XFL Goes Faux-Studly with Trite Team Nicknames
Talk about truth in advertising being a total bummer.
With the team names his spring league unveiled today, it's a stunner dude didn't strike a deal with the Hallmark Channel to carry a few games.
If attitude is anything to go by, it doesn't look like the NBA and NHL will have much to fear while competing for the hardcore fan.
Come to think of it, neither will MLB's spring training.
We're already starting to miss the original XFL, the one that knew what it couldn't match in top-flight football, it could compensate by being over the top.
In other words, it had a clue what an off-season league had to do to be relevant.
This was supposed to be a big PR day for the XFL, where the eight teams' nicknames were introduced.
Well, they were, and the entire presentation sounded like a pickup truck commercial that, in classic ad-image fashion, took a cue from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance ...
If only they woulda picked names that coulda actually had a shot to become legendary.
Simply put, it gave Harley Quinn a purpose in life.
No need to escape. She'd be pardoned.
Really, where was the XFL going with those? That outfit has no tradition, only tacky legend. Build on it, for chrissakes!
Instead, the league gave us barf-bag imagery that not even a self-respecting video game geek could fantasize to.
The XFL games begin right after fans will have seen what the first team has done during the traditional football season. It'll be fresh in their minds ...
- The speed,
- The precision, and
- The annoyingly pompous and vanilla way the NFL projects itself.
The XFL can't hope to match the first two items, and it'll show. So why would anyone other than gambling and fantasy addicts want to put up with the other item?
Yes, the XFL mighta took crazy too far the first time around, but that's not what killed it. Lack of money did.
Enough spring leagues have tried and died to show that football may be North America's most popular sport, but being outta season with lesser talent isn't gonna cut it for any spring league that tries to play it straight.
So go for the swagger, dammit!
Look at some of those team names again:
- Seattle Dragons ... A faction of that city's fans tried to get their new NHL franchise called the Kraken, and that didn't get outta the gate. There's no history with the name in the region, and the only history with a football team named Dragons is in the WLAF's Barcelona franchise. Enough said.
- Los Angeles Wildcats ... Maybe the XFL's banking on the fact that there aren't any lakes in LA, either, and fans still show up for those games. Tell that to the Chargers. And they started operations in Tinseltown.
- Tampa Bay Vipers ... Granted, rattlesnakes are part of the viper family, but who ever calls them that? This is Gasparilla country, hence Buccaneers. Identify, dudes! The opportunity for snarky creativity is rich here.
- DC Defenders ... Isn't there too much turf protecting in the nation's capital already? Doesn't the rest of the country already make fun of this? Wrong sorta snark, McMahon.
- St Louis BattleHawks ... You know, that is a pickup truck commerical waiting to be made, if not a misguided knock-off of geek favorite BattleBots. Besides, the St Louis Hawks moved to Atlanta when Zelmo Beaty and Lenny Wilkins couldn't even make the team popular there. Bad karma.
- New York Guardians ... Yeah, right. Next.
- Dallas Renegades ... Gotta say, this one was almost a bingo, and then they went to Shutterstock.com or somewhere similar and paid $5 for a worn out logo that kids' teams everywhere use because it's cheap.
- Houston Roughnecks ... OK, the XFL's 1-for-8. Full tribute to the oil rig crews.
There's so much snark left on the table. And why? You're not gonna see much family friendly in the trenches or on pass patterns over the middle, not to mention QB sacks.
XFL shoulda put the attitude out there from the start. For example:
- Seattle Orcas ... Remember, those killers are actually dolphins, so cut with the whale references. Orcas eat whales when they're not chomping on great whites.
- Los Angeles Bangers ... What the hell. It's reality.
- Tampa Bay Swingers ... Every sense of the word, dudes. Just switch from Blazing Saddles to a pirate-&-sword theme:
- DC Swamp Bastards ... Doesn't really matter who's in power, does it?
- St Louis Ram This ... The locals will love it.
- New York Furies ... How was this or one of the other Warriors gang names not even a consideration? Did the Hallmark Channel ding it?
- Dallas Ten Gallons ... 10 gallons of what is up to the beholder. It's big, so their fans will buy into it.
- Houston Roughnecks ... Dudes live up to it on paydays, so yes, the XFL was 1-for-8.
Those are merely between-nacho happy hour suggestions, but they're still more XFL than what the league just spewed out.
It's never too late to change names. There's all sortsa precedent, like ...
- New York Titans/Jets,
- Houston Colt .45s/Astros, and
- New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans
Let the NFL push a button-down message from the likes of Nike. XFL dudes need to stay true to their DNA. They oughta push the same slogan, Reverend Horton Heat-style. Now. Before it's too late.