NFL Team Name Power Rankings, Part 2

 Here’s Part 1 in case you missed it.

I know all of you went to bed last night frustrated that Part 2 of the SpreeGoogs NFL Team Name Power Rankings hadn’t been published yet. Well settle down, ladies and gentlemen, because coming at you right now are the best 16 team names in the NFL. Let’s do this.

The AFC West
16. Kansas City Chiefs
15. Denver Broncos
14. San Diego Chargers
13. Oakland Raiders

So I have a confession. When I was drafting the order for this list, I might have rejiggered it a little bit to organize the AFC West teams into one category. For example, the Chiefs could have been included in the “Should Be Renamed The Griffins” category from Part 1 since they also are tied to the Native American team name debate (albeit not quite as much since it is not a derogatory term). But unfortunately, they don’t have anyone on their team named Griffin, much less a franchise savior like Robert Griffin III. The Broncos could have maybe been in the “Animal Names That Are Awesome” category that you’ll read about shortly. But hey, when all of the teams in the division were floating roughly in the same area, I decided to group them as one big happy family since they are so used to being together anyway.

You would think the logic for naming a franchise in Kansas City the Chiefs would be as simple as looking back at history and seeing that Native Americans previously lived in the area. But apparently it goes deeper than that. Owner Lamar Hunt might have been influenced by the fact that when he moved the team there, the mayor of Kansas City was nicknamed “The Chief” and promised him that certain attendance quotas would be met. I merely connect dots, my friends.

Denver’s name was chosen by a fan vote, but also was influenced by the fact that the city had a baseball team named the Broncos back in 1921. The name is very apropos since I’ve been to Colorado and there are a lot of horses. I downgrade it because people can call them “The Donkeys” (myself included), which as you might be able to tell is not as cool as the Broncos.

My wife (a loyal San Diego fan, much to my chagrin) argued for me to include the Chargers high on the list. Why? “Because.” Thanks babe. Their name does allow for a cool logo, those awesome throwback powder blue uniforms and probably the best disco sports team theme song that will ever be created (below). But the name was reportedly chosen because the owner liked the “Charge!” bugle cry that was played in the Los Angeles Coliseum when the Chargers played there in the early 1960s before moving to San Diego. Minus points for using something that Los Angeles OWNS as your identity.

Now for the Raiders. You’re all thinking “Al Davis selected that name, didn’t he?” I thought the same thing, but apparently we’re all wrong. Owner Chet Soda held a naming contest back in 1960 and the winner was the “Senors.” Let me repeat that. THE SENORS. As in the Spanish word for men. Excuse me while my mind is blown for just one second thinking about the fact that the Oakland Raiders were almost the Oakland Senors. The city protested because the name was dumb and the team brass realized that it wouldn’t be good for newspaper type since the press couldn’t print the tilde over the “n” to convey the proper Spanish feel. So, Soda changed it to one of the other finalists, the Raiders. Enough of the history lesson and let me get to the reason why I ranked the name here – the Raiders ended up being the perfect name for the persona that Al Davis wanted his team to convey, but I can’t rank it any higher because of how the fans use that persona in detrimental, obnoxious and dangerous ways.

Animal Names That Are Awesome
12. Atlanta Falcons
11. Seattle Seahawks
10. Chicago Bears

We’ve established that animal names are aplenty in the NFL, but these are the cream of the crop. Happy to explain why.

The Falcons held a fan competition to name the team, and the winning suggestion was “The falcon… never drops its prey. It is deadly and has great sporting tradition.” Sold me.

The SEAttle SEAhawks provide about the purest form of alliteration you could possibly ask for in a team name. Also, the name is representative of the osprey, a fish-eating hawk that resides in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve never seen an osprey, but I could imagine myself chilling on Whidbey Island off the shore of Seattle looking at the Pacific, just watching them swoop down and capture fish to eat. That sounds majestic. Only minus points for the name Seahawks come from the fact that they could have been named the Lumberjacks (a suggestion in their naming contest), which would have been the single greatest sports mascot of all time.

The only explanation I need for the Bears being ranked at No. 10 is this:

Just Really Appropriate 

9. New York Jets
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
7. New Orleans Saints
6. Baltimore Ravens
5. Green Bay Packers
4. Minnesota Vikings

The explanations here should be relatively quick because all of the team names just make sense. Can’t tell you how refreshing it was starting to write this section since I prefer to be pithy with my words.

The New York Jets originally played in Shea Stadium, which is near La Guardia Airport. Nuff said.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were named after Pittsburgh Steel, a steel mill in the city that provided the perfect inspiration for what ended up being a blue-collar persona of a team. The coolest part is that one of the guys who suggested it, Joe Santoni, received a pair of season tickets in 1940 for his help with naming the team and then renewed them every year until he died 63 years later.

The New Orleans Saints are an ode to the song “The Saints Go Marching In,” a popular jazz song that aligns with New Orleans culture, while the fleur-de-lis is a tribute to the city’s French roots. I don’t know about you though, but I still will always be slightly annoyed by “WHO DAT.” Just bad English.

The Ravens are an ode to the Edgar Allan Poe poem of the same name. Poe lived in Baltimore, which made it an all too obvious fit. Interestingly enough, all of the clauses in Poe’s poem end in “Never more” or “nothing more.” The people of Baltimore have to hope this does not allude to Super Bowl rings.

Earl Lambaeu had a packing company that sponsored the Green Bay football team since its inception. It only made sense they were called the Packers.

And now for my favorite of this category, the Minnesota Vikings. After watching a few episodes of the History Channel’s original series Vikings, I decided I wanted to be a present-day Viking. How could I do this? Move to Minnesota (since that’s where a large amount of people of Scandinavian descent settled), grow a huge beard and start wielding an axe or javelin on the reg. I could also try out for the Vikings during training camp next year, but then I imagined trying to tackle Adrian Peterson and I thought better of it.

Team-Naming Perfection
3. Dallas Cowboys
2. San Francisco 49ers
1. New England Patriots

I separate these three teams from the ones in the previous category because they not only are extremely appropriate, but they go a step further in being decidedly ‘Merican. The Cowboys speak to our inner desire to go ride a horse and lasso something, the 49ers our desire to get money, get paid + Manifest Destiny and the Patriots our desire to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. As much as I dislike these teams in real-life, I have to respect them for being so American.

If your team was part of the top 16, share this with your friends on Facebook and Twitter to brag about it. Thanks for reading everyone.

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