There are a lot of dumb sports team names out there, but the NFL is home to some of the very worst. A good team name is often a reference to a city’s industry (Packers, Steelers) or history (49ers, Cowboys), but can also be a reference to local fauna (Dolphins) or even literary figures (Ravens). We’re not picky. But the following teams failed to follow these broad guidelines, and in most cases, failed miserably.
Honorable Mentions: Any team whose name is a riff on the local MLB team (the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions, for instance).
No 8: Cleveland Browns
It might seem stupid to name your team after your coach. But the thing is, that’s a lot more imaginative than the rest of the names on this list.
No 7: Arizona Cardinals
It hurts to have to point out that the NFL’s oldest currently-operating team has one of its dumbest names. The Cardinals are named after the color of the jerseys their first coach bought for the team (which were actually maroon at the time).
No 6: LA Rams
This team is named after its first general manager’s favorite college mascot (the Fordham Rams). It’s as simple as that. Luckily, we’ve got a suggestion for a change.
No 5: Carolina Panthers
Nobody knows exactly why Jerry Richardson named Charlotte’s football team the Panthers. We do know that he had his heart set on the name for years before the team’s first season, and had a vanity license plate labeled PNTHRS as early as 1989. He must just really like panthers.
No 4: Atlanta Falcons
At first, it seems like a cool idea for an NFL team to hold a contest among fans to come up with a team name. The problem with this strategy is that fans usually come up with generic cool-sounding names that have nothing to do with anything. The Thrashers, the Dragons, the Cyborgs, and so on. Maybe it’s not so bad that Atlanta’s team is named after a bird whose only connection to Georgia is that its winter range is the entire contiguous United States.
No 3: Jacksonville Jaguars
Same situation as the Falcons. Perhaps they deserve some bonus points for alliteration.
No 2: New York Giants
Why make your NFL team name a riff on the local baseball team (the Lions, the Cubs) when you can just use the exact same name as your pals on the diamond?
No 1: Houston Texans
And crowning the top of our list is the team named after the people who live in the state where its stadium is located. Yes, we know, the “Texans” moniker has a long history in the annals of pro football, but six redundancies don’t make a right. Bob McNair should’ve just gone with Apollos or Stallions. It’s sad, really.
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