with multiple teams, but Sacramento and San Jose only have one team apiece.

    Luckily for Northern California, this power package is nearly impossible to split up. 

3. North Carolina

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    Teams: Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Bobcats, Carolina Hurricanes

    Given that each of its teams could easily kill me, Carolina comes in at No. 3. 

    Not only does Carolina have a pair of deadly felines, but it also has a climatic force that is capable of widespread destruction. Now, that is badass.

2. Tampa Bay and Northern Florida

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    Teams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Lightning, Orlando Magic, Jacksonville Jaguars

    Like Northern California, northern Florida is a bit of an enigma. Unlike Northern California, however, northern Florida has no weak team names (I'm a Harry Potter fan, so I naturally think that magic is awesome).

    By itself Tampa Bay has a solid trio of teams, but when you add in the Jaguars and Magic, no-Flo barely misses first place.

1. Tennessee

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    Teams: Nashville Predators, Tennessee Titans, Memphis Grizzlies

    Though none of its teams have ever won a title (with these names at least), Tennessee is the undeniable champion when it comes to having badass team names. 

    Not only does Tennessee have two animals that are capable of ripping any man to shreds, but it also has the Titans, who, according to Greek mythology, presided over the gods as the absolute rulers of the universe. 

    There are no weaknesses in Tennessee's team names as they compile a 100-percent pure package of badass.

All-Star Team

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    Here are the team names that would have made the All-Star team:

    Memphis Grizzlies

    Tennessee Titans

    Nashville Predators

    Jacksonville Jaguars

    Carolina/Florida Panthers

    San Jose Sharks

    Minnesota Timberwolves

    Cincinnati Bengals

    Toronto Raptors

    New Jersey Devils