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Should a team's identity be "intimidating"?

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This was something that bugged me when the Hornets became the Pelicans. All people seemed to say was how nobody was going to be afraid of a pelican. But it fits so much better with New Orleans. It's a strong local connection. And it's at least somewhat creative.

You're right, that's nonsense.

If these Pelicans start stacking up triple-doubles, then opponents will start fearing them soon enough.

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A team name should have regional significance.

While I agree that a team name doesn't have to be intimidating I don't think it *has* to have regional significance. There's nothing regional about the names "Chicago Bears" and "Pittsburgh Pirates" but they work.
Yeah but in the case with the Pirates and many other teams with a long history, they're names grew organically, they didn't just pick a generic name. They were called pirates for supposedly stealing players from another team, and so they adopted it as the team nickname. The Detroit Tigers were the Wolverines, but were nicknamed tigers because of their striped socks and eventually made the change. A lot of the "generic", non-regional names in sports are these old teams whose names were chosen for specific reasons. So it's not really all that dissimilar from regional names.

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A team name should have regional significance.

While I agree that a team name doesn't have to be intimidating I don't think it *has* to have regional significance. There's nothing regional about the names "Chicago Bears" and "Pittsburgh Pirates" but they work.
Yeah but in the case with the Pirates and many other teams with a long history, they're names grew organically, they didn't just pick a generic name. They were called pirates for supposedly stealing players from another team, and so they adopted it as the team nickname. The Detroit Tigers were the Wolverines, but were nicknamed tigers because of their striped socks and eventually made the change. A lot of the "generic", non-regional names in sports are these old teams whose names were chosen for specific reasons. So it's not really all that dissimilar from regional names.

I found the Bears name to be slapped on, tbh

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The only two nicknames that have ever had a slight leaning toward an invocatoin of intrigue or intimidation are the Raiders and Barbarians RFC. Their nicknames invoke invasion and hostility yet are abstract enough to not be completely over the top. Al Davis also did an excellent job of creating an on field product that really played to the Raiders brand (life imitating art). It worked amazingly well in the 70's but now the mystique has evolved into a reputation of a bumbling laughing stock. The Barbarians have always had this mystique due to their exclusivity and rare appearances as a vagabond all star side.

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I think so. We get too caught up here in how a team looks in their uniforms and not enough about how the team feels while they're wearing the uniforms. An intimidating identity gives players a bit of swagger and confidence, things that can only help their performance. Plus, athletes for the most part--whether they be male or female--don't want to wear something that people would say is "nice" or "beautiful" (two words people here have used to describe good sets teams wear or good concepts in the Concepts section). Remember, most athletes are between 14-35 years old and are edgier, more aggressive and more competitive than some of us civilians,and the sports they play are also super competitive.

I won't say fans also want intimidating designs, but they surely don't want to be laughed at by rival fans for their team's uniforms or name being too cute. Plus, like the athletes an intimidating team identity can give us fans a bit of swagger and confidence when we put on a team's jersey, cap or t-shirt.

Just like with anything else you wear the way you look can give you a certain attitude and feeling, and exude attitudes and feelings about you. If you wear something intimidating it'll make you feel like an intimidator and have people believing you are an intimidator. If you wear something plain, you feel plain and others believe you're plain. You could also wear something nice, but I'm not sure if you want to be taken for a nice person or if you want to be in a nice state of mind when you're competing. It's all about the attitude you want to give off.

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Look where you find the emphasis on "intimidating" team names and it is usually low-rent fly-by-night organizations in sports with a high testosterone/steroid usage. Look at your semi-pro football or the wrestling-inspired XFL league and you find the steroid-rage names like Maniax, Enforcers, Hitmen or even worse the -z teams like Destroyerz, Ballaz, etc. It is a sure sign of a league that has no money and is run by washed up HS athletes that they have nothing but "tough" or hyper-patriotic nicknames. A well-financed league, run by businessmen doesn't fall for that macho BS.

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I think so. We get too caught up here in how a team looks in their uniforms and not enough about how the team feels while they're wearing the uniforms. An intimidating identity gives players a bit of swagger and confidence, things that can only help their performance. Plus, athletes for the most part--whether they be male or female--don't want to wear something that people would say is "nice" or "beautiful" (two words people here have used to describe good sets teams wear or good concepts in the Concepts section). Remember, most athletes are between 14-35 years old and are edgier, more aggressive and more competitive than some of us civilians,and the sports they play are also super competitive.

I won't say fans also want intimidating designs, but they surely don't want to be laughed at by rival fans for their team's uniforms or name being too cute. Plus, like the athletes an intimidating team identity can give us fans a bit of swagger and confidence when we put on a team's jersey, cap or t-shirt.

Just like with anything else you wear the way you look can give you a certain attitude and feeling, and exude attitudes and feelings about you. If you wear something intimidating it'll make you feel like an intimidator and have people believing you are an intimidator. If you wear something plain, you feel plain and others believe you're plain. You could also wear something nice, but I'm not sure if you want to be taken for a nice person or if you want to be in a nice state of mind when you're competing. It's all about the attitude you want to give off.

That may be slightly true for the under 25 crowd but you know what really motivates players? Cash Money.

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This was something that bugged me when the Hornets became the Pelicans. All people seemed to say was how nobody was going to be afraid of a pelican. But it fits so much better with New Orleans. It's a strong local connection. And it's at least somewhat creative.

I think that was a knee-jerk reaction to all the hype about getting something that was more representative of New Orleans than "Hornets"...and then coming out with "Pelicans". While "Pelicans" is local, it really sounds like a name you'd come up with if you just looked at Louisiana's flag & list of state symbols, and nothing else. In that sense, it's terribly generic and rather disappointing, and doesn't quite fit the NBA's "hip, urban" image.

(Fun fact: I've lived in Louisiana all my life, and have only just recently seen pelicans. A gang of them camped out at LSU's lakes a year or two back.)

As for a team's identity having to be "intimidating" or not, all that matters is the execution of the identity, and nothing else. There are tons of professional sports names that aren't "intimidating" in the least bit, but they have strong identities nevertheless.

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Yeah...I have a hard time believing that little leaguers, much less college and pro athletes are motivated by the intimidation of their team names.

So my answer is "no". Intimidating team names are not necessarily bad (see Lions, Tigers, Bears, etc.) but neither are names like Penguins, Blue Jays, Maple Leafs, etc.

More importantly, regardless of name, teams should not make their logo/identity "intimidating" looking at all costs. Imagine the Texas longhorns removing the silhouette from their helmet in favor of a cartoony head with a snarl, big teeth, and a clinched fist. Some of those proposed Detroit Lions logos were supposed to look ferocious. I am glad they kept the essence of bubbles. And I don't think they'd have won a super bowl by changing it. The most "intimidating" logos tend to just wreak of "minor league."

So no..."majestic", "regional", and "random" names are needed to balance out the "intimidating" names.

Yeah, the Maple Leafs are on quite a drought, but so are the Lions.

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I think it is more important to have a name that isn't "soft," than to have one that is intimidating.

Here is South Dakota State's mascot:

83616602008.gif

Call the team Jackrabbits and it is a fine identity. If you call the team the Bunnies, then it is less so.

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I'd say not at all, a lot of the best franchises in sports don't have particularly intimidating names- Packers, Yankees, Cardinals, Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, Canadians, Red Wings, Maple Leafs. I personally am more of a fan of teams with names related to location, work, or something else non-generic. Also, a lot of newer teams try using intimidating nicknames to seem legitimate (possibly)- Panthers, Jaguars, Grizzlies, Predators, Hurricanes, etc.

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Also, a lot of newer teams try using intimidating nicknames to seem legitimate (possibly)- Panthers, Jaguars, Grizzlies, Predators, Hurricanes, etc.

I think you just hit the nail on the head - "intimidating" nicknames are really just a modern trend, and like all trends, they should be taken in moderation and judged on a case-by-case basis (some work, some are blatant pandering).

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I think a lot of it has to do with when the team was established. Generally, older teams (Yankees, Packers, Lakers) have names that grew out of a regional identity or nickname. Many times, team names were even "conferred" upon the team by media types or other outsiders. I know in the case of Nebraska, "Cornhuskers" was a clever nickname that reporters started using for a few years before the university formally adopted it. Same goes for Oregon, who were originally called the "Webfeet" or "Webfoots" before settling on Ducks.

Teams established in more modern times (or teams rebranded in modern times) tend to pick an edgier, more aggressive name to try and stand out. Just look at the XFL, for crying out loud. There was never a league more in touch with their era of pop culture than the XFL (XXXXTREEEMEEEE! NEON!)

Nobody is going to name a new team Red Sox unless it's somehow tied to Boston or maybe is a Little League team borrowing the name. But an MLB expansion team might be expected to be named along the lines of Cobras, Panthers, Wolfpack, etc. - things that all evoke a very visceral response from the audience.

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I think so. We get too caught up here in how a team looks in their uniforms and not enough about how the team feels while they're wearing the uniforms. An intimidating identity gives players a bit of swagger and confidence, things that can only help their performance. Plus, athletes for the most part--whether they be male or female--don't want to wear something that people would say is "nice" or "beautiful" (two words people here have used to describe good sets teams wear or good concepts in the Concepts section). Remember, most athletes are between 14-35 years old and are edgier, more aggressive and more competitive than some of us civilians,and the sports they play are also super competitive.

I'd say players for the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals have plenty of swagger and feel plenty competitive despite the lack of an agressive nickname or identity.

The three most successful NHL teams? The Canadiens, the Maple Leafs, and the Red Wings. Nothing agressive or intimidating there. What about the two most successful NBA teams? The Celtics and Lakers. Again, not agressive or intimidating.

Plus, like the athletes an intimidating team identity can give us fans a bit of swagger and confidence when we put on a team's jersey, cap or t-shirt.

I can't speak for anyone else but myself, but I never wear a cap or jersey or t-shirt to get "swagger." I do it to support the team. The swagger comes if they win. Which isn't dependent on the name.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you're a fan of the Nashville Predators. A team whose logo is a robotic sabretooth tiger. And they're playing my favourite team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. A team whose logo and name is a maple leaf. A leaf that's most memorable when it's dying. Your super agressive team name and logo won't mean anything if my team named after patriotic foliage wins.

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There's nothing intimidating about a dolphin nor the colors orange or aqua, but I'd say some of the guys who used to wear those colors and a dolphin sticker on the sides of their helmets were...

jim_kiick_1972_09_01.jpg

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There's nothing intimidating about a dolphin nor the colors orange or aqua, but I'd say some of the guys who used to wear those colors and a dolphin sticker on the sides of their helmets were...

jim_kiick_1972_09_01.jpg

Well just think how much more intimidating they would be if they wore all black uniforms! I bet they'd be more perfect in '72. They simply didn't realize their potential because their colors and mascot scored a -8 on the Swagger Scale.

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I'd say players for the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals have plenty of swagger and feel plenty competitive despite the lack of an agressive nickname or identity.

The three most successful NHL teams? The Canadiens, the Maple Leafs, and the Red Wings. Nothing agressive or intimidating there. What about the two most successful NBA teams? The Celtics and Lakers. Again, not agressive or intimidating.

I can't speak for anyone else but myself, but I never wear a cap or jersey or t-shirt to get "swagger." I do it to support the team. The swagger comes if they win. Which isn't dependent on the name.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you're a fan of the Nashville Predators. A team whose logo is a robotic sabretooth tiger. And they're playing my favourite team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. A team whose logo and name is a maple leaf. A leaf that's most memorable when it's dying. Your super agressive team name and logo won't mean anything if my team named after patriotic foliage wins.

We'll have to agree to disagree on these two points. First off, MLB is probably a bad example because there aren't a lot of intimidating looks in that sport. The only two teams that come anywhere close to intimidating would be the Pirates and the White Sox. The Cardinals have nice uniforms but if I played for the Cardinals I couldn't really say I'd feel that much more motivated if I were to put the uniform on.

As for the second part, keep in mind that you don't have to buy the merchandise to support the team and that you don't have to wear the merchandise to sporting events exclusively. If none of my teams have a good look I'd still buy tickets and watch the games, but I'd buy zero merchandise. I'd just wear some other shirt in team colors to games. I also think wanting to wear team gear away from the game is also important. That's why despite me not being a fan of theirs I own a Raiders cap and a Raiders jersey.

My point about getting a sense of swagger from team gear still stands. It's kind of like a suit: whenever I wear a suit I gain a bit of confidence. Wearing suits helped me feel more confident when I went on job interviews and helps me now whenever I give a presentation or have a big meeting. The same way suits made me feel at work or with something important, I want my team's gear to help me feel more aggressive and intimidating whenever I'm at the games, or maybe away from games like when I'm at the gym.

Interestingly enough, you didn't quote the last paragraph. Maybe there's a reason for that. I was taught by my parents and some of my teachers that how you look and what you do will reflect upon you, so you'd better make sure the image you're projecting is the one you want to be known by. Also, being self-aware of your image could also affect your attitude and your demeanor.

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There's nothing intimidating about a dolphin nor the colors orange or aqua, but I'd say some of the guys who used to wear those colors and a dolphin sticker on the sides of their helmets were...

jim_kiick_1972_09_01.jpg

Well just think how much more intimidating they would be if they wore all black uniforms! I bet they'd be more perfect in '72. They simply didn't realize their potential because their colors and mascot scored a -8 on the Swagger Scale.

It's not 1972 anymore. Here in 2014 the way a uniform looks means more to fans and athletes. It's also worth noting the Raiders--with a far more intimidating look--ended the Dolphins' winning streak and eventually appeared in and won more Super Bowls.

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Interestingly enough, you didn't quote the last paragraph. Maybe there's a reason for that.

Yeah, there is. It would have been redundant. I made my point.

I was taught by my parents and some of my teachers that how you look and what you do will reflect upon you, so you'd better make sure the image you're projecting is the one you want to be known by. Also, being self-aware of your image could also affect your attitude and your demeanor.

Ok champ. Thanks for the life lesson.

Look. No one is saying appearance isn't important. Here's the thing though. Aggression does not equal success on the field, court, or ice. The greatest football team of all time, playing the most agressive sport in North America, wore teal and had a cartoon dolphin as their logo.

"Swagger" as a term has become overused by people who think black makes every uniform better. Real swagger comes from winning. The Minnesota Timberwolves have a fierce, agressive identity. The Los Angeles Lakers don't. Which team has more swagger?

Yeah, yeah. Wearing a suit makes you confident. The key thing to remember, however, is that the Seattle Seahawks aren't the team wearing the sports equivalent of a suit. It's the Green Bay Packers. Not the Nashville Predators, but the Montreal Canadiens.

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There's nothing intimidating about a dolphin nor the colors orange or aqua, but I'd say some of the guys who used to wear those colors and a dolphin sticker on the sides of their helmets were...

jim_kiick_1972_09_01.jpg

Well just think how much more intimidating they would be if they wore all black uniforms! I bet they'd be more perfect in '72. They simply didn't realize their potential because their colors and mascot scored a -8 on the Swagger Scale.

It's not 1972 anymore. Here in 2014 the way a uniform looks means more to fans and athletes. It's also worth noting the Raiders--with a far more intimidating look--ended the Dolphins' winning streak and eventually appeared in and won more Super Bowls.

These responses remind me of logic that I would have used in this discussion when I was 11. I guess getting a bit older and understanding the difference between correlation and causation changes your perspective a bit. A sports uniform is no different than a candy bar wrapper. It's colorful packaging that more often than not has nothing to do with the actual quality of the product. The raiders are the perfect example of this. Once a great product in a great package. Now it's a just well packaged made in china piece of junk.

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