animals, NFL

NFL Nicknames

NFL_NICKNAMES.jpgBirds, Big Cats, Big Animals, Humans, Other

As I sat last Sunday night watching the Seahawks eventually figure out how to beat the Eagles (much to my dismay! C’mon Prince, WIN!), I thought about the odd number of bird nicknames/mascots in the NFL. I like birds, probably more than the next guy, but of the 32 NFL teams, five are named after birds (Eagles, Seahawks, Cardinals, Falcons, and Ravens), which seems to be misaligned with the violent nature of the NFL, as birds are not known as fierce creatures. The most alarming thing about birds is the amount of diseases they carry; bird flu ain’t a joke. Maybe then… it is aligned…

However, birds aren’t the only animal chosen for NFL nicknames (if that is news to you then welcome to Sports), big cats are popular as well with four teams named after a big cat (Lions, Jaguars, Panthers, and Bengals). There are smatterings of large animals as well (Colts, Dolphins, Rams, etc.), which is nice to see. Hate to not have a sea creature on the list! But there are some names that can only be categorized as “other”, like the Jets, Chargers, or Titans.

I fight for the Humans

A divergence from naming a team after a beast is to name it after man; which happens to be the most popular tallying 14 teams. Historical figures or groups take up the bulk share of these names totaling 11. This plays up to the owners who want to memorialize and enable immortality.

Three teams that standout as truly unique in their naming is the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, and Kansas City Chiefs. The Browns were actually named after a coach named Paul Brown, the Bills are named after Bill Hickok, and the Chiefs are named after a Mayor of Kansas City. Counter to being named after a specific person are the teams that are named after an occupation, like the Packers, Steelers, and Cowboys.

What a strange lineup… But after all of this, does it really matter? Hell yes it does….

Era Big Animal Big Cat Bird Human Other
Before 1960 3 1 2 5 1
The 60’s 1 1 1 7 3
After 1970 0 2 2 2 1

Win Percentage

Since 2007, birds actually have the highest win percentage when comparing to the other types of nicknames and boast a 0.11 better than big cats. Humans or birds. That is the only way your team will be above 0.500 over the long haul.

Type Count Total Wins Total Losses Win %
Bird 5 505 406 0.553
Human 14 1264 1236 0.505
Other 4 355 359 0.497
Big Animal 5 420 465 0.474
Big Cat 4 312 390 0.442

Battle Royale: Humans, Animals, and The Others

But Man vs Beast? Not a chance. Man conquers! Dragging down the humans are the lowly Browns, who have won just 48 games since 2007.

Type Count Total Wins Total Losses Win %
Human 14 1264 1236 0.505
Other 4 355 359 0.497
Animal 14 1237 1261 0.494

Top Five Teams since 2007

Team Nickname Type/Specific Win %
Patriots Human/Historical 0.776
Steelers Human/Occupation 0.650
Packers Human/Occupation 0.642
Colts Big Animal/Horse 0.586
Saints Human/Historical 0.583

Look, this is obviously no indication of how your team will perform, but now you know and that is what matters.

Data and Info Sources: Bleacher Report & Team Ranking (Complied Info NFL Nicknames)

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