Power Rankings: Rating NFL team nicknames from 1-32


In recent months, something that often doesn’t get much attention has suddenly been receiving a lot; the nickname of an NFL franchise has been front-page news, stirring debate across the country.

While arguing that issue is a different topic for a different day, the discussion has raised an interesting question: What’s in a name? More specifically, why are teams called what they are called?

It’s question that the editors at cover32 had been pondering when another query was put forth: What franchises have the best nicknames?

With that in mind, the editors at cover32 gathered to assemble this week’s Power Rankings, rating each NFL team nickname from one to 32. Here are the results:


1. Pittsburgh Steelers – The city of Pittsburgh is famous for one thing: Making steel. So it makes perfect sense to name the hard-nosed team from the hard-nosed town after the hard-nosed men who make the city’s most-notable product.

2. San Francisco 49ers – It’s a one-of-a-kind name, impossible for other teams in other sports in other cities to copy, since it’s directly connected to the California Gold Rush that caused San Francisco to boom in 1849.

3. Dallas Cowboys – It’d be tough to find a nickname that better represents the area that a team calls home, as the Cowboys just embody the state of Texas and all that the western lifestyle represents in the minds of people across America.

4. New England Patriots – Given that the team plays in an area that was in the center of activity during the American Revolution, it’d be nearly impossible to come up with a more appropriate nickname.

5. Green Bay Packers – The name is derived from one of the franchise’s original sponsors, the Acme Packing Company, which is kind of cool. Plus, it represents that blue-collar mentality that both the team and its fans embrace.

6. New Orleans Saints – This nickname pays tribute to the legendary jazz music tradition in the Big Easy, which means it could only really work for the Crescent City. It’s relevant and unique, a very strong combination.

7. Miami Dolphins – There aren’t a ton of other teams bearing this name, which gives it high marks for originality. Plus, it goes perfectly with the team’s location in south Florida. It’s a nearly perfect fit on every front.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – In the 17th century, pirates often raided the coasts of Florida, which gives this nickname great historical significance in the Tampa area. It carries a little swagger and the moniker is a winner.

9. Kansas City Chiefs – A professional sports team can be named in honor of Native Americans; it just has to be done with some tact, as Lamar Hunt proved when he named his franchise the Chiefs in 1963.

10. Denver Broncos – Given the western image that the Mile High City tends to carry, a team name that represents wild horses roaming the open range is a pretty perfect fit for a team playing in what was once a dusty, cow town.

11. Philadelphia Eagles – Philadelphia has played a central role in the development of the United States, a country that boasts an eagle as one of its primary symbols. So the city and the nickname go together perfectly.

12. Minnesota Vikings – While Vikings never actually set foot in Minnesota, the nickname was chosen because it represented the type of person who could brave the northern winters. Being proud of being hearty is a cool thing.

13. Baltimore Ravens – Yes, it seems a little weird that a football team is named after a poem. But once the initial shock has worn off, it’s kind of nice that the good folks of Baltimore chose to honor Edgar Allen Poe, who is buried in Charm City.

14. Seattle Seahawks – Sure, it’s a fictional creature, but that doesn’t really matter. After all, the name paints a picture in the minds of fans. Who can’t imagine a vicious bird of prey combing the waters of Puget Sound? It’s fake, but somehow works.

15. Chicago Bears – George Halas picked this name because his team was playing in Wrigley Field, the home of the Cubs, so he wanted to stick with the theme. Plus, it ties in well with the stock market connection in the Windy City.

16. Oakland Raiders – While the image of the Raiders is second to none in sports, the nickname itself doesn’t make a ton of sense. That’s because it only came about because newspapers at the time couldn’t type an accent over the “n” in Señors.


Previous articleTop 10 quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft
Next articleFab Five: The best games on the NFL slate in Week 14
  • Anonymous

    There is nothing racist about the Redskins name. Its honorable and meant to be that way. No matter what YOU or anyone else says.

    • Anonymous

      I completely agree. If you are offended by a team honoring your heritage, then you should probably try to find a more productive way to spend your time. The ability for people to whine about something like the name of a team is what is embarrassing.

      • Sir Hinez

        Although i do not think it is much of a big deal, more of a distraction away from our real problems, your explanation is idiotic. Redskins is not honorable to a heritage, no more than Washington Whities or Baltimore Blackies would be. It is based on skin color, so hush up or change your name to Pale Face to honor your heritage…..

        • Dude

          Oh sure – a team named whities or whiteskins would also be called racist because you want it both ways. Ignorant hypocrite.

        • Sir Slayer

          Thats not fair, the Baltimore Blackies would win every time! It is a sport! Wait, was that racist?

          JK shut the fuck up dude, you’re off track.

          • Rollmeist

            I would like to add something but speaking in this country is too risky!

          • Paul

            Rollmeist…no doubt. Be careful, the NSA may press charges against you for speaking the truth. Oh how far this Republic has fallen.

        • Anonymous

          The term Redskins has nothing ti do with the color of skin.

          • Anonymous

            yes it does look at their emblem, redskin indian

      • Anonymous

        The name “Redskins” came about because white men used to hunt native Americans during the war for their land. When they killed the Native Americans, they would cut off their scalps (white men started “scalping” not the native Americans as many have been taught to believe) and take it back as proof that they killed an “Indian” that way they could be paid. The bloody scalps were called “Redskins” The name has nothing to do with honoring native Americans. You people should read about other cultures before you decide to talk about them.

        • Anonymous

          That’s actually false too. The term “Redskin” origionated during the early colonial era when colonists where first making contact with Native Americans. They were extremely impressed that a “primitive” people such as this could also have a highly developed social structure and display the same civilities that many Europeans did. The term “Redskin” was actually used as a compliment in English papers as a way of attributing culture to this otherwise unknown people.

          Plus – it’s also historically noted that Native Americans first referred to themselves as Redskins, and even the Choctaw Indian tribe in Oklahoma – their name literally translates to “Red People.”

          So do some research people before you decide something is “racist.”

          • Anonymous

            Actually you are wrong and different tribes have different opinions based on how they see the name, Cherokees see it as super offensive whiles others may not

      • Jack

        Amen, “terribly racist”???? Please!! That is ridiculous. Furthermore, the 49 US Senators who got involved in this crap should do something about getting our country out of debt and mind their own business. Time for these whiners to take off those diapers and put on those big boy and big girl pants.

    • Jack

      I couldn’t agree more. Who is the “Milk Toast” who made this comment and then doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to state their name. Funny that a Native American came up with that teams nickname. Sounds like the ones offended by thyis need to take off those pampers and put on those big boy and big girl pants. Get a life babies.

    • Richard Greene

      There is nothing racist about African Americans naming the team they own Alabama Ku Klux Klan red neck cracker Honkies for that matter either the first Amendment gives them the right of free speech or is there ?

    • puhlease

      a racist is defined as anyone that thinks the term redskin is not racist

  • Rob

    You didn’t mention that the Cleveland Browns are named after Paul Brown the original owner creator and coach of the team, the Vikings name may have a connection to the Scandinavian heritage of many of the people who live in Minnesota, the Miami Dolphins nickname was also due to a contest (like the Atlanta Falcons), although I think you’re right and that the Dolphins is a suitable name for the city.

    • steven

      yes you are right not many people know this at all but the browns are the only team named after there coach and owner that what makes it more of a family .

    • Eric Johnson

      Yeah, not mentioning Paul Brown when discussing the Browns’ name is a tragedy.

  • Ryan

    The Titans are named as such because Nashville is considered the “Athens” of the South because of the Parthenon. Have you even been to Nashville? This is stupid.

    • Scott

      That is actually false, the Titans was the original name of the New York Jets and the NFL really wanted the name to be used again in the same way the reused the Colts, Browns, Rams, Cardinals, and many other historical names rather than lame new ones.

      • Anonymous

        but they reused it in this city for the reason it was the Athens

  • Kevin

    Seahawk a mythical creature? Vikings never in Minnesota, where do I begin to diss your knowledge? Wish you had the vision of am Osprey sp (seahawk). Oh well, you gave it a shot.

    • Andy

      Technically speaking, Vikings never were in Minnesota. The Viking age ended in 1106, and if you’re referring to the Kensington Runestone, as I suspect you are, it is dated 1362.

  • Chris

    Here is 2 minutes I’ll never get back…
    Just for giggles, 32, you know Oklahoma means “Red People” right?
    t’s terribly racist and offensive, no matter what anyone within the State/Country tries to say. The time has come for this embarrassing state name to be nixed once and for all.

  • Anonymous

    Redskins is not a racist name you douche.

    • TBW

      How do you know that “Redskins” is not a racist name? Are you a Native American?

      • Bc

        I am and I don’t find it offensive.

      • Memnoch

        There’s no such thing as “Native Americans”. Do your homework. Mankind started in Mesopotamia, and spread out from there. “First Americans”, absolutely. My people (the Vikings) were second.

    • DowntownDonni

      Just because someone has a different opinion from you he is a “douche”? Why the name calling you d–kh–d, ignor–t, mo-fo, j-r-of-! LMAO@U

  • Jordan

    I’m having a hard time understanding how the heck the Packers, Dolphins, Bucs, Chiefs, Broncos, Eagles, Vikings, Ravens Seahawks, and Bears all beat out the Raiders… There’s a reason why Oakland was named the Raiders… based on the merger and how outcasts were signed, how Al Davis was always feuding with the league ..etc… The reasoning for all of these teams above is garbage… doesn’t even make sense other than: “I like the nickname”…

    terrible article… I wanna know who the voters are… NFL Cheerleaders???

  • Doubting Thomas

    Crappily written article’s author does not even know the origins of the some of the names. Do research, then write.

    • KCfan

      True, the KC Chiefs were named after the mayor of Kansas City when the team moved here in the early 60’s.

  • Cyteria Knight

    Who decided these results? It’s so completely biased it only goes to show you how slow the news cycle must me.

  • Anonymous

    The Tennessee Titans was chose from what I read, a contest , because of the Parthenon in Nashville

  • Lonzo

    Come on people, just goes to show we all have time to chat about nothing, being native, I myself a true RAIDER fan just cant wait for the season to start, so lets just have fun with this for the time being, until the season starts, let live and be happy, peace to all…

  • Moe Howard

    I think I would like to be a “sports writer.” Obviously, you don’t need to know much about nutin’! This group must have been the Pop Warner cover team…

  • gary c

    the Chiefs weren’t named after native Americans the were name after the nickname of the mayor at the time who was nicknamed the big chief and it was done by contest.

  • Jeff V.

    I’m on the fence with the Redskins name – it doesn’t bother me, but I”m not Native American. I actually have a larger problem with the Atlanta Braves and Florida Seminoles (and probably others). Not their names, but the Tomahawk Chop that is blaring through the loud speakers and the crowd starts their chop. While it doesn’t make me lose sleep at night, the end result of a tomahawk slicing through the air at their target is far worse than a name.

    • Messican

      Yeah! Ban Tomohawks!

  • Gary Kreie

    Dallas Cowboys copied their name from the nearby Oklahoma State Cowboys, just as Rams got theirs from Fordham.

  • Jason

    So, the Dolphins and the Packers have better names than the Raiders or the Vikings? In other words, tasty sea creatures and packaging sound more menacing to the most violent sport. Who wrote this crap?!

  • 1bad6t5

    Cover 32 once again is the worst of the worst with all their predictions and rankings. As a Redskins fan I wish they would change their name to Cover 31 and just leave us alone completely.

  • Orion the Hunter

    What a load of p.c. Horseshit to say that Redskins is offensive. It’s only offensive to guilt ridden white people. I’m not offended by it, and if you did some real research in your journalistic efforts you might have read the scores of polls and interviews with real Native Americans ( Redskins) and found out that a very high majority see the name as a badge of honor and the name of the team as a tribute. Blacks and whites are the only races that are consumed with skin color being a sensitive subject. Go away and leave the p.c. Crap out of football

  • bob graff

    They don’t make steel in Pittsburgh anymore.

    • SteelSKW

      That’s funny….I live in Pittsburgh and work in a steel mill…in Pittsburgh! We don’t make AS MUCH steel as we used to but we do still have steel mills dumbass.

  • Will

    Redskin is an old term without racist or negative overtones. Indeed, it is very different than the commonly know inappropriate term for blacks. Their is a nice history of this term. It only becomes a racial issue when someone wishes it to be so. We can look at the swastika as a similar symbol where it now holds a negative connotation. You can view Redskin as a historical word with history in the NFL or you can cower behind those wishing to call Redskin as a racially negative word and look for the next word to become inappropriate.

  • Skip

    If they want to take Redskins (name) out of the NFL for offensive meanings, then I suggest they take all the names out as they would offend someones name, such as “Vikings”, “Lions”, “Bengals” “Raven” and of course all he Steel workers in Pittsburgh. “Steelers” That could even offend criminals that steal. Oh well. Life goes on in the NFL “National Felony League”

  • Joe

    As a Titans fan, I thinks it’s a great name. A team name doesn’t have to reflect the industry of the area or local wildlife. In this case, it’s a name to say that our team is strong & powerful. The Titans of mythology were the Fathers/Kings of Gods. That’s pretty strong. It looks like you just wanted to hate on a small market team.

  • Joe King

    As a Titans fan, I thinks it’s a great name. A team name doesn’t have to reflect the industry or local wildlife. In this case, it’s a to say that our team is strong & powerful. The Titans of mythology were the Fathers/Kings of Gods. That’s pretty strong. It looks like you just wanted to hate on a small market team.

  • Fishook Kennie

    The Power Rankings as interesting as they are. The Rankers might be somewhat misinformed. The Vikings were in Minnesota or at least the runestone found near Alexandria seems to indicate so. We are very proud of that heritage in our state. Please look into it it is very interesting. You wont be sorry you did.

  • Alex

    Wow! What a steaming pile of dog turds this article turned out to be.

  • Mike

    This isn’t a list of the best names, its a ranking of team names that are most relevant to the city where the team plays. really lame.

  • TripNDad

    Redskins offensive, well then gotta do away with Cowboys. Cant have one without the other!!! Stupid FOlks…………

  • Pablo

    I don’t think the teams actual names would be considered “nicknames”. I was thinking they were going to say the 12th man, The Nation, The Big D, The Big Blue, Monsters of the Midway, The Steel Curtain, The Purple People Eaters, etc. It would have been a better article.

  • Moonmyst

    The Tennessee Titans are named such because Nashville has been called “The Athens of the South” for decades and with a replica of the Parthenon located in the city, it’s a very easy connection.

    • Scott

      The NFL wanted to reuse the Titans name and the options were rigged to do so. Sorry to burst your bubble, but they reuse names first, use new names as a last resort.

      • Joe

        This is one of those times when you both apprear to be right. There is the Parthenon replica and a old NFL name that fit. A team name doesn’t have to reflect the industry or local wildlife. In this case, it worked out & its a name that says that our team is strong & powerful.

  • Anonymous

    Let us not forget to ban fighting irish, a native(not really though because they weren’t indiginous here, crossed via the berring straight) will say the name is offensive then will go on about the pride of the redman. dumb. Friggin Scandinavian royals make a trip to minnesota each year. but no connection here whatsoever. nope. Charger is a horse, indy has horse races so here is another dopey lack of any kind of research before you write an article. Cover32 staff, just because you can write an article that is seen nationally doesn’t mean you should. Simply put, you cannot make points against a team name citing no connection to the area when you don’t know anything about the area yourselves. Heres a tip, try being a real “journalist” by doing some investigation and intellegence gathering. I mean its like going to math class and not knowing what the + sign is but swearing to the teacher you studied sooooo hard. Go back to crackerjack U and learn something about writing. And if you haven’t been able to tell by now, there are grammatical errors and spelling errors and punctiation errors on purpose just to see if you even know what those are.

  • Anonymous

    The bengals were named after their famous Bengal tiger exhibit at the Cincinnati zoo

  • Christopher

    Vikings did set foot in MN. Leif Erickson is considered by historians to have touched the America’s long before Columbus. Leif Erickson whom the park was named after was a Viking. Good read though.

  • hotrod

    Texans is by far the stupidest nickname. Can you imagine if we had the Miami Floridians or the Philadelphia Pennsylvanians or the NY New Yorkers? How exciting. Browns is the 2nd worst. There’s nothing wrong with the redskins nickname. Get over it.

  • hotrod

    PS. Oilers was a cool nickname which paid homage to the region much like Steelers. Houston should have kept it.

    • Scott

      “Oilers” is not politically correct anymore and the marketing guys would not have it. So stupid, Oilers is worse the Redskins to these brainiacs.

  • Stephen Bene

    To say that “Redskins” is offensive and racist is offensive and ridiculous. Get a life people! “Redskins” is not offensive because it’s not a derogatory or racist but a description of a particular group of people’s skin (i.e. Blacks). The only people who think this is offensive or racist are those who are always trying to start trouble.
    To say that the “Browns” have a cool name is absurd, especially given that their uniform is predominantly orange. Its name came from its founder Paul Brown (how egotistical is that?) and they have been cursed with mediocrity since the late 80’s when they lost two consecutive AFC Championships to the Broncos.

  • stupid article

    this article was so stupid . the only point of it was for the author to rag on the redskin name. what a crock of bull.

  • Jim

    Dumb ratings. How in the hell could the Dolphins be a better rating than the Vikings? And what’s with all the bird names? I don’t get it. It’s like naming your team the Pelicans.
    Hello? This is FOOTBALL! It’s violent. It’s mean. It rips your arms out and beats you to death with them.
    Top 5 names: 1) Vikings (I’m partial). 2) Raiders. 3) Bucs. 4) Titans. 5) Giants.

  • Jim

    Oh, and by the way, how in the hell did the Packers rank so high? Their team name is the only saving grace for a Vikings fan. We have to deal with them bragging about their titles, but I know this: The Ass Packers have a shitty name!

    • Liko

      I thought it was the fudge packers.

  • Mike Danger

    For a word to be racist you have to demonstrate intent. As a team name Redskin does not disparage in any way Native Americans. It does not imply that Native Americans are lazy or drunks or dirty in any way what so ever. It does imply that Native Americans were fierce warriors and some of the finest mounted horsemen of the 18th and 19th century. It honors the memories of those great warriors. It implies that Native Americans (Redskins) were cool and to be admired. It honors Native Americans.

    This idea that it is racist is a recent thing fostered by illogical and irrational thinking. The idea that we cannot honor Native Americans by a sports nickname is offensive. FYI: I have Mohawk ancestors on my mothers side. FU to everyone trying to disrespect Native Americans by forcing the Washington Redskins to change their name.

  • Anonymous

    Oh hey – early Scandinavian people did make it as far as the Minnesota area as far back as the early 1400’s. There are rune stone markings from Nova Scotia all the way down to Minnesota.

    Appreciate the effort on the article, but double-check your facts boi!

  • clubberone

    Do some research before putting pen to paper. The Bengals were named after the White Tigers at the Cincy Zoo. The Browns were named after one of the greatest coaches and innovators in NFL History

  • Chris

    Nashville is the sister city to Athens, Greece. They have an exact replica of the Parthenon that pays tribute to the goddess Athena. So the great fans voted on a name that was synonymous with power in Greek mythology….GO TITANS

    • Caves

      But u see that’s the problem with this article it’s written from the heart not threw research or logic just bleeding heart liberal B.S.

    • Scott

      OK, I am starting to wonder if any of you know anything about NFL team names. The Titan name was planted in the “contest” because the NFL wanted to reuse the Titans name (The Jets use to be the Titans). It was never going to be anything else because all the other unused legacy names would not sound right.

  • Caves

    Hail to the Redskins Go Vikings I disagree with this articles politically correct slant . It a trend in the NFL that needs to S.T.O.P. NOW

  • Wayne

    I agree that the name Washington Redskins is very embarrassing and should be changed. How does Maryland Redskins sound?

    • Paul

      I was thinking along the same lines. Maybe the Mid Atlantic Redskins?

  • Richard Greene

    Ah i love the sound of the Atlanta Peckerwood Lynching K.K.K.r.akkers the Falcons need to change their name to this immediately! Absolutely nothing racist about this name either first amendment rights free speech!

  • Paul

    Patriots have the best team name. Brings to mind the Patriots in their three cornered hats, muskets at the ready as they take on and defeat the most powerful military on earth at the time, the British Army. Lexington and Concord, the Battle of Trenton….all great moments in American history.

  • HAwksfan206912

    Not caring at all about where my seahawks ranked in this list but the seahawk is real… its a nickname for the osprey 🙂 just a fun fact..

  • $uper DavE

    Decent article opened. Its crazy to think how some of these names of teams have stood the test of time and stuck. If only for no true good reason. Thanx for the deeper insight with each team great lesson!

  • bent49

    Sea Hawk was a ’40’s swashbuckler starring Errol Flynn. Now about the bird, look up the “Pacific Coast Peregrine”. A blue and grey member of the falcon family, believed by some to be extinct. Personally, I did see some nesting 10-12 years ago, while fishing in the Columbia Basin Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Washington State. My immediate thought was “Seahawks”. I must admit that the term Seattle Seahawks is easier to handle than Seattle Pacific Coast Peregrines.

  • raideralin

    The Oakland Raiders name makes no sense? Well, allow me. The name was derived from a contest. People sent in suggestions and a winner was declared. Yes, the first name chosen was the Senors which was quickly rejected. The second name chosen was submitted by a U.S. Marine. Raiders for the Marine Corps Raiders of WWII. The movie “Gung Ho” is a tribute to those very same Marine Raiders. Bad movie though.

    • raideralin

      Also, the person’s image in the Raiders logo belongs to Randolph Scott who starred in the movie.

  • Mike

    The Osprey has been traditionally called a Seahawk for ages; if you have ever seen one, you’d see the resemblance. NOT mythical creature..

  • Falcon Fan

    Falcon…….Hmmm……doesn’t have any connection to the area? I should tell the Falcons living in the woods near my home in the Suburbs of Atlanta, they are not supposed to be here. Obviously the writer of this article must have not visited the Suburbs of Atlanta while doing the research for this article.

  • drew lewis

    The Washington Redskins should change their name to something more relevant to the Washington area. Maybe they can honor politicians in Washington by changing their name to the Washington Douche Bags.


    i agree i think washington should have a name more relevant to the city of washington. but dont you think the name porch monkeys may be just as offensive

  • Bombastic

    Message to your staff idiots. Cincinnati Bengals are named due to our World Class Zoo which houses Beautiful and Powerful Bengal Tigers.

  • Bombastic

    Oh smarty butts. Also When Paul Brown organized the Team he tied it into a previous Professional Football Team from the 1930,s which were also Called Cincinnati Bengals.

  • Carl

    I am not a Redskin fan, I’m an Eagles fan. I must say as soon as I saw this headline, I knew what the entire article was about. The agenda of having Washington Redskins change their name is so bogus. Get off it already!

  • Les

    I am 50% Indian, my Mom is 100% Cherokee.. Neither myself nor my Mother find anything offensive with the name Redskins!! In fact she fines the name ‘Vikings” offensive, “Didn’t they Raped and Pillage?” she asked,,,,

  • danny s

    I like your list but do your homework next time. Titans is an appropriate name for the area. Fyi- a Titan was -long explanation made short- a Greek god. In Nashville we have the only exact replica of the Parthenon (in Greece). Google it!

  • Jack B

    Could someone please tell the idiot that wrote this article that the Cleveland Browns aren’t named after the color but the man, Paul Brown. The only thing worse than not knowing that is writing an article on cool football names.

  • Old Dominion

    I suspect this entire article was an excuse to attack the Washington Redskins.