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Here are the belief abaft the nicknames of the NFL’s 32 teams—and what they were about called. All photos via Getty Images.

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The authorization began comedy in Chicago in 1898 afore affective to St. Louis in 1960 and Arizona in 1988. Aggregation buyer Chris O’Brien purchased acclimated and achromatic beach jerseys from the University of Chicago in 1901 and dubbed the blush of his squad’s new apparel “cardinal red.” A appellation was born. The aggregation adopted the basal bird as allotment of its logo as aboriginal as 1947 and aboriginal featured a basal arch on its helmets in 1960.

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Shortly afterwards allowance controlling Rankin Smith brought able football to Atlanta, a bounded radio base sponsored a challenge to name the team. Thirteen hundred bodies accumulated to advance added than 500 names, including Peaches, Vibrants, Lancers, Confederates, Firebirds, and Thrashers. While several admirers submitted the appellation Falcons, abecedary Julia Elliott of adjacent Griffin was declared the champ of the challenge for the acumen she provided. “The falcon is appreciative and dignified, with abundant adventuresomeness and fight,” Elliott wrote. “It never drops its prey. It is baleful and has abundant antic tradition.” Elliott won four division tickets for three years and a football autographed by the absolute 1966 countdown team.

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Ravens, a advertence to Edgar Allan Poe’s acclaimed poem, exhausted out Americans and Marauders in a challenge conducted by the Baltimore Sun. Poe died and is active in Baltimore.

Of the added than 33,000 voters in the Sun’s phone-in poll, added than 21,000 best Ravens. “It gives us a able appellation that is not accepted to teams at any level, and it gives us one that agency article historically to this community,” said aggregation buyer Art Modell, who had attempted to buy the Colts appellation aback from the authorization that larboard Baltimore for Indianapolis in 1984. The Marauders appellation referenced a B-26 congenital during World War II by the Glenn L. Martin Company, a antecedent to Lockheed Martin that was based in Baltimore. Added names advised included the Railers, Bulldogs, Mustangs, and Steamers.

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The Bills appellation was appropriate as allotment of a fan challenge in 1947 to rename Buffalo’s All-America Football Conference team, which was originally accepted as the Bisons. The Bills appellation referenced frontiersman Buffalo Bill Cody and was called over Bullets, Nickels, and Dejected Devils. It helped that the aggregation was endemic by the admiral of Frontier Oil, James Breuil. Buffalo was afterwards a aggregation from 1950 to 1959, aback buyer Ralph Wilson acquired a authorization in the AFL. Wilson solicited abeyant nicknames from admirers for his new authorization and ultimately chose Bills in admiration to the city’s asleep AAFC team.

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Panthers aggregation admiral Mark Richardson, the son of aggregation buyer Jerry Richardson, chose the Panthers appellation because "it's a name our ancestors anticipation signifies what we anticipation a aggregation should be—powerful, glassy and strong." Richardson additionally chose the 1995 amplification team’s blush arrangement of black, blue, and silver, a best that initially came beneath analysis from NFL Properties representatives. According to one bi-weekly report, the affair was aloft at the 1993 NFL affairs that a aggregation nicknamed the Panthers that featured atramentous in its blush arrangement would address to artery gangs and reflect ailing on the league.

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In 1921, the Decatur Staleys, a allotment affiliate of the American Able Football Association, confused to Chicago and kept their nickname, a nod to the team’s sponsor, the Staley Starch Company. Aback brilliant amateur George Halas purchased the aggregation the afterward year, he absitively to change the nickname. Chicago played its home amateur at Wrigley Field, home of baseball’s Cubs, and Halas autonomous to stick with the ursine theme.

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Team owner, accepted manager, and arch drillmaster Paul Brown nicknamed Cincinnati’s AFL amplification authorization the Bengals in 1968 in account of the football aggregation nicknamed the Bengals that played in the burghal from 1937-1942. According to Brown, the appellation “would accommodate a articulation with accomplished able football in Cincinnati.” Brown chose Bengals over the fans’ best accepted suggestion, Buckeyes.

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There’s some agitation about whether Cleveland’s able football authorization was called afterwards its aboriginal drillmaster and accepted manager, Paul Brown, or afterwards boxer Joe Louis, who was nicknamed the “Brown Bomber.” Aggregation buyer Mickey McBride conducted a fan challenge in 1945 and the best accepted acquiescence was Browns. According to one adaptation of the story, Paul Brown banned the appellation and chose Panthers instead, but a bounded agent abreast the aggregation that he endemic the rights to the name Cleveland Panthers. Brown ultimately agreed to the use of his name and Browns stuck.

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The Cowboys, who began comedy in the NFL in 1960, were originally activity to be nicknamed the Steers. The team’s accepted manager, Texas E. Schramm, absitively that accepting a castrated bovine as a amulet ability accountable the aggregation to ridicule, so he absitively to go with Rangers instead. But fearing that bodies would abash the football aggregation with the bounded accessory alliance baseball aggregation nicknamed the Rangers, Schramm assuredly afflicted the appellation to Cowboys anon afore the division began.

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Denver was a allotment affiliate of the AFL in 1960 and Broncos, which was submitted forth with a 25-word article by Ward M. Vining, was the acceptable admission amid 162 admirers who responded in a name-the-team contest. A Denver aggregation by the aforementioned name played in the Midwest Baseball Alliance in 1921.

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Radio controlling George A. Richards purchased and confused the Portsmouth Spartans to Detroit in 1934 and renamed the aggregation the Lions. The appellation was acceptable acquired from Detroit’s accustomed baseball team, the Tigers, who won 101 amateur and the AL banderole that year. As the aggregation explained it, “The bobcat is the autocrat of the jungle, and we achievement to be the autocrat of the league.”

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Team architect Earl “Curly” Lambeau’s employer, the Indian Packing Company, sponsored Green Bay’s football aggregation and provided accessories and admission to the field. The Indian Packing Company became the Acme Packing Company and afterwards folded, but the appellation stuck.

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Houston’s 2002 amplification authorization became the sixth able football aggregation nicknamed the Texans. The Dallas Texans were an Arena Football Alliance aggregation from 1990 to 1993 and Dallas Cowboys buyer Jerry Jones active the aggregation in 2000. He was planning to accumulate the old nickname, but ultimately renamed the aggregation the Desperados. Houston buyer Bob McNair chose Texans over Apollos and Stallions.

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The Baltimore Colts, a affiliate of the All-America Football Conference from 1947-1950, were called in account of the region’s history of horse breeding. The name remained aback a new authorization began comedy in 1953 and afterwards the aggregation relocated to Indianapolis in 1984.

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The Jaguars appellation was called through a fan challenge in 1991, 2 years afore the burghal was clearly awarded an amplification aggregation and 4 years afore the aggregation would activate play. Added names advised included the Sharks and Stingrays. While Jaguars aren’t built-in to Jacksonville, the oldest active bobcat in North America was housed in the Jacksonville Zoo.

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The Chiefs began comedy in the AFL in 1960 as the Dallas Texans. Aback the aggregation confused to Kansas Burghal in 1963, buyer Lamar Hunt afflicted the team’s name to the Chiefs afterwards additionally because Mules, Royals, and Stars. Hunt said the name was locally important because Built-in Americans had already lived in the area. Hunt may accept additionally been affected by Kansas Burghal ambassador H. Roe Bartle, whose appellation was The Chief. Bartle helped allurement the aggregation to Kansas Burghal by able Hunt that the burghal would accommodated assertive appearance thresholds.

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Team buyer Barron Hilton sponsored a name-the-team challenge and promised a cruise to Mexico Burghal to the champ in 1960. Gerald Courtney submitted “Chargers” and Hilton reportedly admired the name so abundant that he didn’t accessible addition letter.

There are capricious accounts as to why Hilton chose Chargers for his franchise, which spent one year in Los Angeles afore relocating to San Diego. (The authorization is aback in the Los Angeles breadth for the 2017 season.) According to one story, Hilton admired the name, in part, for its amalgamation with his new Carte Blanche acclaim card. The buyer additionally told reporters that he was addicted of the “Charge!” adenoids cry played at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

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The Rams, who originated in Cleveland in 1936 and spent 1946 through 1994 in the Los Angeles breadth afore affective to St. Louis, came aback to LA aftermost season. The aggregation traces their appellation to the academy ranks. Principal buyer Homer Marshman and accepted administrator Damon “Buzz” Wetzel chose the appellation because Wetzel’s admired football aggregation had consistently been the Fordham Rams. Fordham—Vince Lombardi’s alma mater—was a assertive at the time.

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A name-the-team challenge drew about 20,000 entries and resulted in the appellation for the Miami authorization that entered the AFL as an amplification aggregation in 1966. Added than 600 admirers appropriate Dolphins, but Marjorie Swanson was declared the champ afterwards accurately admiration a tie in the 1965 academy football bold amid Miami and Notre Dame as allotment of a aftereffect contest. Swanson, who won a lifetime division canyon to Dolphins games, told reporters she consulted a Magic 8-Ball afore admiration the account of the game. Miami buyer Joe Robbie was addicted of the acceptable appellation because, as he put it, “The dolphin is one of the fastest and smartest creatures in the sea.”

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According to the Vikings’ website, Bert Rose, Minnesota’s accepted administrator aback it abutting the NFL in 1961, recommended the appellation to the team’s Board of Directors because “it represented both an advancing being with the will to win and the Nordic attitude in the arctic Midwest.” The amplification authorization additionally became the aboriginal pro sports aggregation to affection its home state, rather than a city, in the aggregation name.

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Seventy-four admirers appropriate Patriots in the name-the-team challenge that was conducted by the administration accumulation of Boston’s aboriginal AFL authorization in 1960. “Pat Patriot,” the animation of a Minuteman advancing to breeze a football fatigued by the Boston Globe’s Phil Bissell, was called as the team’s logo anon after. While the aboriginal allotment of the team’s name afflicted from Boston to New England in 1971, Patriots remained.

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New Orleans was awarded an NFL authorization on All Saints’ Day, November 1, 1966. The appellation was a accepted best in a name-the-team challenge sponsored by the New Orleans States-Item, which appear the account of the new authorization with the headline, “N.O. goes pro!” The nickname, called by aggregation buyer John Mecom, was a nod to the city’s applesauce ancestry and taken from the accepted song, “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

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New York buyer Tim Mara adopted the Giants appellation from John McGraw’s National Alliance baseball team, a accepted convenance by football teams during an era aback baseball was the nation’s capital aggregation sport.

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Originally nicknamed the Titans, the aggregation was renamed the Jets in 1963 afterwards Sonny Werblin led an advance accumulation that purchased the broke authorization for $1 million.

According to a abreast New York Times story, the authorization advised calling itself the Dodgers, but nixed the abstraction afterwards Above Alliance Baseball didn’t like it. Gothams additionally got some consideration, but the aggregation didn’t like the abstraction of accepting it beneath to the Goths, because “you apperceive they weren’t such nice people.” The aftermost finalist to abatement was the New York Borros, a pun on the city’s boroughs; the aggregation afraid that opposing admirers would accomplish the Borros-burros affiliation and derisively alarm the band the jackasses.

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Eventually the aggregation became the Jets back it was activity to comedy in Shea Stadium, which is abutting to LaGuardia Airport. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the name was declared to reflect the “modern access of his team.”

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Chet Soda, Oakland’s aboriginal accepted manager, sponsored a name-the-team challenge in 1960. Helen A. Davis, an Oakland policewoman, submitted the acceptable entry, Señors, and was adored with a cruise to the Bahamas. The nickname, an allusion to the old Spanish settlers of arctic California, was ridiculed in the weeks that followed, and admirers additionally claimed that the challenge was fixed. Scotty Stirling, a sportswriter for the Oakland Tribune who would afterwards become the team’s accepted manager, provided addition acumen to carelessness the nickname. “That’s no good,” Stirling said. “We don’t accept the emphasis mark for the n in our banderole type.” Responding to the backlash, Soda and the team’s added investors absitively to change the team’s appellation to Raiders, which was a finalist in the challenge forth with Lakers.

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In 1933, Bert Bell and Lud Wray purchased the broke Frankford Yellowjackets. The new owners renamed the aggregation the Eagles in account of the attribute of the National Recovery Act, which was allotment of Admiral Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

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Pittsburgh’s football aggregation aggregate the aforementioned appellation as the city’s baseball team, the Pirates, from 1933 to 1940. Afore the 1940 season, buyer Art Rooney captivated a rename-the-team contest. A change couldn’t hurt, as Pittsburgh had bootless to column a acceptable division in its aboriginal 7 years. Joe Santoni, who formed in a comminute for Pittsburgh Steel, was one of several admirers who appropriate Steelers. Santoni accustomed a brace of division tickets, which he would renew every year until his afterlife in 2003.

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The 49ers, who began comedy in the All-America Football Conference in 1946, were called afterwards the settlers who ventured to the San Francisco breadth during the gold blitz of 1849.

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There were 1,700 different names amid the added than 20,000 submitted in a name-the-team challenge in 1975, including Skippers, Pioneers, Lumberjacks, and Seagulls. About 150 bodies appropriate Seahawks. A Seattle accessory alliance hockey aggregation and Miami’s authorization in the All-America Football Conference both acclimated the appellation in the 1950s. “Our new name suggests aggressiveness, reflects our aerial Northwest heritage, and belongs to no added above alliance team,” Seattle accepted administrator John Thompson said. The Seahawks’ helmet architecture is a august arch of an osprey, a fish-eating militarist of the Northwest.

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A console of bounded sportswriters and assembly from the NFL amplification team, including buyer Hugh F. Culverhouse, chose Buccaneers from an aboriginal account of added than 400 names in 1975. The nickname, which was a accepted best amid admirers in a name-the-team contest, was a nod to the pirates who raided Florida’s coasts during the 17th century.

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After relocating from Houston to Tennessee in 1995, the aggregation played two seasons as the Oilers afore buyer Bud Adams captivated a statewide challenge to rename the team. Titans was called over nicknames such as Tornadoes, Copperheads, South Stars, and Wranglers. “We capital a new appellation to reflect strength, administration and added ballsy qualities,'' Adams told reporters.

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One year afterwards he acquired an NFL authorization in Boston, George Preston Marshall afflicted the team’s appellation from Braves to Redskins. According to best accounts, the appellation was meant to account arch drillmaster and Built-in American William Henry “Lone Star” Dietz, admitting some catechism whether Dietz was a Built-in American. The Redskins kept their arguable appellation aback they relocated to Washington, DC, in 1937.

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A adaptation of this column originally appeared in 2010.

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