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Worst Team Names (Big League)


OnWis97
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The recent unveiling of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, had me thinking about "worst names" for big-league teams (for me, MLB, NHL, NBA, NFL).  Some teams have bad nicknames (like Wild) others blow it on the "place" (Golden State).  

 

I tend to prefer city names to state names (ironic, being from the founding area of state names).  But I am used to them and that usually won't cause a team to make my "worst name" list.

 

(NOTE: for purposes of this, I am not factoring in my feelings on Native names; though I promise the Washington NFL team would top the list)

 

  • NHL
    • Minnesota Wild.  The worst non-racist big league nickname ever.
    • Vegas Golden Knights.  "Vegas" is too gimmicky.  
    • Tampa Bay Lightning.  As singular names go, it's not as bad as some.  But still. (Also, a note on "Tampa Bay."  Thanks to sports, I grew up thinking it was the city name.  Now we're used to it, I guess.  Ideally, they'd not name themselves after a region of Florida but I did list any teams from there for that reason.
    • Colorado Avalanche.  Singular.
    • Florida Panthers.  Actually a decent name...given the Florida Panther, Miami Panthers does not work that well.  But since there was already a team in the state, use of "Florida" bugs me.
    • Mighty Ducks of Anaheim would have sat atop this list (even above Wild) but Anaheim Ducks is fine by me.
  • NBA
    • Golden State Warriors.  I am used to this one but it's still awful.  When I was a kid I thought it was a college team.  I know they are stuck...don't want to go "California" because of the other teams.  Don't want to go "SF" because of Oakland and vice versa.  But "Golden State" essentially is "California."  Hey, maybe the Minnesota Wild should have been the "North Star State Wild."  That would have been a hell of a nod to the old team.
    • Orlando Magic.  A nod to the Magic Kingdom?  Singular names are bad.
    • Miami Heat.  Not as bad as Wild but not good.
    • Utah Jazz:  I like that Utah kept the name (traceable history and all) but it was a bad name in New Orleans...even if it did fit better.
    • OKC Thunder.  Singular.  Also, this is the one instance I think the state name works better...as the only big leage team in the state, I am suprised they did not do this.
  • NFL
    • Houston Texans.  Maybe if they were Texas's only team.  
    • NFL is not to bad...considered the Patriots.  Naming after a region is maybe a bit worse than a state.  I suppose since they've had this name since before I was born, I am desensitized.  
  • MLB
    • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  No explanation necessary.  Plus (correct me if I am wrong) they used it as a loophole to be "LA" after agreeing with the City of Anaheim to be "Anaheim"  and taking the City's money.  That makes it worse.
    • That's about it for MLB.  I considered putting Tampa Bay Rays since what type of "ray" they are is unclear and it's just sort of an "abrubt" name.  Old-school names like "Sox" and "Athletics" get a pass for being old school.

 

The three worst are bolded. Vegas is close to making the cut.

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1 hour ago, OnWis97 said:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  No explanation necessary.

 

Actually, a great deal of explanation is necessary.  

The functional name is "Los Angeles Angels", almost always rendered in speech as "L.A. Angels".  The inclusion of the "of Anaheim" part was a way for new ownership to get around a restriction that the previous ownership had unwisely agreed upon. 

The team's name should always have been "Los Angeles Angels" (I say this even though I grew up with "California Angels").  The full "...of Anaheim" name was a clever way of returning the team to its proper name while still fufilling the terms of a contractual agreement which the current ownership had had no part in crafting.

I agree with your condemnation of singular names.  The only one of them which has ever passed the stink test was "New Orleans Jazz"; and that one has been ruined by the team's move.  

I also agree with the hate-boner that you have for the silly "Golden State" as a location name, and with your dislike of the regional name "Tampa Bay".   But I would not exempt the location name "New England" from denunciation.  The Patriots and the Revolution should be "Boston".

And I would come down much harder on state names as location names.  There's no good reason that teams can't be called "Denver" or "Phoenix" or "Minneapolis" (suck it up, St. Paul) or "Dallas" (likewise, Ft. Worth), even if they are not in the city limits of those places.  All places which have a team are going to be within the cultural orbit of some city; and it's that city's name which the team should carry.  

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39 minutes ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

I also agree with the hate-boner that you have for the silly "Golden State" as a location name, and with your dislike of the regional name "Tampa Bay".   But I would not exempt the location name "New England" from denunciation.  The Patriots and the Revolution should be "Boston".

And I would come down much harder on state names as location names.  There's no good reason that teams can't be called "Denver" or "Phoenix" or "Minneapolis" (suck it up, St. Paul) or "Dallas" (likewise, Ft. Worth), even if they are not in the city limits of those places.  All places which have a team are going to be within the cultural orbit of some city; and it's that city's name which the team should carry.  

 

Foxboro's way too outside the city to have the team be called "Boston".  The Patriots are within the cultural orbit of the region...so New England works fine.  

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7 minutes ago, WSU151 said:

Foxboro's way too outside the city to have the team be called "Boston".  The Patriots are within the cultural orbit of the region...so New England works fine.  

 

When I measure it, I find that Gillette Stadium is about 15 miles away from Boston's city limits (obviously a bit farther from the centre of town).  By contrast, Angels Stadium is twice as far from the L.A. city limits; and this does not stop the team from being named for Los Angeles.  Similarly, the Detroit Pistons' home in Auburn Hills is about 25 miles from the Detroit city limits.

The point is that a major city's sphere of influence is huge; and a team playing in a suburb or in a neighbouring small city should righfully be named for the major city which dominates the region.

Also, no one would accept the regional names "Mid-Atlantic" or "Southwest" as locality names for teams.  This shows why "New England" is a bad one.

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Foxborough is a little further from Boston than East Rutherford is from New York City, or Arlington from Dallas, but it's closer than Santa Clara to San Francisco. To be precise, it's a little over 21 miles as the crow flies from Gillette Stadium to downtown Boston. Much less than the 35 miles from Levi's Stadium to San Francisco, and only slightly more than the 17 miles from AT&T Stadium to downtown Dallas.

 

I think it's consistent with the Jets, Giants, 49ers, Cowboys, Bills, Dolphins, etc., to call them the "Boston Patriots." They're unquestionably in the Boston metro area, and they're "Boston's team" in the NFL. I personally hate the "New England" moniker. The Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins can all play under the Boston name and have fanbases across New England - so can the Patriots.

 

And as it regards the Golden State Warriors, the Pats actually tie in there more than one would think. When the Pats moved to Foxborough in 1971, their owner wanted to rename them the "Bay State Patriots." The NFL, wisely recognizing that as a terrible name, forbid it from happening. So instead, the Pats renamed themselves to "New England," which was more acceptable to the league, and the rest is history. I just wish the NBA had a similar view toward the "Golden State" moniker.

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30 minutes ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

When I measure it, I find that Gillette Stadium is about 15 miles away from Boston's city limits (obviously a bit farther from the centre of town).  

 

Why are you measuring it and not using a resource on the internet?

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4 minutes ago, kroywen said:

Foxborough is a little further from Boston than East Rutherford is from New York City, or Arlington from Dallas, but it's closer than Santa Clara to San Francisco. To be precise, it's a little over 21 miles as the crow flies from Gillette Stadium to downtown Boston. Much less than the 35 miles from Levi's Stadium to San Francisco, and only slightly more than the 17 miles from AT&T Stadium to downtown Dallas.

 

I think it's consistent with the Jets, Giants, 49ers, Cowboys, Bills, Dolphins, etc., to call them the "Boston Patriots." They're unquestionably in the Boston metro area, and they're "Boston's team" in the NFL. I personally hate the "New England" moniker. The Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins can all play under the Boston name and have fanbases across New England - so can the Patriots.

 

And as it regards the Golden State Warriors, the Pats actually tie in there more than one would think. When the Pats moved to Foxborough in 1971, their owner wanted to rename them the "Bay State Patriots." The NFL, wisely recognizing that as a terrible name, forbid it from happening. So instead, the Pats renamed themselves to "New England," which was more acceptable to the league, and the rest is history. I just wish the NBA had a similar view toward the "Golden State" moniker.

 

The Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins all play in the city.  Foxboro is an hour and a half drive from the city, and Foxboro really isn't a suburb.  It's pretty rural..  

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2 hours ago, OnWis97 said:

Minnesota Wild.  The worst non-racist big league nickname ever.

Easily. I tend to cut them some slack though, because the logo set and uniforms tend to be really strong. The name sucks, but the identity package as a whole is great.

 

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Vegas Golden Knights.  "Vegas" is too gimmicky.

Agreed. I'll go to bat for the "Knights" name though.

 

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Tampa Bay Lightning.  As singular names go, it's not as bad as some.  But still. (Also, a note on "Tampa Bay."  Thanks to sports, I grew up thinking it was the city name.  Now we're used to it, I guess.  Ideally, they'd not name themselves after a region of Florida but I did list any teams from there for that reason.

I would have gone with "Tampa Bay Thunder Bolts." It still gets you that lightning imagery but avoids the singular name. It also gives you neat "TB TB" repetition to play with for branding.

 

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Colorado Avalanche.  Singular.

I would say this is the single worst identity in the league. Singular name plus unimpressive logo and templated uniforms they could have avoided if they had wanted to.

 

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Florida Panthers.  Actually a decent name...given the Florida Panther, Miami Panthers does not work that well.  But since there was already a team in the state, use of "Florida" bugs me.

I give a pass on the "state name despite another team in the state" sin when the state/team name combo is actually a thing. Like "Florida Panthers" and "Texas Rangers."

 

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Mighty Ducks of Anaheim would have sat atop this list (even above Wild) but Anaheim Ducks is fine by me.

Easily. I've come around to the Ducks using part or all of their pre-black/gold/orange identity, but the one thing I insist needs to stay in the dustbin of history is the name "Mighty Ducks of Anaheim."

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5 minutes ago, Ice_Cap said:

.

 

I give a pass on the "state name despite another team in the state" sin when the state/team name combo is actually a thing. Like "Florida Panthers" and "Texas Rangers."

 

 

Oh, I totally forgot about the Rangers, who came in several years after the Astros.  

 

That's pretty much the same issue. While I hate state names when there's already a team in the state, they both found about as good of a loophole as you can.

 

I guess the worst offender there is when the original LA Angels changed to "California."

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The reason for the Golden State Warriors was back when they moved from SF they had an idea to be "California's team" and play in several cities. This ended up not panning out, and other than playing some games in San Diego their first season they stuck to Oakland. There was some talk about them being renamed to "Oakland Warriors" after their 1-year sojourn in San Jose during the 1996-7 season, but the idea was quietly dropped.

 

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38 minutes ago, WSU151 said:

 

The Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins all play in the city.  Foxboro is an hour and a half drive from the city, and Foxboro really isn't a suburb.  It's pretty rural..  

It's 21 miles as the crow flies, and it's about a 35 minute drive without traffic. Not really any different from the Cowboys, Jets, or Giants in relation to their "home cities." And certainly, much closer than the 49ers to San Francisco or the Pistons to Detroit.

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IMO, all singular team names sound bad. I can't think of a single one that I like. Even New Orleans Jazz isn't great. A singular noun, or worse yet, an adjective ("Wild"), really shouldn't be the name of a team of people. It's inherently contradictory.

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3 minutes ago, kroywen said:

IMO, all singular team names sound bad. I can't think of a single one that I like. Even New Orleans Jazz isn't great. A singular noun, or worse yet, an adjective ("Wild"), really shouldn't be the name of a team of people. 

 

It won't be long before we have adverbs: the Cleveland Very; the Seattle Furthermore.

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4 hours ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

And I would come down much harder on state names as location names.  There's no good reason that teams can't be called "Denver" or "Phoenix" or "Minneapolis" (suck it up, St. Paul) or "Dallas" (likewise, Ft. Worth), even if they are not in the city limits of those places.  All places which have a team are going to be within the cultural orbit of some city; and it's that city's name which the team should carry.  

 

Though in this case, the team name should be St. Paul Wild (suck it up, Minneapolis). Living in St. Paul and working in Minneapolis, I can see the justification for teams wanting to not alienate one city or the other. The city rivalry is not as heated as it was 100 years ago, but the two cities have unique enough identities that having a team called the Minneapolis Vikings would lose some support in St. Paul or likewise the St. Paul Wild would lose some support among Minneapolitans. I know many St. Paul residents would have a hard time calling a team named Minneapolis "our team."

 

I'm like team names that pay homage to something by incorporate both place and nickname--.e.g, the Texas Rangers, Florida Panthers, Baltimore Orioles, Buffalo Bills. But then, I also have no problem using a state name instead of a city name. It's regions like New England or Golden State that always seem odd to me.

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4 minutes ago, hormone said:

This may have been stated, but lightning is singular and plural.

 

No, it isn't.  

Examples of nouns that are both singular and plural are "deer" and "sheep": "Those deer are beautiful"; "There are three sheep standing over there."

But the noun "lightning" is exclusively a singular form.  One cannot say "Those lightning are dangerous" or "Three lightning have been seen tonight".

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4 minutes ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

No, it isn't.  

Examples of nouns that are both singular and plural are "deer" and "sheep": "Those deer are beautiful"; "There are three sheep standing over there."

But the noun "lightning" is exclusively a singular form.  One cannot say "Those lightning are dangerous" or "Three lighting have been seen tonight".

Lightning and thunder are both uncountable nouns, but there are two of them, i.e. it is possible to count uncountable-noun words. For this reason we use the plural form are: Lightning and thunder are both natural phenomena

 

thats what google told me :)

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