Some guy named Bill once said claimed “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” but some sure don’t sound as good. Being saddled with a terrible name is tough for anybody, but when it happens to sports franchises it’s usually self-inflicted. Sure the desire to not select another ferocious, predatory animal is commendable but sometimes it’s better to travel with the pack. Here’s a look at some teams that would have done well to heed that advice:
San Diego Chargers
What exactly is a charger anyway? Like a cell phone charger? As the team was founded in 1960, I’m going to say no. But so what is it, some kind of Dodge sponsorship tie-in? The logo is no help. A lightning bolt; I know lightening bolts, but that’s not the team’s name. Maybe it’s not a lightning bolt. Is it an electric charge, do those look like lightning? Or is it that the team is always charging? Shouldn’t they use a bull as the logo then? I know the team started in LA, so you’re kind of off the hook San Diegans, but still, thought you guys were classier than that.
New York Knicks
How many people have found themselves asking or being asked ‘What’s a knick, anyway?’ and either being explained or explaining or Wikipedia-ing to discover that it’s a truncated form Knickerbocker, only not the pants (which would be in keeping with teams named for the color of their socks) but rather an antiquated term for a New Yorker. So basically, the team is the New York New Yorkers. Ridiculous! The only thing more ridiculous would be naming a team The Philadelphia Phillies or The Los Angeles Angels.
The team was originally called the Colt 45’s which I guess wasn’t politically correct or too violent or something, but at least it was recognizable. Is ‘astro’ even a word? Spell check says no and Autocorrect ignores it, so scientifically speaking, no it is not a word. I understand that it’s a vaguely space-y word as Houston is home to NASA, but I’ve always felt like it was missing a ‘naut’ on the end I think. Because I know what an Astronaut is. But an Astro? Inventing new words for your team puts a lot of pressure on them as they are now literally defining what this word will mean. Case in point, an ‘astro’ is a high-payroll, under-performing baseball team.
How many guys named Bill live in Buffalo anyway? And why did they get a football team named after them? What did they do, and how can I get a team named after me? Okay, fine, the name is a reference to Buffalo Bill Cody who hunted buffaloes (an odd choice really), though you would never be able to tell to look at that flying Buffalo logo. I get it Buffalonians, it’s hard when your city is already a great sports nickname (though the Buffalo Buffalos might be a tad on the nose) But seriously the bills? In an economically depressed city? Feels like a slap in the face.
Sure it would seem that this name is just natural, a team without a formal nickname wearing brown gets labelled ‘the Browns’ only that’s not what happened. What happened was the team’s original owner, in a megalomaniacal flash of genius, decided to name the team after himself: Paul Brown. It was just shear luck the team isn’t the Cleveland Krusinskis or the Cleveland Galluicis or the Cleveland Fitzgeralds. Plus they don’t even have a logo it’s just a helmet. Also let’s face it, Brown as a dominant color for athletic uniforms has fallen way out of fashion, assuming it was ever in fashion.
Sorry Cleveland but you’ve got no one to blame but yourself for making this list twice. Not only is ‘Indians’ a misnomer—India is a long way from America—but it’s also not the preferred nomenclature. But even if we set that aside, and added the fact that the team chose the name in a backward attempt to honor a former player who was Native American, the Chief Wahoo name and logo ruin any chances for redemption (seriously Cleveland, Chief Wahoo?). Only Washington, who saw your ‘Indians’ and raised you ‘Redskins’ is worse.